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How to Improve Concentration and Focus

Priya Johnson
We’re all wired differently with different capacities to concentrate for exams or deadlines. Some of us struggle to harness our thoughts, making it difficult to focus at crucial times. Certain tips can help improve our concentration levels.

Positive Affirmations

Print out a few positive affirmations such as ‘I am smart and capable of learning everything required for the exam’. Internalize and believe such affirmations before you begin studying will motivate you to study.

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Simple Physical Activity

A simple walk or jog outdoors will stimulate your senses and prepare your mind to focus. Don’t engage in a physically exhausting activity.

Reduce Distractions

Mindless surfing, social media and apps are all distractions we’re all tempted with today. Make the choice to switch off your cell phone or mute it, so it doesn’t interfere with your focus time.

Focus Zone

Since we’re all wired differently we’ll all have different focus zones or times when our concentration levels are the highest. For some it’s early morning, while for others it’s late at night. Figure out what works for you.

Break Down the Goal

Often the final goal overwhelms us and the thought of accomplishing a task so difficult becomes a mental block. If you need to study 5 chapters, instead of panicking over 5, just go ahead and complete one chapter at a time.

Time Limits

To achieve any deadline within a stipulated time, it’s important to time your smaller goals as well. The time limit will motivate you to keep working faster.

Fun Rewards at Regular Intervals

Set small goals with small rewards or breaks at regular intervals. For example, if the goal is to study 5 chapters for an exam, after ever chapter take a walk or listen to your favorite song. This will motivate you to press on to finish.

Quiz Yourself

The act of simply reading will not help remember what you’re trying to learn. Taking quizzes on the subject or chapter will help you engage in active recall, which will allow the information to seep deeper into your memory.

Call it a Day

Even if you’re highly motivated, don’t overtire your mind and body. Your mind may be willing but your body needs adequate rest and a good night’s sleep. Get up fresh in the morning and get back to studying. Listen to your body and know when to switch off.

Check Your Work Space

While a clean and tidy work or study space is essential for many to concentrate, it’s not for everyone. Some find themselves unable to work in a decluttered space. Know yourself and do what works for you.

Prepare a To-Do-List

Make a list of all the things you need to get done. Make sublists and as you finish each task, cross it out. The physical act of crossing out or ticking has proven to raise one’s motivation levels.

Know When to Let Go

If you find it difficult to understand a certain topic and have already spent a lot of time on it, let go and move on. You can come back to it later. Wasting too much time on it will increase your frustration levels and derail your final goal.

Say No to Multitasking

When you know you need to meet a deadline or study for an exam, don’t overcommit. Don’t multitask and take up a variety of tasks that will drain you out. Let go of responsibilities that aren’t crucial.

Avoid Alcoholism

According to scientific research, heavy alcohol consumption brings about physical changes in the brain structure. It’s important to stay away from excessive alcohol intake.

Don’t Stay Hungry

Don’t live on coffee as you study or work through. When the body’s sugar level dips your concentration levels will begin to see a decline. Consume healthy, nutritious meals at the proper time. Drink lots of water and stay hydrated.

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"When you focus on what you want, everything else fades away." - Alysha Newman