With our eyes being constantly bombarded with images and information, how can one build and retain concentration in such a distracted age? This article shares some tips just to do that.
Our life in today’s world seems to be always switched on. We seem to always have our smartphones in our hands, laptop screen in front of our eyes. In the west, an average person spends around 10 hours a day in front of a screen (mobile and computer). In the context of India, a poll found that the connected youth of India spend around nine hours a day on the phone or a computer screen.
These have become, without us knowing, an integral part of your lifestyle. But what these devices have done is hampered our concentration and retention spans. A study found that distraction by emails and phones have led to drop of 10 points in a person’s IQ. Another recent report estimated that we get interrupted every eight minutes, that is around 60 interruptions in our waking day! And all these interruptions contain a lot of information of some kind. A recent survey by the University of California estimated that we are bombarded by at least 30gb worth of information a day!
The overall impact of all this is on our concentration levels. We may be living in a constant state of alertness but never really giving full attention to one thing. This means the development of short attention spans, never able to retain information for a longer duration, and forgetting things very easily. In this article, we will tell you tips in regaining your concentration levels and adapting yourself in the age of constant distraction.
How to Improve Concentration
The Five More Rule
One of the simplest ways to boost your concentration levels in the five more rule. It’s simple, whenever you feel like quitting or giving up, just say to yourself five more – be it minutes, be it pages – as it will enhance your focus. The idea is to go beyond the point of restlessness or frustration which helps build mental strength. It is training your brain to endure and help develop concentration levels.
One Thing at a Time
These days people argue that we have reached new levels of multitasking. But in reality, we are not multitasking but rather switching between activities and not doing each one of them properly. Multitasking leads to a continuous partial attention, which lowers your overall concentration levels. So, the best way is to do one thing, properly, at a time. Before moving on to a different task take a 5-10 minutes break to organize your mind.
Trying to fend off external and internal distractions is not an easy task. One of the best ways is to meditate and becoming more mindful. Meditation leads to mindfulness which helps develop overall concentration levels.
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Another unique way, which you can do in your free time, is to start counting backward from a thousand, sounds simple enough. Well, the catch is to count backward in sevens. It may sound annoying but it is actually a very effective way to develop your concentration levels.
Similarly, spelling words backward is also a good exercise to do. Start with simple words like pen, tip, etc and then move on to bigger words.
Doing regular exercises also help the brain and the body to be in sync. During exercises, the brain is engaged with the body as it works out, which itself requires concentration.
Lack of sleep also affects your concentration levels. One needs to have at an average eight hours sleep daily. But being surrounded by phones and laptops screens we almost go to sleep while using them, which is harmful to the eyes and the brain. It is recommended to have good sleep to keep away from phones or any form of screens at least an hour before sleeping.
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Read a Book!
I know you must be saying, then what will we do if we are not on our phones or on our laptops before we sleep? Then the answer might shock you – Read an actual book! We have gotten so used to skimming information from a screen that most of us have forgotten what reading an actual book feels like. Reading a book not only is good before going to sleep but it also helps you develop your concentration levels as it requires careful reading of the intricate plot structure, complicated characters and the flow of the narrative.
While you cannot do away with a phone in today’s world but you can make it less distracting. For one, turn off all non-human notifications from apps. It means turning off notifications that are sent by non-humans. Another tip is grayscaling your screen. These days hidden in settings is the option to turn your screen into full black and white. The advantage of this that most apps are designed in a way to distract you from your work by using ‘eye-catching’ colors. So, by grayscaling you avoid this trap and you can choose what to use and what not to use.
To sum up, these are eight ways to help you develop concentration levels and help you be more productive in any work that you do. While you are at it don’t forget to explore yourself at Brainpundits, till then cheers and be awesome.