Studies show that the main reason that we can’t memorize things is a lack of concentration. Being able to filter out the redundant information is a secret to a sharp memory. If your brain’s ‘spam filter’ doesn’t work as well as it should, the good news is that this is fixable. Try the following simple exercise and improve your concentration skills. If you practice it every day, you will see great results in just a few weeks!

To do it, you will need a hand watch and 10 minutes of your time.

1. When watching TV, put a watch in front of you. Try to keep your attention on the second hand for two minutes. Don’t let your attention slip to the TV!

2. Now, let’s make our exercise a little more difficult. Focus one part of your attention on the motion of the second hand, and the rest of it – on your hands. It’s like dividing your attention into two equal parts. Stay concentrated for two minutes.

3. Follow the minute hand and at the same time, mentally list the numbers at intervals of three: 1, 4, 7, 10, 13 … to 60 and back. If you lose concentration and your mind starts wandering and thinking about irrelevant things, start over again. Try to hold your attention for at least two minutes.

4. Here, our exercise gets really tough! But after all, challenges are what helps you improve. Concentrate one-third of your attention on the motion of the second hand. Devote another one-third to a mental recitation of a rhyme or a song. Use the remaining one-third of your attention on the numbers.

In the beginning, you will most likely struggle to succeed in this part of the exercise as the art of divided attention requires a lot of practice and effort. However, if you devote just 10 minutes of your time every day to this exercise, you will soon notice a striking difference in your ability to concentrate.

Further Tips to Improve Your Concentration

The tips below will help you make the most of your ability to concentrate and help your brain work more effectively.

1. Observe yourself

Low concentration comes from different sources and varies from person to person. Maybe you have troubles with perceiving information audibly and prefer to read it instead. Someone else, on the contrary, may struggle with reading long texts. Finally, some people may find working in busy and noisy environments the most exhausting thing in the world. So the secret to improving your concentration starts with identifying your triggers.

Take a few days to observe yourself and carefully analyze your own behavior and responses to tasks. The goal is to find at what moments and under what circumstances you find it particularly difficult to concentrate on learning or performing a specific task.

2. Do only one thing at once

Many people are able to do several things at the same time: working with some documentation, browsing the Internet, and talking on the phone. However, no matter how good you think you are at multitasking, be sure that at least one thing won’t be done properly. The brain struggles with performing diverse and complex tasks simultaneously. You can significantly improve your concentration ability by focusing on one thing at a time.

3. Listen to your body

Observe yourself and find out at what time of the day you feel better and your body and mind are the most active and receptive to work. During the day, your body goes through several phases of activity, and your productivity and cognitive functions can be quite different at each. For example, if you are a night owl and feel more productive in the evening, use this time for reading and studying.

Anna LeMind, B.A.

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the power of misfits

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