If concentrating is difficult for you, work or school can be a real challenge. We’re constantly surrounded by people and situations that need our full attention, and when we can’t offer that, because we’re easily distracted or have difficulty focusing, we may have trouble meeting the requirements for our classes or jobs.
Fortunately, focus is something that can be improved with practice, and while it may take time, and a lot of patience, you will find that you can improve your focus, concentrate better, and accomplish what you need to, without getting distracted so easily.
The first technique is like one used in Zen meditation, and consists of merely reminding your mind to come back. Pick a phrase, like “Here,” “I’m back,” “Return,” or “Here and now.” When you notice that your mind has wandered, repeat your key phrase and return your mind to the present situation. You may need to remind your mind repeatedly to return, but eventually it will begin to remember on its own and you will focus better.
Another technique is similar to what a cat does when it gets bored. Have you ever started playing with a cat by dangling a string in front of her face? At first she was fascinated, but eventually she yawned and went back to cleaning her paw. You were still dangling the string, but she just wasn’t interested anymore. You can train your mind to do this. What you really want to do is convince your mind not to look at the string in the first place; you can see this in cats who are bored with their toys. You want your mind to get bored with distractions and pay attention on its own.
If you are in class or a meeting, take lots of notes. You may never look at those notes again, but if you are writing, your mind is following what the speaker is saying, and it can’t wander if it’s busy. Keep your hand moving, and just take notes. You will be amazed how much you hear when you’re writing, rather than watching the speaker. Your mind just focuses more.
By using these techniques, you should find that your concentration increases, maybe slowly, but consistently, and within a few weeks you will notice a marked improvement.