Concentration

A question I am passionate about came up today in namesake.com:

“I’ve got a TERRIBLE memory. I believe it might be due to the inability to concentrate. I usually can’t work on one task for too long. Any suggestions on how to improve my concentration and my memory?”

I am trying to get back in the habit of writing here, so I figured I would take this opportunity to share my answer here on thomasknoll.info as well.

Nathletes Game 4 81 (2.0)
photo (cc) hectorir, Flickr

The single best way to improve your concentration, is to practice. Seriously. Like almost everything in life, you get better through more experience. So, if you want to have perfect concentration, perfectly practice concentrating.

Treat it just like you would treat practicing your free-throws. Every day take some time to consciously practice concentration.

  1. Pick a single task. (i.e. don’t take on the world, just one task.)
  2. Focus on it through completion.

You will feel the urge to look away/do something else. This is OK. Just notice it, acknowledge it, and then get back to your task.
You will probably even realize too late that you’ve moved on to something else before completing that task. This is OK. Just notice it, acknowledge it, and then get back to your task.

You’ve been practicing how to be distracted for YEARS… so realize it will take time to practice being focused.

There are no shortcuts, so get started. =)

  • Kimmersck

    Nice use of mindfulness. Mindfulness practices are extremely important for concentration and they help u to realize when u r not concentrating– which is the first step to increasing concentration 🙂

  • Kimmersck

    Nice use of mindfulness. Mindfulness practices are extremely important for concentration and they help u to realize when u r not concentrating– which is the first step to increasing concentration 🙂

  •   I really have trouble staying focused.  There is so much to do and I try to cram it all in between when the kids go to bed and around 12am-1am when I finally go to bed.  I will work on practicing and accomplishing one task at a time. Thanks!