- Learn how to banish distractions and improve concentration with our expert tips and advice.
- Everyday activities that you can try at home to help you better able to concentrate on tasks.
- From concentration exercises to painting, playing chess and planning your time – easy tips to try.
Being able to concentrate on a task can prove frustratingly difficult. It’s all too easy to get distracted or to have your concentration broken by interruptions. However, it is possible to train your brain and improve concentration, minimising its tendency to be distracted. The result is clearer thinking, sharper focus and the ability to complete tasks quicker and more accurately.
Boosting concentration takes time, practice and patience. As with physical exercise, mentally training your brain and improving concentration needs regular workouts. Here are some top tips to help you achieve this.
Improve your mind with our guide to 12 essential tips for boosting brain health.
1. Do daily exercises to improve concentration
Find a quiet place away with as few distractions as possible to practise concentration exercises. Take 10-15 minutes each day in this peaceful place to practice a concentration exercise. Aim to complete the task without getting distracted, but if you do, start the training again and keep practising for the full 15 minutes. Remember – it can take weeks to master these concentration workouts. Try the following to get you started:
- Backwards counting – count down from 100 to 1 in your mind.
- Skip counting – count from 1 to 100 but avoiding specific numbers. For example, try counting but avoiding every odd or even number.
- Paragraph counting – open a book and select a paragraph. Count the number of words without getting distracted, then count them again and check you get the same result. Move to two, then three paragraphs as you improve.
- Object examination – pick an object, such as a mug or ornament. Hold it in your hands for 2 minutes, concentrating on the feel, weight, colour and texture. Close your eyes and try to concentrate on visualising an image of the object. The aim is to visualise it with as much clarity as possible. Try to hold the mental picture for as long as you can.
2. Limit distractions
Avoid sensory overload when you need to concentrate. Switch off the radio, turn off the TV, sit away from traffic or conversation noise, and clear your desk of clutter. Limiting distractions helps stop your mind from wandering.
3. Try meditation to improve concentration
Sign up to meditation classes or consider taking a meditation course. Spending time clearing your mind of distractions, developing calmness and peace will allow you to improve your focus. When meditating, concentrate on slowing your breathing, and practice at least five minutes per day. As well as meditation, yoga is a fantastic way to improve both body and mind.
4. Plan your time
Create to-do lists, and sit down each morning to work on updating the list and ticking off tasks. A handy ‘to do’ note pad can help. We’re able to concentrate better earlier in the day, and to-do lists keep us on track and focused on completing tasks.
5. Play chess to aid focus
Learning chess requires long periods of concentration. Chess requires that you have to plot both your and your opponent’s possible moves, requiring you to hold complex scenarios in your mind.
6. Take up painting
It’s easy to give up on this hobby, as it demands concentration to pursue painting a piece of art until it’s finished. Practising and developing painting skills can help improve concentration.
7. Make time for reading books
Sitting quietly for an hour and entirely focusing on a narrative within a book can do wonders for concentration.
8. Knitting improves concentration
Knitting demands continuous fine motor skills and focuses on achieving, and the more intricate the knit, the more focus and concentration it requires.
9. Play video games
Zapping aliens or racing virtual cars isn’t just for teenagers. Playing fast-paced video games require intense concentration and focus. Don’t let space battles put you off – Nintendo makes some great fast-paced family-friendly games that are easy to use.
Can you eat your way to a healthier brain? Read our guide to the best brain foods to fuel your mind. Want more advice? Read up on 10 more brain training tips and techniques you can try today to help improve your memory.