Top Tips for How To Improve Concentration
The science suggests that there does seem to be an entrepreneurial personality. A study from the Journal of Business Venturing Insights shows that adolescents showing ‘type A’ personality traits were more likely to become and stay entrepreneurs.
Type A personality traits include ambition, time urgent and leadership qualities. The downsides of this ‘entrepreneurial personality’ can be frustration, impatience, inability to relax and, crucially, poor concentration.
The skills required in event planning are similar to entrepreneurship. Like business owners, event planners need to wear multiple hats, be time focused, notice details while focusing on the whole and have the drive and confidence to create something out of nothing. Naturally, Type A personalities are drawn to and excel at this kind of work.
But when the downsides of the personality profile, namely impatience and poor concentration, start harming productivity, what should you do? If you suffer from poor concentration here are some tips to improve and become more productive.
1. Try Pomodoro
When it comes to how to improve your concentration, Pomodoro is a popular productivity technique. A pomodoro is 25 minutes of deep, uninterrupted work followed by a five minute break. After four ‘pomodoros,’ you get a longer break, usually 20 minutes. To make this work best, it’s a good idea to turn off your email and Slack notifications during your working times. During your breaks it can be good to get up from your desk and stretch your legs.
The technique works on the theory that the human being cannot focus on one thing for an extended time, which is definitely true for type A entrepreneurial, event planning people.
Pomodoro has the added advantage that you can track how long it takes you to complete certain tasks, helping you plan your time in the future.
Find our downloadable infographic here for a step by step guide to the Pomodoro Technique that you can save to your desktop.
2. Plan your time, space and limit distractions
Whilst Pomodoro is a great place to start, it shouldn’t be the whole story. If you are getting distracted, be mindful of how you structure your time and your work space.
Planning is key here. A great thing to do when thinking about how to improve concentration is to set 3 hours a day when you turn off your email notifications to really get some work done.
Consider if a cluttered desk is also cluttering your mind. For more advice, this article has some great tips to improve productivity at work for the easily distracted. There is also a benefit of good office design to productivity, find out what here.
3. Take care of your physical body
As driven working professionals, it can be easy to focus on work and neglect your physical needs. Sadly, many event planning companies and other fast-paced industries foster toxic attitudes where employees show off how hard they are working. Forgoing ‘unnecessary’ things like adequate sleep and exercise to clock more and more hours.
This is illogical. A simple way to improve your concentration is a good diet, sleep and exercise make you more mentally alert and productive. A review of the literature from the American Psychological Association proved that even light exercise has cognitive benefits at any age. And lack of sleep hurts your concentration and memory.
Even putting you in danger if you operate machinery or move heavy objects at work, as many event planners do.
This is basic stuff: aim for 8 hours of sleep, eat a balanced diet and get to the gym at least a couple of times a week. With remarkably little effort spent of on self-care you will reap the benefits of improved concentration.
In a similar vein, mindfulness, the buzzword of the moment, is actually a meaningful technique that can help improve your concentration. Mindfulness can help easy daily stresses.
When thinking about how to improve concentration, practicing mindfulness should be at the top of your list. Mindfulness is all about focusing solely on one thing you are doing, controlling your mind to not digress from what are you thinking or doing.
5. Practice Active Listening
Listening is hard and it takes a lot of concentration. But, it’s a great interpersonal skill. The ability to actually really listen and contribute to a conversation is hard.
Next time your boss is telling you something, really listen. Don’t think about your to-do list or other jobs, focus on what they are saying. This will improve your concentration but it will also improve your overall understanding of the business and your tasks.
Jane Sandwood is a professional freelance writer and editor with over 10 years’ experience across many fields. She decided to move into freelancing to take advantage of the flexibility and work-life balance it offers. When Jane isn’t writing, she is busy spending time with her family. She also enjoys music, reading and travelling whenever she can.