There are times when we seniors need to concentrate. Maybe not as often as when we were actively engaged in our careers, but it is still a skill we need to be able to activate from time to time.
Improving your powers of concentration will help you get more done in less time. Below are some of the major benefits of developing your ability to focus as well as some practical steps for achieving extreme concentration.
1. Be more productive. By devoting your full attention to whatever you're doing at the moment, you'll produce better quality work in less time. It really is this simple!
2. Be a better friend. Conversations are more pleasant if you feel like others are really listening to you. Paying attention to others will help you appreciate your family and friends, and understand how to support them when they need it.
3. Feel more peaceful. Many studies have found that multitasking makes people slower and less effective at performing various tasks. Trying to do too many things at once can cause stress and make you feel less alert. By contrast, focusing on one thing helps to calm your mind.
1. Focus on one thing at a time. Place your mind on whatever you're doing in the present moment. Think about how you act when you're engrossed in a thrilling movie or a new romance and try to duplicate that experience. If you don't feel passionate about a particular task, look for some meaningful aspect or motivate yourself with the desire to complete it in less time.
2. Abandon distracting thoughts. Your mind will wander. Remain aware of your thoughts. When you notice a distracting thought, decline to pursue it. Return your attention to your chosen object. Repeat this as often as necessary. With practice, it will get easier.
3. Meditate. To enhance your progress, try meditating. Sit and focus on your breath or spiritual attainments. You can extend that mindfulness to all your daily activities from eating lunch to playing with your children.
1. Minimize external distractions. Your restless mind is probably the greatest distraction, but a controlled environment can help too. Turn off your phone and wait until later to check your email. Clear off your desk. If you can't find a quiet spot, consider using white noise recordings, instrumental music, or earplugs.
2. Get fully engaged in what you're doing. It's easier to focus when you're actively involved. Take notes. Highlight passages while you read. Think about questions you want to ask a speaker. Invent ways to improve a routine household chore.
3. Vary your activities. While you're increasing your attention span, it may be helpful to switch from one activity to another to remain alert. So if you feel stuck, go return some phone calls for a while - you'll feel rejuvenated when you come back to the report.
4. Plan regular breaks. Taking breaks can improve your performance. Chat with your friends or walk around the block. Reward yourself with an activity you enjoy after completing a difficult project. Just standing up from time to time is refreshing because it helps your brain get more oxygen.
5. Avoid overloading your schedule. Budgeting your time realistically can make it easier to concentrate. You'll be less likely to get distracted by worries about getting everything done. If you're chronically overloaded, you may need to adjust your priorities.
6. Take care of your health. Your physical health affects all your mental functioning. Get adequate sleep and rest. Maintain a healthy weight by eating a nutritious diet and getting daily exercise.
Your ability to focus will improve with practice. As you learn to concentrate more fully, you'll enjoy greater peace of mind and productivity.
More peace of mind and productivity are good things, right?
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