10 Keys to Improving Concentration, According to Science
Staying attentive during daily activities isn't always easy, and so here are some very useful keys to improving concentration.
Following these keys to improving concentration will allow you to maintain a higher level of attention in your daily tasks and commitments. In this way, it will be easier for you to fulfill all your tasks on time, and much more so if you’ve realized that you have problems with getting distracted.
The good news is that, through these keys, you can train this ability until you achieve your goal of being more effective when you carry out your duties. To this, we can add other benefits that will impact your memory, effective decision making, precision, and agility. There’ll be no challenge or task that you won’t be able to do!
The 10 keys to improving concentration, according to science
Productivity isn’t related to the number of hours you spend doing your tasks, but, rather, to the quality of that time. It’ll be useless spending 10 hours at work if you only manage to complete one of the three reports that you had to deliver, which you could have completed in half that time.
The good news is that, as we already said, you can train yourself to stay focused and be more and more efficient, and we’re not only talking about work, but also about study or day-to-day activities. Read on to find out more.
1. Make sure you get enough rest
Sleep is essential for the proper functioning of the body, especially the brain. Research has indicated that those who suffer from insomnia show greater functional impairment and have attention and concentration problems.
So the first key to staying focused is getting enough comforting sleep. Sleeping well allows us an optimal brain and cognitive recovery that makes it easier for us to concentrate and perform much better in our daily activities.
At this point, it’s important to remember that sleeping a lot isn’t always synonymous with sleeping well. So, make sure you get quality sleep so that you can be attentive and focused the following day.
2. Ensure you eat healthy food
A lack of concentration can be caused by external and internal factors. Within this second group we find poor diet, which, according to various studies, doesn’t only reduce concentration, but also contributes to poor school performance and difficulties in communicating.
So, you need to start by eating well, and eliminating fats and heavy foods from your diet. Keep in mind that it’s just as important to regulate what you consume before carrying out certain tasks, so that you’ll avoid feeling heavy and sleepy.
Although studies on coffee have reported positive effects on long-term memory, keep in mind that this is a drink that has stimulating effects on the central nervous system and therefore could cause insomnia, affecting your hours and quality of sleep.
3. Discover your most productive moments
It’s a fact of life that not all people are productive at the same times of the day. Some people say that they have greater concentration during the morning, whereas others prefer the afternoon or night. So, identify what your best time is, so that you can take advantage of it to perform the tasks that require more attention.
In contrast, during your times of lower productivity, perform tasks that are more automated and repetitive. This doesn’t mean that they’re tasks that don’t require attention, it just means that they’re ones you can do when you’re not on “full power”.
4. Play chess
Those who have played or seen chess play know very well that it’s a game that requires a lot of concentration. One lapse of concentration and in the blink of an eye you’re on checkmate.
Research has indicated that playing this game is a pedagogical resource that improves cognitive processes, perception, attention, and memory.
You can also opt for other hobbies such as crosswords, mazes, puzzles, or video games.
5. Avoid outside distractions
There are countless external distractions that can affect your ability to concentrate. Studies have pointed out, and it’s quite obvious, that ambient noise interferes with the performance of tasks that require a lot of concentration such as academic exams. In these cases, the ideal thing is to have a quiet environment.
There are many things that can distract us, such as the mobile phone, the television, and social networks, among others. In the same way, the environment plays an important role. If you’re either too hot or too cold it can make you uncomfortable and prevent you from keeping your concentration.
6. Listen to music
OK, so we’ve already said that silence helps us stay focused, but listening to music at certain times also stimulates this ability.
On the one hand, studies have indicated that listening to happy music stimulates divergent thinking. This type of thinking encourages us to create new ideas, which is very useful for those who have jobs related to creativity such as designers, writers, or artists.
On the other hand, research has indicated that music contributes to improving academic performance at school.
7. Establish a routine
Chaos and disorder are never a welcome part of our lives. In this specific case, establishing a work or study routine will help you achieve greater concentration in each of the proposed tasks.
Writing down the activities that you need to carry out, and the times they need to be completed by will help you to get them done on time.
Remember to order your routine according to your most productive times. Knowing what to do, when to do it, and how long it should take you to accomplish it will save you stress and, over time, the tasks will become easier.
8. Allow yourself moments of rest
Another key to improving concentration lies in giving yourself some time to rest when a task is too time-consuming. It’s estimated that, for every 45 minutes of work, you should rest about 10 minutes. In this way, the brain rests and can continue its concentration activity afterwards.
Of course, you shouldn’t take these breaks if you can see that you’re getting on really well in your tasks, because you may have problems resuming it later. In the same way, you could take a notebook to write down any ideas you have about your tasks in your break time.
9. Give yourself rewards
The penultimate key to improving concentration lies in rewarding yourself. In addition to setting goals and objectives to accomplish a task, you should give yourself a reward at the end. You could watch a movie, eat something nice, or go to the gym.
In this way, when you find yourself getting distracted, you can think about how resuming your task more efficiently will help you get that reward much quicker.
10. Chew gum, but don’t go overboard
Science has proven that chewing gum has positive effects on attention and concentration, and helps you to remember information in the short term. However, it’s important not to exceed its consumption, especially when it comes to gum that has active ingredients such as guarana or coffee.
Moreover, it has been shown that chewing gum is associated with a lesser degree of stress while you work, as well as in our daily routines. In addition to this, it has a positive influence on the chewers’ mood.
Did you know these keys to improve concentration?
You probably expected very different keys to improving concentration, but, as you can see, reaching this state is very easy. All you have to do is practice every day to see the results gradually appearing.
As an additional key, having a calm emotional life facilitates states of concentration. Activities such as yoga or mindfulness can be of great help, as their very practice requires high levels of attention.