The ability to concentrate is one of the key factors separating those who succeed and those who don’t.
One critical element in successful concentration is strengthening your will. The more committed and motivated you are, the better you can concentrate.
- Commit to a clear goal. You will naturally concentrate when the idea you are learning or the task you are performing fits in with your goal. Make the goal audacious or imbue the purpose with higher meaning.
- Do it not only for yourself. Do it because you want it but also because it will benefit others – e.g. the family.
- Think of the rewards. This is particularly useful when the task is unpleasant.
- Enjoy what you do. It is much easier to concentrate when you enjoy what you are doing.
- Be afraid of the consequences. Fear is a powerful motivator. Example: A father often took his child out of school to help in his business. This meant waking him up at 3am and doing laborious work until late in the afternoon. Fearful that he would end up doing this work permanently, he studied with concentration. Eventually he obtained a degree and succeeded in developing two lucrative businesses. Caveat: Long-term use of fear as a motivator can be counterproductive.
Improve your technique. The only real technique to develop concentration is repeated practice. In this respect, it is no different from developing muscles. For most people, it is sufficient to practice on study or work items. For others, such as those who have concentration problems, it might be useful to learn meditation. In addition, the following tactics will help you to concentrate.
- Focus on a small item or task. If it is a large issue or problem, break it down into smaller discrete parts.
- Start with the most important. When there are too many things to think about, it is impossible to concentrate. The solution is to prioritize and work on the most important first.
- Practice repetition. Like a pole-vaulter, you can reach higher with each attempt.
- Use background sounds if necessary. There are 3 categories: general music, soothing music, and holosync music. The third type uses specially formulated sound waves to change the frequency of our brainwaves and thus our state of concentration and relaxation. They reduce the brainwave frequency from our usual beta (proliferating thoughts), to alpha, then delta, then theta waves (extreme stability and concentration).
- Set a time target. Urgency can help most people to concentrate. It is most important to set the length of time and the starting time. Avoid stressing yourself unnecessarily by setting too short a time target. Avoid doing last minute work because you are unlikely to do your best
A key part of developing concentration is to manage the situation around you.
- Minimize disruptions from other people. Although it is fashionable to have an open office and one would certainly like to be open to other people, it is necessary at certain times to block off visitors and phone calls. Fortunately most people understand as they have the same need. We just have to do it diplomatically.
- Use your most productive times. Avoid the wrong times. For most people the time after meals and late at night are not good times to concentrate. Some are productive in the morning, others in the afternoon. One fellow student I knew slept during the day and worked at night.
- Avoid being emotionally distressed. Learn not to react to unpleasant stimuli. Learn relaxation techniques.
- Take a break. If you are not concentrating, then change the activity – take a walk, catch a nap, and even sleep on the problem.
Good concentration is not only useful in studies by also in sports, the professions, and business.