Enhancing your concentration

Building stronger and longer concentration periods

Building your concentration power is much like developing and strengthening the muscles of your body. However, you will be able to improve your concentration without working up a profuse sweat. It’s more a matter of cool, calm and conscientious practice.
The basic process in developing your concentration powers is to gradually take on more difficult mental tasks. These tasks should require more rigorous and more lengthy periods of concentration. As you progress, reward yourself for increases in your concentration span.
The first step is to prepare a list of concentration tasks which you normally confront in your work or at home. If you have difficulty recalling and recounting situations where your concentration is critical or necessary, carry a notebook with you for two weeks and note the situations requiring firm concentration.
For example, you may have had difficulty at work repeating the machine. Or, you might have difficulty following travel directions on a weekend trip. After you have collected your concentration items, rank them in order from the easiest to the most difficult.
Now that you have listed and ranked your items, start with the easiest one. Let’s say that it is proofreading a two-page letter to pick up any typographic mistakes. Gather together some practice material-old letters or current reports the need to be scrutinized. Set a concentration time target, say five minutes, and then get to the task. Don’t look up or break your concentration in any other way. When the time is up, check your performance. Were you able to hold your concentration to the task? Qualitatively, were you able to pick up any errors in the letters? When you can maintain effective concentration over three separate trials at a particular time span then move up to the next level. By working at each task, beginning with relatively short concentration periods and progressing to longer time spans, you will be able to increase your work concentration appreciably.
It is important to say that fatigue is a significant factor which affects concentration. Concentrating is generally hard work. Therefore, you will want to gauge your effective concentration periods to the type of work to be done and schedule adequate rest periods to offset fatigue.

Concentration practice exercise
• Take the series slowly so that you can mentally absorb each step.
• Repeat each step out loud to help fix the information in your memory.
• Ask questions to clarify any ambiguities or doubts.
• Try to establish a mental image of each step to link it with the proceeding and succeeding steps.
• At the end of the series, try to repeat the entire set of instructions.
• When carrying out the instructions, repeat the steps as you go to further fix the series in your memory, if retention is necessary.

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