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How to Master the Art of Concentration for More Success

When the mind wavers, the thoughts are scattered, resulting in decreased performance and productivity

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Image Credit: Midjourney

Most people lack concentration. The problem is acute among college students due to the lack of focus. Focus helps you achieve your goals quickly. 

When the mind wavers, the thoughts are scattered, resulting in decreased performance and productivity. It is essential to improve concentration to achieve success in personal, professional, and social life. 

People find it challenging to concentrate due to various reasons including information overload. While in the past people craved information, presently they are flooded with all kinds of information. It has become a problem of plenty. 

A survey by the University of California estimates that we are bombarded with 34 GB of information a day, twice as much as 30 years ago. Office workers, meanwhile, are interrupted on average every three minutes. No doubt, therefore, our concentration spans are shriveling. 

Mastering the Art of Concentration 

When your mind is scattered, you cannot concentrate whereas when your mind is focused, you can concentrate effectively. It is like the rays of the Sun, when focused upon an object with the help of a magnifying glass, produces heat many times greater than the scattered rays of the same source of light and heat. 

Hence, when you invest your efforts with a focus, you achieve quicker outcomes. 

Find some techniques to improve your concentration here. 

  • Figure out which is the best time for you to work on things that demand your concentration more. When are you comfortable and in what situation? Early mornings and late nights are the times when no one needs you or no one will distract you. Keep the phone switched off and get on to the job. 
  • Take rest for some time every day to enhance your concentration. Think of what you have done till then and what you intend to do. Reflect upon your thoughts at this time so that they do not disturb you when you intend to focus on your core activity. 
  • When you read a newspaper article or a chapter in a book, rewrite it concisely without compromising the essence. It helps you enhance your concentration while reading.
  • Find your stimulant. Some people can concentrate better with soft music playing in the background while some can concentrate only when there is no noise at all. Find out what suits you and adopt it. Ideally, it is better to work in a quiet place to boost your concentration.  
  • Take a break and walk around the room for a couple of minutes. This helps you get more oxygen to the brain. When you sit for a longer duration, blood tends to pool in your lower body and legs due to gravity.  
  • Figure out how much time a task in hand will take to complete. Form your deadlines. If you feel that you have adequate time to complete it, start working. It helps you concentrate effectively since you have already decided to devote your time to the activity. Avoid distractions during this time. This way, you can avoid switching costs involved in time by shifting from one activity to another. 
  • Once you have allocated a deadline, try to finish the job before time so that you save yourself some extra time to relax or do something of your choice. That is an excellent reward or motivation that you can offer yourself. Because as they say, time is money.
  • Divide your tasks into high-attention and low-attention tasks. The high-attention tasks need heavy concentration. When you are confident that you have enough time and can concentrate, you can undertake them. Otherwise, opt for low-attention tasks.
  • There are little exercises that help us hone our power of concentration. Here is a simple one. Count from 1 to 100 and backward. Counting backward is awkward and requires a great degree of concentration.

“The best advice I ever came across on the subject of concentration is: Wherever you are, be there.” – Jim Rohn

Practice Trataka/Candle Gaze Exercise

Phil Nuernberger in his book, The Quest For Personal Power recommended the “Candle Gaze Exercise” to improve concentration. This exercise is ideally done in a dark and quiet room. 

  1. Watch the flame which must be placed approximately at an arm’s length in front of you, and should be at the level of your eyes to enable you to hold your head steady and gaze straight ahead.  
  2. Ensure that the flame remains steady during the concentration. 
  3. Avoid blinking as far as possible. Do it without wearing any lenses or glasses. Do it preferably for 20 minutes every day. Do not push too hard. Avoid straining your eyes. If you get a headache, it means you are pushing too hard. 

The candle gaze exercise is also known as the ‘Trataka’ technique.  With this exercise, apart from enhancing your concentration, you can also improve your eyesight and vision. It helps augment intelligence, memory, willpower, decision-making ability, and inner peace. 

It assists in overcoming mental, behavioral, and emotional ailments and sleep-related disorders such as headaches, insomnia, and nightmares.

In the beginning, you may feel that the eyes begin to water after only a few minutes. However, with practice, your eyes will be able to continue the gaze for longer periods and you would be able to practice Trataka for up to twenty minutes or so. 

Painting for example enhances concentration immensely. When you are creating designs on canvas, you are completely engrossed in the patterns and the colors. While painting, many people are known to think. 

Their thoughts reflect in their choice of patterns and designs and colors. Many confusions ease when you are thinking while doing a creative exercise. Decision-making is faster and not stressful.

Writing Can Help 

At times, when I engage in writing a book, too many ideas strike my mind simultaneously and I find it challenging to concentrate. I cultivated the practice of jotting down the ideas that simultaneously pop up in my mind. 

After jotting down those ideas, I concentrate on authoring again. In this way, I will have the cake and eat it too. It is quite natural to lose focus from your core ideas and thoughts but you must be in a position to capture other ideas that strike your mind and recapture the flow of doing your activity.  

To summarize, avoid interruptions; focus on one activity; avoid multitasking if that stresses you so much that all your activities suffer. In today’s life, multitasking is a must. But that is a skill that needs to be cultivated over time. 

Give yourself that time. Take regular breaks to recharge and rearrange yourself. Identify the time a task would take and initiate to complete it effectively.  

Follow the above steps and tips to improve your concentration which would help you achieve all-round success. 

Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D. is the Father of “Soft Leadership” and the Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants, India. He is an International Leadership Guru with forty years of experience and the author of fifty books including the award-winning ‘See the Light in You’ URL: https://www.amazon.com/See-Light-You-Spiritual-Mindfulness/dp/1949003132. He is a C-Suite advisor and global keynote speaker. He brings a strategic eye and long-range vision given his multifaceted professional experience including military, teaching, training, research, consultancy, and philosophy. He is passionate about serving and making a difference in the lives of others. He is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine. He trains a new generation of leaders through leadership education and publications.

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