The modern world is horrible for focusing on a task. There are a million distractions all fighting for your attention, and all seem to be important. The ability to concentrate is more important now than it has ever been in the past, and yet we are finding it harder than ever to stay focused. So are you wondering how to improve concentration? Read on.

Have a Focus Phrase

This is simple: any time you feel yourself drifting, have a phrase that says “get back to work.” Mine is simple “Focus on your work.” but others might prefer something simpler, like “Be here.” Whatever your phrase is, associate it with getting your task done.

Train Yourself not to be Distracted

Think of your distraction as a game, or a hurdle to jump. Try training for it. go to a crowded, distracting place like a coffee shop and work on some simple, unimportant tasks. Reward yourself with coffee when you stay focused, and generously to the tip jar when you don’t. That way, you have both the carrot and the stick.

Isolate yourself

When you need to get real work done, however, your best bet is to find an environment you feel extremely comfortable in and cut yourself off from the world. This isn’t the office, unfortunately; cubicles and offices are notoriously bad for getting real work done. If you can’t cut yourself off physically, try listening to music.

Have Work Music

Play music when you work, preferably the same thing every time. Maybe make a playlist. Just make sure that the music is mostly lyric-less, as vocals will put your mind to work listening to them. Also find something that is fairly repetitive, so your mind doesn’t have to work to find patterns. I personally like Brian Eno’s “Music for Airports.”

Give Yourself a Break

A while back, a simple productivity technique emerged. It isn’t novel, but it is catchy, and it is effective. Introducing the Pomorodo technique. Named after those small tomato-shaped timers, the Pomodoro technique take advantage of structured breaks. This is the technique:

1. Set a timer for 25 minutes
2. Work vigorously for those 25 minutes
3. Write an X somewhere you will remember
4. Take a 5 minute break
5. Repeat until you have 4 X’s, then take a 15-20 minute break.

This pattern gets your mind into the habit of only getting distracted when you let it, and turns focusing into a bit of a game. Give it try, and you’ll be surprised how effective this simple technique is.

Reward yourself

If you successfully concentrate, then give yourself a treat. Otherwise, nothing. This is particularly easy if you are using the Pomodoro technique. Say you work for 7 hours a day. You could expect 10 or so Pomorodo X’s, so if you reach your goal, give yourself a treat. If it’s particualarly important, punish yourself for not making it. You get to choose.

If you try these techniques, you should be able to get your wandering, distracted mind under control in no time. Give a few try, and you will be happy with the results.

Author's Bio: 

Jill Magso is a member of the Silva Team and contributes to spreading enlightened ideas and sharing teachings about meditation practices. The Silva Method encompasses a variety of powerful exercises that take you deep into Alpha and Theta levels of the mind so that you can work within your subconscious as well as your conscious mind.