Seeing as it is near to Christmas (and although we don’t want to admit it, slowly edging towards exams), its very important that students do not lose concentration and get distracted. As a result, I am dedicating this weeks blog to providing techniques on how to improve concentration.
So, I am going to keep this as short and snappy as possible, otherwise you will end up losing concentration rather than gaining it…
- Get regular ‘green’ time
Research has suggested that children’s brain development can be benefited by exposure to nature. For example, studies has shown that “children aged 4–5 to 7 years of age with more green space around their homes scored better in attention tests” and “enriching a bare office with plants increased the productivity of workers by 15 percent.” Maybe taking a few extra nature walks or keeping plants in your study room will do the trick on helping you to concentrate more.
- Take breaks
Although this may seem obvious, taking a break from background distractions such as listening to music and the TV playing could enhance concentration.
Email – a study has shown that “people who read emails throughout the day switched screen twice as often and were in an ongoing state of high alert with a constant heart rate. When email was removed from these people for 5 days, their heart rate returned to a natural, variable one.” Conclusion – STOP CHECKING EMAILS AS OFTEN
Phone notifications – research as shown that “distraction caused by a notification is just as off-putting as using your cell phone to make calls or send a text message – they tend to trigger task-irrelevant thoughts or mind wandering that damages task performance.” Conclusion – TURN OFF NOTIFICATIONS OR LEAVE YOUR PHONE IN ANOTHER ROOM
Social media – “Using social media during working hours has been revealed to have an adverse effect on self-reported work performance and concentration, and the well-being of the organization.” Conclusion – AVOID SOCIAL MEDIA DURING WORK TIME
Work breaks – researchers have recommended that the best times to take breaks include: mid morning break, more little breaks as opposed to less long breaks and breaks involving a relaxing or enjoyable activity. Conclusion – TAKE MORE ‘SHORTER’ BREAKS
- Change your working environment
As said earlier, try and decorate your work space with nature elements (trees / flowers) and listen to classical music / natural sounds rather than other types of music to increase efficiency, accuracy and productivity. Research ha also suggested that inhaling rosemary aroma can “improve speed and accuracy of cognitive performance.”
- Do brain-training
Again seeming like an obvious option, brain training has recently been found to improve brain function in later life. Researchers have also emphasized that it matters what type of brain-training methods you do, as some use a ‘dual n-back’ method to remember sequences of stimuli, while other use a ‘complex scan’ method to improve working memory.
- Enhance your well-being
I would probably argue that this is the most important of all the points I have mentioned, as a healthy body leads to a healthy mind and hard working attitude. Some things you can do to improve your well-being include:
- Eat concentration-enhancing foods like walnuts, avocados and chocolate
- Exercise to improve performance on cognitive tasks eg. yoga
- Maintain body weight to sustain blood pressure / diabetes / sleep apnea.
Thank you for reading this weeks blog, its a bit different to usual but I hope it gave you some useful tips!