What things do you do to help you stay concentrated?

26 replies
Sometimes when I'm writing an article, I'll have a thousand thoughts going in my mind at once. Some thoughts cause more emotions than others, but have nothing to do with what I'm writing about and will pull me into different directions.

I'll have situations when I'm staring in front of a blank document for 40 minutes without writing anything. Then suddenly an amazing thing happens. I get like a light bulb moment which causes me to become concentrated and I finish a decently written article within 20 minutes! However, an hour has already passed by...

What kind of things do you to help you stay more concentrated, or do you consider yourself a person that can just concentrate naturally?
#concentrated #stay #things
  • Profile picture of the author Jack Chua
    Nope, I can't concentrate naturally. That is one of the things that I want to improve. What I do is I first set the things to do and organize my day's schedule and provide a time frame for each task. I also clear my working area from unnecessary things so as not to distract me plus a clean table gives me a sense of inspiration.
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    • Profile picture of the author WendellC
      Tristan -


      I think concentration is a kind of habit or skill that can certainly be developed.

      When I was younger and just out of school I got a job as a computer programmer. Back then I could spend hours and hours staring at code. I used to even dream about it. (Actually, I solved many programming problems that way.) I would work on fairly large programming projects that took 6 or 9 months to develop.

      As I got older I did less programming and did more broad-picture work -- project management, business processes, strategy, etc.

      I found that over time I kind of loss my ability to concentrate for long periods of time at the minute detailed level. I was better at big picture stuff now and could only think of things in the broad scope. Detailed level work really bored me. It was almost like I developed my own attention deficit disorder.

      So I think in order to re-develop concentration skills you have to put yourself in those types of situations. Do more detailed work like maybe model-making or something to do with number crunching. Even gourmet cooking is very detailed oriented.

      I think those types of mental exercises and projects can help to get your brain -- and attitude -- back into a more focused state.

      Just my thoughts...


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  • Profile picture of the author Sandic
    When I can't concentrate...I take a break or go onto something else. If an article idea comes to me I jot down what is in my mind....if it says keep writing I do. If it's just jotted notes that's OK too.....it will become an article one day.
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    • Profile picture of the author edmltw
      Quoting a few famous people (left out their names because i do not know who is it from)

      "There is nothing so disobedient as an undisciplined mind, and there is nothing so obedient as a disciplined mind."

      "It doesn't matter what you're trying to accomplish. It's all a matter of discipline."

      "Self-discipline is a form of freedom. Freedom from laziness and lethargy, freedom from the expectations and demands of others, freedom from weakness and fear--and doubt. He is master of, rather than a slave to, his thoughts and emotions."

      "There are no short cuts to any place worth going."

      There are more but i will not post it here, cause too many cooks might spoil the broth. Hope you get motivated by those quotes!


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  • Profile picture of the author Sandic
    Good quotes Edmund.

    Also making a schedule and sticking to it helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author katiec
    I'm a person who needs music playing in the background, and preferably music I'm familiar with. If it's something new, or a random playlist it becomes too distracting.

    Since I also work from home, it's always much harder to concentrate when there are things going on and a dog to feed. I like to go to local coffee shops and caffeinate, while doing work. If I make the effort to go somewhere to do work, I'm more likely to do it than I am in my Pajamas watching TV.

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  • Profile picture of the author green1
    I can recommend an excellent book on the subject: 'Concentration; a practical course' by Ernest Wood. You can buy it for a few dollars online (Amazon, Half.com, et. al.)
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  • Profile picture of the author Drew_MX
    I said in another post- Meditation is extended periods of concentration. Practice more and your focus improves
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  • Profile picture of the author Tristan Lee
    Nice input guys. One of the problems I'm trying to conquer is having conflicting ideas or thoughts. I'll have an idea at hand, then when I actually sit down and write, it's hard to transition and concentrate on another idea. I think like WendellC said, it is a skill that can be developed and requires habit. Also, from Drew_MX, meditation seems like something that might calm down the mind and help you stay more concentrated as well.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kenster
    Have a seperate computer for work and for pleasure and they are in different rooms.

    Stick to a very rigorous schedule that is planned out the night before...this helps a ton!
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  • Profile picture of the author lena111
    I always do mindmapping and follow it. It increases concentration to think and store the memory in a document and later put the mindmap file in my startup.
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  • Profile picture of the author kevinpotts
    I think most people would agree with you saying they also have a hard time concentrating when a subject comes to their minds and, when inlightning comes, it's hard to say all you want to say in just one or two pages.

    Have you tried letting your self go and don't think too much!

    You can start by doing an outline on the subjects or things you want to talk about in your article. After that divide it in how many paragrphs your article will have an use one of your ideas (at least the best ones) with each paragraph that the document will have.

    It might help you stay focus on the matter your trying to aproach.

    Hope it helps.

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  • Profile picture of the author frelo
    I try working in chunks, shorter periods. Decide for myself to do really nothing else than the writing ( or coding ) for the next 30 minutes with a watch in front of me. I find it easier to get rid of distraction if you know you only have to focus for a short period of time. For example, I can hold of checking the mail for 30 minutes, no problem.... After the chunk so what you want for 5 minutes and then a new work period with a clear goal.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bright Wings
    Hi Tristan,

    What works for me in this situation is to write to a specific person. I think about who I know, who could use the information I'm about to write. And then I focus on what I can say that will help that person understand the content, and be as interested as possible in it.

    When I am "writing to the person" I put more of myself into it, and the concentration issue doesn't really come up then. It's like when you are worrying about all your own problems, one of the first things they tell you is to go help someone else for a while; it takes your mind to a different place.

    Try that and see if it helps :-)

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  • Profile picture of the author GarryMSayer
    My take on this is that anybody working from home with their own business needs to get into the mindset they had when they worked for a manager.

    I mean can you imagine your manager's fury if they gave you a really important task, they knew normally takes 15 minutes to complete, and they walked in your office just under an hour later only to find you hadn't completed this task?

    Chances are they wouldn't be happy and depending on the manager would let you know about it there and then, or later in the day when the mood took them when all you wanted to do was go home! Either way it's a huge ball-ache, earache, pass in the ass - call it what you will!

    Now, are you the kind of person who is driven to get things done by :

    -->> the fear of punishment for failure


    -->> the pleasure / reward gained by completion

    Whatever camp you are in the majority of the time, think back to what actually prompted, urged, encouraged or motivated you to work quicker and get tasks done?

    If it's a task you really do not want to do then my advice is to get it done first before you do anything else. Even if it takes half of your working day or longer. The sense of sheer relief and satisfaction you will feel on completion overrides all the negative feelings and thoughts you felt leading up to and working on this task.
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  • Profile picture of the author GarryMSayer
    Originally Posted by Nathan Segal View Post

    Unsubscribe from as many lists as possible. Those I don't unsubscribe from, I set filters so some email messages are diverted and I can read them at my leisure.
    Yeah that's a great point, also if you must have an internet browser open, make sure it's just one browser with one tab, and it's relative to what you're actually working on at that precise moment in time.
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  • Profile picture of the author abdoue
    hi dude here some advises Idid it to help me to concentrate in my worke

    1. Get Your Rest. It might seem obvious, but the biggest factor affecting concentration is rest. If you aren't well rested your mind will be scattered and lethargic. Avoid this by making sure you get the right amount of sleep at the right time. Set a regular bed time for yourself and use an evening routine to wind down so you don't have trouble sleeping.
    It's also important not to sleep too much. Oversleeping disrupts your natural rhythm and leads to grogginess. Avoid this by having a set wake up time. If you have to choose, I've found that it's better to get a little less sleep than too much. If you end up tired, your body will compensate by helping you get to sleep earlier the following night.
    2. Make a Plan. When you sit down to work without a plan, it's easy to get caught up in crutch activities like checking email and browsing the web. Without a purpose, your mind will be pulled in several different directions. Instead of devoting all your attention to one important task, you'll find yourself distracted by a variety of nagging thoughts.
    To avoid this, make a clear plan of action beforehand. If you need to check email, resolve to fire through it as quickly as possible, then close your inbox and move on to your most important task. I like to use a morning run or walk to form my action plan for the day, but another great time to do it is the night before. By making a plan, you decide where your mental energy is allocated instead of allowing to be dispersed randomly.
    3. Eat Light and Healthy. Nothing slows down the mind and body like a big greasy meal. Overeating puts a huge load of digestion on the body, sapping strength from the mind. Maximize your ability to concentrate by eating light and healthy meals. As Thomas Jefferson said, we rarely regret eating too little. It's likely you'll find that you need less food to satisfy you than you think. If you run out of energy, keep some healthy snacks on hand to give yourself a quick boost.
    4. Exercise. The body has pent up energy that needs to be used. If you don't exercise regularly, this energy can manifest itself in the form of a distracted mind. The best way to improve your concentration all day long is by exercising first thing in the morning. This will clear your head, give you a chance to reflect on the day ahead, and allow your body to sweat out impurities. Afterwards you'll feel rejuventated, cleansed, and ready to take on tough problems.
    5. Take Breaks and Mix Up Your Environment. Stagnation and fatigue are other factors that can negatively affect concentration. When you've been working too long in the same place, you start to get stir crazy and lose focus. The best remedy for this is taking breaks and switching up your work environment. When you find yourself losing focus, get up and take a walk. This will get your heart rate up, increase your alertness, and give your mind a chance to work on the problem internally.
    It can also be helpful to work in different places. Instead of being chained to your desk all day, make a point of moving around. In a typical day I might spend time working in my apartment, the local library, and at a nearby coffee shop. Each time I move to a new location the change in scenery refreshes me and increases my motivation to work.

    thanks I hope it will help you and sure it will if you realy follow it
    sence me I found it useful

    best wishes,
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  • Profile picture of the author George Katsoudas
    I'm not a naturally gifted person, as far as focus goes. I do use all the above tips posted by abdoue.

    And here are some extra ones:

    - Put your cell-phone in silent mode

    - Ban some of the time-wasting sites in your .hosts file so you can't just visit them impulsively and waste 3 hours there. If you use Firefox, you can also use addons like Blocksite and Leechblock.

    - Make sure that the area you work in is tidy. Disorganized working space = many distractions.

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    • Profile picture of the author Tristan Lee
      Hey Nancy, that's a wonderful way to solve concentration that you pointed out - write like your writing to somebody you know and you won't have to concentrate so much.

      I also like Gary's method of pretending that there is a manager watching over you. Some people are motivated by fear and some people are motivated by rewards.

      Abdoue also added some important pointers we often overlook to help us with concentrating in our daily tasks such as getting proper sleep, eating right, and exercising.

      Everybody has a different way of concentrating so I'm glad people are sharing what works best for them.
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      • Profile picture of the author MattRobson
        The lifehacker series "Upgrade Your Life" has a lot of practical ways you can organize your computer, to-do lists, and organizing your other stuff, and mindsets.

        I'm using a number of these, such as Leechblock site-blocker add-on for Firefox. And, Chatterblocker, a white-noise program.
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  • Profile picture of the author netalab
    A music playinin the background helps to be more focused!
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  • Profile picture of the author Rich Lowe

    I think for me what helps me to concentrate is just thinking about the end result and why we are doing what we do.

    When those thoughts come into my mind which try to distract me I just observe the thought for a bit and don't try to get into any reasoning with it.

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  • Profile picture of the author Tristan Lee
    You know whats weird though? You know how our brains we can only think of a few things at once. So it's like when you say, "I will concentrate on doing math problems." We're not really concentrating on the math problems themselves, but really concentrating on thinking to do the math problems.

    I think a lot people get stuck in this trap. They have a plan in their heads, but they are just concentrating on that plan because it gives them a good feeling, but when they start to really concentrate on doing their plan, they get stuck and eventually want to quit, procrastinate, cancel the plan, make a new plan, and so on and so forth.
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  • Profile picture of the author GrantFreeman
    We can only "concentrate" on one thing at a time, really. With all the things to do, the options we have, the websites to build, the graphics to create, and the backlinks to make, it's damn hard to find time to even eat lunch.

    I didn't mention all the other stuff outside of Internet Marketing that we must think about, or everything goes to the crapper. With all those things to think about, in a fast-paced society as the one we live in, you can't blame yourself.

    I recently discovered that I have anxiety disorder. Don't ask me what kind or which one, because my new discovery is only a few days old.

    Just realizing this and accepting it, is the first road to getting things like concentrating better- handled. So hard to just focus on one thing. But..

    One thing that has helped me a lot already, is just repeating to myself "slow down your thoughts" over and over. Did that for a few minutes this morning and was amazed at how well that worked to just calm down and keep all these product ideas from jumping around in my head.

    Our brains are designed to give us what we focus on, so that technique makes sense, and it works for me.


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  • Profile picture of the author cka233
    Another way on how to dramatically improve your concentration and focus is by keeping your mind stimulated. Sitting in front of the television doesn't count (the television isn't called the boob tube for nothing). Instead, pick your mind by solving crossword puzzles and other forms of brain challenges.

    If you're the type of person who does the same thing over and over again, then that's all the more reason for you to exercise your mind. Make solving puzzles a part of your everyday life and you're bound to see an increase in your concentration after your first week!
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