“I think I have ADHD.” Blaming your lack of focus and concentration on actual conditions people suffer from is not the way to go.
While it’s not completely far-fetched to assume you may actually be suffering from some kind of mental issue given your inability to focus in stressful situations or concentrate during a business meeting, there are some things you could change in your daily life that could potentially improve your concentration.
So refrain from calling your doctor about ADHD just yet and try these tricks first, because it’s unlikely that you belong to the 4.5 percent of adults who have the condition.
While your brain is not exactly composed of muscle tissue, you could think of the mind as a muscle and through active training, you can strengthen its functionality, specifically when it comes to focus and concentration.
The exercises, tricks, and lifestyle alterations listed below are great methods by which you can improve your concentration and focus on a daily and long-term bases.
No, it’s not only for hipsters and Buddhists, meditation is something that everyone can take part in and for good reason too. Mindful meditation has been shown repeatedly to strengthen mental capacities and increase your attention span.
One study showed that 140 participants saw a significant increase in their attention span after just eight weeks of mindful meditation training. What’s more, you don’t have to devote a lifetime to this activity to see its benefits, after just four days of 10 to 20 minute meditation throughout the day you can improve your concentration to a great extent.
Mindfulness is something you can also practice throughout the day to help with not getting distracted. For instance, when you’re eating you can make it an active experience versus a passive activity, such as eating while watching television.
Concentrate on your chewing and experience all the flavors and textures. This sort of conscious thinking will lead it being less likely that you get easily distracted. Think in the now and be present when you feel yourself becoming occupied with other tasks.
Make a List
Everyone’s probably heard this one already, but it works, seriously. Increasing your ability to focus can be significantly influenced by something as simple as making a list of the things you have to do.
Director of the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Training Program at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, Simon Rego, PsyD suggests composing a list prioritizing the important tasks first then creating a separate less urgent list.
Creating a list will not only prioritize your activities and deadlines but will prevent you from multitasking. Research time and time again has proven that despite our beliefs most people cannot multitask.
We are only able to tackle one issue at a time and trying to do multiple things at once will only decrease the value of work for each task and lead to you being easily distracted. Stay focused and concentrate on the first thing on your list.
Wiggle Your Feet
Ok this one sounds weird but it works and it’s one of the things Olivia Fox Cabane, author of The Charisma Myth suggests doing. Cabane suggests that we can often tune out during a conversation or become completely distracted during something important.
We look for some kind of instant gratification and distraction like a new email or text. Cabane suggests that to avoid such instances take a moment and mindfully concentrate on your toes, wiggling them around. When you’re done, you will be able to handle some of your tasks with better focus.
It’s not just the emails and texts that can be the cause for your inability to focus, other small distraction limit attention span, so it’s important to seclude yourself form these diversions.
Our inability to disconnect from easily available tools like the internet, computers, and smart phones can be the main cause of our lacking attention capacities. Author Mel Robbins suggests leaving the phone out of the room and when you feel yourself getting distracted or unable to concentrate and start something just count to five and launch right into whatever it is your doing.
It’s that simple. Close the computer, leave the phone somewhere else, meditate in the morning, wiggle those toes, and get to work.