How to increase concentration in this digital era? It seems almost impossible with so much information and distractions at hand. These days we are even forgetting how to focus in one thing at a time.
These are the most basic steps you can take to increase your concentration.
We jump from task to task without being fully concentrated in what we are doing. The result? We get less quality and more stress.
You can stop this insanity.
If you write, write. Don't edit. Because if you edit, you are not letting your mind flow, and your mind is powerful when you let it flow. Allow yourself to enter in The Zone. There is a writing zone, an editing zone, a checking email zone... Create as many zones as you need and learn how to increase concentration.
Divide your tasks into smaller parts
Sometimes you have a hard time starting the task at hand. If you see this activity as something big, you are seeing the whole forest. But it's easier to focus on one tree, don't you think?
So break your big task into smaller units and mark them off as you complete them. It feels good to mark off something, right? Enjoy the reward of tracking your progress throughout the task until you finish.
Give yourself little time slots to finish tasks
Sometimes, dividing tasks into smaller blocks is not enough. Maybe because we don't find any motivation in the first place.
When this happens to me, I think, "Okay, this is boring, but I really need to do it. So I'm going to work hard for the next ten minutes. No interruptions. Just ten minutes." After that time, give yourself a little reward. Do something that you enjoy. Play with your dog, play air guitar listening to your favourite song, update your Facebook status, anything.
To tell you the truth, most times I realize that is not that horrible to work for ten minutes, so I give myself fifteen or twenty minutes instead of ten for the next round.
Empty your mind
Why don't you write them down to put them out of your mind and schedule a time slot to deal with them later?
If you need to read an important document and money worries you, just promise yourself that you will have time to think about the bills from 1 pm to 1.15 pm.
Limit your intake of information
Easier said than done, I know. But if you decide to interrupt your task to check some information for a few seconds, chances are that these seconds will become ten or fifteen minutes. I don't know you, but everytime I do that, I end up opening two or three tabs in Firefox, and my Google Reader.
Let's say, you want to start a blog and you start reading all about blogging... "Wait. Where I do even begin with so much information to digest?!"
After that, months may go by without you taking any action. Can you relate? I do.
Follow a healthy information diet. Too many calories make you fat and slow.
Visualize your success
Imagine yourself coping with your tasks successfully with as much detail as possible. No stress, no worries. Deal with interruptions in your mind, see that they cannot put you out of The Zone. Visualize how good it feels to finish your work.
Sometimes, it's worth to allow yourself five minutes to think about that.
Make your own rituals
A very effective way of entering in The Zone.
Drink your coffe on a purple coffee before sitting in your desk, write what you are going to do in a whiteboard, draw something, listen to a song, chew bubble gum...
Once these little rituals become a habit, you are going to need them to tune your mind, just like Pavlov's dogs salivated when hearing the bell.
Be present and kill the white noise
Sometimes we read without understanding and listen to people without really paying attention. Kill the white noise in your head and fully experiment the world through your senses.
Have you noticed how much we take things for granted? We look at the world as if there were nothing new to see. Have you ever experienced that feeling of looking at someone you already know as if it were the first time? These are the moments in which we are truly present and we are able to control and experiment our reality.
What if you stop looking at what surrounds you with empty eyes?