It happens to the best of us.
It's the night before a big presentation at work, or before a major exam in college. You know you need to study, refine your notes, or even practice your presentation.
But you just can't seem to buckle down and focus on the task at hand. You're worried that your inability to focus will affect your professional life or your academic career.
You wish you knew how to focus better. But sometimes, it just feels impossible -- especially when you start to panic about everything you need to finish.
When will you be ready to learn how to improve focus -- and to see your educational and professional life benefit from it?
Keep on reading this post.
In it, we're sharing with you some of our very best tips on how to concentrate.
1. Stop Multi-Tasking
We get it. In today's world especially, the pressure is on to get more done than ever before.
It's not enough to work on one thing at a time. Now, you need to be able to juggle multiple assignments, pitches, and projects at a time. Often, these projects deal with a variety of different subjects, and have vastly different goals.
It can be tough to keep everything straight.
Many people incorrectly think that multi-tasking is the best way to get multiple projects completed as quickly as possible. But more often than not, multi-tasking just makes it impossible to learn how to focus better. Additionally, instead of completing one great project, you often end up with three half-finished mediocre ones.
Try creating separate work schedules and mini-milestones/goals for each project separately. Work on one project at a time and give yourself a break between one project and another to reset your mind.
If possible, finish one project completely before you pick up another. While it might seem impossible at first, you'll end up getting more done this way -- and your brain won't be as muddled.
2. Don't Fear Doodling
In the past, doodling in class or during a meeting was seen as a sign of a lack of focus -- or outright disrespect.
But now, science has offered us another perspective: doodling is a great way to learn how to concentrate more effectively. First of all, the simple hand movements keep you awake. But more importantly, it may actually help you to retain more information.
The same study sited above also found that doodling offered profound stress relief -- and an anxious mind can hardly learn and retain lessons.
So, go ahead -- draw in the margins.
3. Get Your Eyes Off the Screen
The average American adult now spends about 11 hours out of every day looking at some kind of a screen.
All of this screen time certainly has an effect on our bodies -- but it also doesn't do much for teaching us how to get focused. In fact, looking at a screen has been shown to make you more tired, make it harder for you to process information, and, as you might have guessed, opens you up to tons of distractions.
In short: especially while you're studying, it's important to take a break from the screens. About every fifteen minutes or so, look up for a few moments from your computer screen.
Look at a fixed point on an opposite wall and take a few deep breaths in. This will reduce eye strain and help you to refocus. Take this opportunity for a stretch break, too.
Moving your body around even just a little bit can help to wake you back up and increase your overall focus.
4. Give Meditation a Try
Almost every list offering tips on how to concentrate better includes something about getting more sleep and laying off the caffeine. But let's get real: sometimes, that's just not a possibility.
We'd all love to get that suggested eight hours of sleep, or to be able to stop after one cup of coffee in the morning. But there just aren't enough hours in the day.
So, what's a more effective solution -- that won't require you to be in bed by 7:00 in the evening?
Even just setting aside 15-20 minutes for meditation each day (preferably in the morning) will help to set your focus for the day. If you sense yourself getting overwhelmed while you're working on a project?
Take a quick 5-10 minute meditation break. You'll be surprised by how much better you feel when you get back into working.
If you're new to meditation, we suggest that you check out a few of the popular meditation apps that you can download to your smartphone. There are also numerous guided meditation videos on YouTube that can help you to get started.
Don't be intimidated if you don't get the hang of it right away.
Just keep trying, and soon, you'll finally learn how to clear your mind.
You've Learned How to Concentrate: What's Next?
Thanks to this post, you're now armed with an arsenal of tips and tools that can help you to learn how to concentrate much better than ever before.
Now, you just need something to study for!
Maybe you've always wanted to take a course in accounting or nutrition. Perhaps you're looking to improve your business communications skill set, so that you can be eligible for a promotion at work.
Maybe you're even just looking for a new hobby and are a lover of lifelong learning.
No matter what you're interested in, we want to help you to be able to master it. Check out our online course list, and figure out which class is right for you today!