In a previous post, we looked at what affects concentration; specifically, the effects of stress. But is that the whole story? Certainly not. Eliminating stress is fantastic for maintaining focus, but we all know there’s an array of other hobgoblins at play. Are you doing your work in the right places? How do you eliminate distractions? Are there more efficient ways to structure your time? Does personal health come into play? And how do you make yourself work when you just don’t feel like it?
Change Your Environment
Creating a calm, inviting workspace is essential to concentration. This can be a quiet corner of your house, a cafe with good energy, a library desk, or a coworking space. Make sure you only use this space for studies- your mind should know it’s business time as soon as you sit down. If you weary of it, try to find a backup space. And never work from bed- the mind has too many associations with sleeping to make it an effective workplace.
Control Your Senses
“Out of sight, out of mind.” It’s an old adage, but true when it comes to what affects concentration. Try blocking out everything but the page in front of you by making blinders out of your hands. Likewise, try earplugs or music to ward off distracting noises. Eliminate everything inessential and focus all your senses on your task.
Improve Time Management
There are a thousand schools of time management, and committing to one or another may seems confusing. But the principles for what affects concentration are the same- work for a while, take a short break. Your mind is a battery that needs frequent recharging to concentrate properly. The key here is experimentation. Pay attention to how long it takes for your concentration to flag and how long a break you need to restore it. Once you’ve got your numbers down, stick to them like glue.
Maintain Your Health
There’s no way to separate the health of the body from the health of the mind. A good diet, ample exercise, and plenty of sleep go a long way towards good concentration.
Short Circuit Procrastination
This could be a whole post in itself. However, we’ve found one of the best techniques is the Five Minute Rule. How does it work? Simple- you just do five more. Commit to work for five minutes. Write five sentences. Read five pages. And once you’ve done five, just try doing do five more. Instead of just resigning yourself to drudgery, work turns into a game you play against yourself. You can go so far as to keep a scorecard or compete with your study buddies! What affects concentration is cobbled out of a handful of things. Fortunately, none of them are difficult to improve. Follow these tips and you’ll be a study machine in no time!