The experts suggest we need to give ourselves periods of unplanned time and space to foster creative thought, even if we find those times to be uninteresting or even uncomfortable.
Spending hours each day staring at a screen is distracting, but prioritizing quiet time when we can focus on hobbies and jobs that need sustained attention is a terrific approach to enhance concentration.
These five techniques will help you retrain your brain to concentrate and finish that book that’s been sitting on your nightstand for weeks.
Focus problems that have been holding you back for months, or even years, often require a return to core principles. To assist you regain your focus, you might begin with some basic concentration exercises.
While sitting quietly for a few minutes each morning has been shown to improve mental health, some people may find that a “moving” meditation practice is more their speed.
Leaving your phone at home and going for a walk with the purpose of practicing mindfulness, focusing on your breath, and studying the subtleties of the natural world around you is a great way to get some low-impact exercise and focus on the present now.
To get started, try reading a few paragraphs from a book every day.
It could be challenging to read a lengthy novel in a week if you are one of the 25% of Americans who haven’t picked up a book in more than a year. Pick up a shorter book and dedicate yourself to reading a few pages per day.
Try starting with ten to fifteen pages and seeing if you can increase it later. To get the most out of your book, set aside regular reading time and use the Freedom app on your phone to silence distractions.
When we find ourselves with even a few moments of downtime during the course of the day, many of us automatically reach for our phones.
How can we stop this vicious cycle? Always have a book on hand, and the next time you have to wait for an appointment or have a few minutes to spend, put your phone back in your bag and start reading.
You may be amazed at how much reading you can do during the day’s downtimes if you forgo the temptation to check your phone every few minutes.
Make your reading more of an active process by assigning yourself some reading exercises. This is especially helpful for students who have lengthy reading assignments, but taking notes while reading can be useful for anybody.
Take out a pen and highlighter and mark the passages that particularly resonate with you. Use sticky notes to highlight portions you want to review later and highlight key passages with your own comments. Your ability to focus and think critically will both benefit from this exercise.
You won’t be able to breeze through the pages without pausing to consider the content.
Smartphones can be used to great effect when trying to focus. The Freedom app has a feature called “block scheduling,” which allows you to choose times during the day when you do not want to receive alerts or use any apps that could be a distraction.
In order to avoid being distracted by notifications in the hour before bed and read instead, you can set up a recurring block that activates at the same time every night.
You can now unwind with a good book instead of mindlessly scrolling through your news feed or other apps, and not worry about being interrupted by any of the noise that usually comes with them.
See how well you can apply what you’ve learned. Understanding what you read and being able to recall it when you need it are two of reading’s ultimate goals.
It’s interesting to note that reading attentively provides the groundwork for understanding the content and remembering it afterwards.
Therefore, testing your comprehension and recall of what you’ve read is a good approach to see if you’re paying attention.
In order to accomplish this, focus on the text’s central message. It’s a good idea to re-read the content and then try to sum it up using your own words.
Perform a self-test by quizzing yourself on the material both right after reading and later on by asking yourself questions or making up your own based on what you recall.
You probably weren’t paying close enough attention to the text if you can’t extract the key idea, summarize it, or remember it afterwards.
Most of us rely significantly on these services, yet they are also some of the largest diversions available today.
If you’re anything like me, you get a little mental prod whenever your email or text message indicator goes off. These prompts are problematic because they can derail our forward progress while reading.
Our minds need a few moments to get into reading mode and fully concentrate on the text before us.
When we are interrupted, our brain automatically slows down and then has to speed up again. This can lead to a variety of ineffective reading habits. Perhaps most significantly, it can impair our capacity to concentrate on and remember the material we’re studying.