Updated: Aug 24
Do you struggle to maintain concentration while studying or completing a test? On average most people check their phones every 12 minutes and in 2002, it was reported that, on average, we experience an interruption roughly 7 or 8 times an hour. Furthermore, with the additional time that it takes to refocus our intent, around 5 minutes, it seems we may not actually have all the time in the world. Especially when studying.
The obvious decision is to remove the phone from our vicinity while trying to do a task, however on a larger scale, it seems that with our extended time addicted to technology, our mental stamina is no longer able to focus on one task for any lengthy period of time.
Just like going to the gym, your willpower is a key aspect to the success of your mental training. Instead of giving in to the buzz emanating from your phone, choose to keep working on your task. Overcome that internal dread and bite the bullet when it comes to a mentally taxing activity and over time you will find yourself completing tasks with ease and in a much more timely fashion. Your mind is not something you can just expect to work just like a muscle, it needs exercise.
One of many concentration exercises is the Podomoro method, in which you solely utilise 25 minutes effectively and work on the task until the 25 minutes is completed with breaks of up to 5 minutes. Each time your time is up, bookmark your place in your work. Once you have repeated this 4 times you take a longer break and reset your marks and start the sequence over. This method eliminates the presence of distractions, if not completed the Podomoro is abandoned.
Many students spend nights up late not getting the correct amount of sleep and while they may think they are able to function normally, the ability to concentrate is drastically reduced. In combination with the increased hormonal stress which is a direct result of a lack of sleep, students find themselves in a cycle of stress and an inability to concentrate which ultimately leads to a cycle of sub-par work. Our ability to concentrate and get work done is strongly linked to our sleeping habits, sometimes it’s hard, but do your best to break from the cycle of staying up late and the quality of everything you do will improve.
Overall, improving your concentration comes with time, like a muscle you need to work on it and give it the right amount of time to rest and recuperate. Whatever method you use, make sure to keep at it and eventually you’ll find yourself ignoring the distractions and accomplishing your goals every day.