When it comes to improving productivity, several aspects come to mind – multi-tasking, time management, work scheduling etc. Of all these, I would say that improving concentration is the most important one. During this info age, being surrounded by internet, facebook, twitter, tablets, laptops smart-phones and what not, improving concentration has more significance than ever, for everyone.
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Who needs to improve concentration?
If you are a housewife, improved concentration helps you with better memory, helps you attend to all the home matters without forgetting anything, clears your mind of all the unwanted things and helps to do your job better.
If you are a professional, having a razor sharp concentration will help you learn new things in your field quickly, adapt to new conditions and excel in your field.
If you are a spiritual seeker or a worldly guy, whether you are a KG level student, CEO of a company or a housewife, efforts to improve concentration is a must for everyone.
In Mahabharat, (Hindu epic) Dronacharya, the Guru teaches the students archery. He asks the students to aim at a bird. He asks – what do you see? While many students say that they see the tree with the branches and leaves, the bird, the sky in the background etc, Arjuna, the choicest disciple of the Guru says – I cannot see anything but the bird. He was so focused on the bird that all his mind and his body was totally concentrating on hitting the bird with his arrow. No points for guessing who was successful in hitting that.
Swamy Vivekananda quotes
“How has all the knowledge in the world been gained but by the concentration of powers of the mind? “
“The more this power of concentration, the more knowledge is acquired, because this is the one and only method of acquiring concentration.”
“The mind uncontrolled and unguided will drag us down, down, forever – rend us, kill us; and the mind controlled will save us, free us.”
“Most of the thought force is wasted by the ordinary human being, and therefore, he is constantly committing blunders. The trained man or mind never makes a mistake.”
Tips to improve concentration
Here are a few easy tips that I am trying to follow to improve concentration:
1. Sugar / sweet –
Having a light sweet or a small dose of juice feeds glucose to brain and helps to concentrate better. If you have some brain storming to do, consider eating a little sweet. Though, continuous eating of high sugar diet is not good for health, this suggestion holds good just ahead of a heavy work schedule.
2. Light stomach
Keeping the stomach light keeps you away from sleepiness and laziness. To improve your concentration, have a bit of concentration on your stomach.
3. Scheduling work on hour by hour basis
An organized work schedule helps to prioritize the work / study, keeps the mind calm and well composed for a very long period of time. At every point of time, you can easily assess where you are, how long you have traveled and how many miles you have to go before you sleep.
4. Spending time away from gadgets, facebook.
While doing a very very important work, just keep yourself away from gadgets.
5. F 11
While working on computer, if you want to see nothing but one tab, press F11 button. This helps to view your present screen / tab bigger and keeps you away from all other tabs and windows. To revert back to normal view, press F11 again.
Pranayama is a time tested technique. It helps to improve breath control and trains the mind to organize things better.
Prayer helps to improve concentration. There is a Yoga technique called ‘Trataka’ . It refers to continuously looking at one object for about 5 – 10 minutes. The object can be a lamp, or a picture of your favorite deity. If you have the habit of praying, continuously looking into the picture of the deity can help to improve concentration.
8. Self help books.
Self help books, biographies of great people of your area of interest, keeps your mind motivated and concentrated.
10. Exercise and waking up early –
Powerful body begets powerful mind. Exercise in morning is especially beneficial for this purpose. Waking up early in the morning has many benefits along with improving concentration.
11. Foods and habits to avoid –
Too much oily food, excess non veg, garlic and onion are considered Tamasik (leading to darkness). Hence minimal use of these helps to improve concentration. Having said that, garlic and onion come with a bunch of health benefits. Hence a balance needs to be maintained. Avoiding alcohol and smoking helps.
12. Watching mind – Sitting erect while doing any work, concentrated efforts to watch mind, how it is behaving, what are the areas that need to improve, concentrating on your concentration levels will surely help you improve concentration.
13. Abstinence: – Brahmacharya / Celibacy is a proven and trusted way to improve concentration.
14. Afternoon nap –
If you find it hard to continue working in the afternoon hours, or during summer, or if you suffer from any chronic illness, an afternoon nap for just 15 – 30 minutes can work wonders in improving your concentration levels. Read more about day sleep.
Related topic: Get rid of cluttered mind