I work “part-time” (though I pack in a full-time workload into 30 hours+/week). I am taking a particularly intensive graduate level class. I have a 19 month old and an almost 5 year old (who’s birthday is in 5 days and am in the process of planning the party).
I have two stubborn, and shedding, Siberian Huskies. I am in the middle of summer in Maine (who can keep up with all these fairs and festivals, not to mention getting in as much beach time as possible before it gets cold again). I am in charge of the family calendar, making sure everyone gets to where they need to be. I live in a big old house that is in the middle of a renovation that seems like will never be done.
Luckily, I have a very loving and supportive hubby who cooks, and a cleaning lady that comes every other week.
I’ve always taken on a lot. I am one of those people who can juggle many things and still come out with a smile. I’m pretty detail-oriented and have worked a lot on just keeping things simple and setting small goals for myself each day to get things done. I’ve been told that I would be good in an ER (and I would if it weren’t for all the sick people, needles and blood).
Lately, however, I’ve noticed that I’ve been having a hard time concentrating on any one thing. While I may be physically present in one location, I always seem to be thinking of all the other things I need (or want) to do later on. I thought I would do some research online and find some techniques to improve my concentration. (Can you tell I’ve done a few research papers lately?)
Here are 5 FOCUS tips to improved concentration I found from Sam Horn on About.com: Alternative Medicine:
- F = Five More Rule. The premise here is that in order to work through the frustration of getting through a task, just do it five more times. Read five more pages. Work for 5 more minutes. You end up getting your “second mind” (like a second wind, only different) and stretching your attention span to move further
- O = One Think At a Time. Tell your brain that you will think about certain tasks at certain times. For example, “I will think about party games and favors tonight after I put the kids to bed. For the next 30 minutes, I will get through these work emails. ” Alternately, you can make a to-do list. The list gets the tasks out of your head and onto paper, so that your mind doesn’t have to be the holder of the info.
- C = Conquer Procrastination. Ask yourself “Do I have to do this? Do I want it done so it’s not on my mind? Will it be any easier later?” Get yourself into the mental state that tells you if you just get it done now, you won’t have to deal with it (or think about it) anymore.
- U = Use Your Hands as Blinkers. I have to admit that I’m a bit skeptical of this one. The suggestion is to cup your hands around your eyes so that you only focus on the thing in front of you and, literally, blocking out the other things that surround you. (Working in social services, I’m not sure I’d get away with this one at work. They’d probably start diagnosing me.)
- S = See As If For the First or Last Time. When your mind is wandering, stop and really SEE your surroundings. I find I do this more and more when I’m with my kids. There’s really nothing like seeing the world through the eyes of a child. When my mind wanders, they help me bring it back pretty quickly.
So, there it is. They are pretty simple steps that anyone can do. And by writing them down, my mind already feels like it’s gotten the whole “how can I work on concentrating more” task out of the way.