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We are hardwired to be easily distracted so many of us struggle to concentrate and focus our minds. But there are a number of very different strategies and techniques you can try to improve your ability to concentrate and sharpen up your focus.

Do you find it hard to stay focused on demanding tasks these days?  Do you find your mind jumps around rather than staying on the task in hand?  If so, you’re not alone and there are good reasons why we all find this more of a problem nowadays. But don’t despair as there are a number of strategies you can adopt to help you and your kids stay focused.

Trained to be easily distracted

One of the reasons we all find it increasingly difficult to stay focussed and concentrate these days is because we are surrounded by so many and varied distractions.  Whether at work, school, at home, or out in the street there can be so many images, noises, voices all clamouring for our attention.

We find it hard to resist these distractions because we’re ‘hard-wired’ not to ignore them.  The reason is that in prehistoric times distractions like noise or movement were often an early warning of something dangerous –and more often than not required immediate action.  So we could not afford to ignore those distracting signals.

Staying focussed for prolonged periods wasn’t really something we’ve needed to do until now.

But we all have the experience of being focussed – like when we get engrossed in playing sport, watching TV, in a hobby or a good read.  So being focussed is something we all do and there are strategies you can employ to increase the amount of time you stay focussed. As with anything else, the more you practice the better at it you become.

Know your best time

Most of us work better at certain times of the day than others and find that not only do we do better work, but it seems easier at those times too. For some of us this time is early in the morning, for others it might be after lunch.  Know when your best time is and use it to tackle those tricky tasks requiring concentration.

Set aside distraction free time

Just knowing you might be interrupted can be as distracting as actually being interrupted!

So if you’re waiting for a call or feedback from a colleague or expecting a visitor, staying focussed will naturally be harder.  So try not to do heavy-focus jobs at those times. Instead arrange time when your colleagues/family/college mates know you need to concentrate and ask to be left alone for a period of time. 

Switch tasks

No not multitasking, but try switching periodically between perhaps two tasks. This saves you getting bored which will lead to easy distraction and loss of focus.  Keeps you on your toes.

Continue reading after recommendations

  • www.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bjop.12025/abstract
  • www.infiniteminds.info/Learning-2.0/Tangerine-Technique.html
  • www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=brain-games-aim-make-kids-smarter
  • www.blogs.scientificamerican.com/streams-of-consciousness/2013/04/17/how-to-make-kids-smarterand-ease-existential-terror/
  • www.entrepreneur.com/blog/225569
  • www.entrepreneur.com/blog/225321

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