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How to Focus and Concentrate

by Chetna Vasishth


What if you found that three simple tips could help you Concentrate On Studies For Long Hours. And what if I told you that this one activity of being able to Focus will single handedly take you to the path of success

In these days one of the most common frustrations of students is their inability to focus and concentrate on their studies. In fact this is applicable to anything. Most of us are unable to focus and concentrate on our goals in general and at the end of each day, we wonder if we actually accomplished anything.

Let’s see some of the reasons behind our lack of focus and concentration

1. You find studying boring and fall of to sleep
2. You hate studying because the subject is not of your interest
3. You are not used to doing any one thing for a sustained period of time and keep looking at the notifications on your phone every few minutes
4. There is too much to do and you feel pressured
5. There is no incentive, why bother, what difference does it make anyway

Truthfully, most of us have experienced at least one if not more of these symptoms and we feel that is normal. Let me tell you a secret – successful and focused people do not feel any of these things.

And today I will give you three easy tips to help you Focus and Concentrate On Studies For Long Hours and take you on the path of success. I call them the three P’s and at the end of the video you will find three bonus quick tips so keep watching right till the end –

1. Programming / Purpose

Imagine you are travelling in a car along a beautiful mountainous track. What happens if you are sitting on the back seat. Chances are that you will look outside the window for the beautiful scenery at the start, you will also try to keep track of the route, but after some time you’ll either get bored and start checking your phone, fall off to sleep or keep asking the driver ‘ how long is this going to take’.

Now imagine that you are the driver of that car. Even if your phone rings or you feel hungry or thirsty, you will cut out all the distractions and keep focusing on every oncoming vehicle and hair pin bend.

Why such a big difference?

1. In our lives, are we the driver or the passenger?
2. Are we taking charge or just following someone’s direction?
3. Do we take responsibility for what is happening to us or do we blame someone or something else?

This is the first programming change that we need to make – Move into the driver’s seat of our life. Take charge. Our brain is a super power, control it before it rules you. Remember that whatever path your life takes from today, is your responsibility and you can change that path with a clear focus on your dreams and goals. Distraction and direction are inversely proportional. When one goes up, the other comes down.

It is easy if you think about it, just one toggle in the brain. But beware, you will keep falling back in to your old thought process, and that is why I call this Programming. Meantime, each day we need to check, are we in the driver’s seat ? And soon, like everything else, it will become a habit.

Identify your fears, what is stopping us – fear of failure, lack of motivation / interest, lack of knowledge – what is stopping us from becoming the driver of our lives. In tip no. 3 we will tackle some of this.

2. Practice

We are never taught how to concentrate on our studies for long. Parents just tell us – ‘concentrate karo’, but how do I do it. Attention is a muscle and like every other muscle in our body, it requires training. Concentration is a cultivated habit and I will teach you how to develop it through practice.

Malcolm Gladwell said that if we practice something for 10,000 hours we become great at it. But if we look at our entire day, what are we practicing for 15/16 hours ? We keep checking our phone all the time, we keep browsing without any reason – we are practicing distraction and becoming excellent at it.

So here’s what I want you to do –

1. Today, take out a 10-minute slot where you can be alone in a comfortable space without any distraction. It is only 10 minutes so you can do it easily.
2. Finish all your eating and drinking before hand
3. Keep your phone and laptop outside the room, preferably on silent
4. Since this is your first session, let’s start with your favourite subject. Take one text book, one notebook, a few pens and also keep one extra sheet of paper on the side, which will be your distraction list.
5. Take a timer or clock with you (but not your mobile phone)
6. Once you are ready, go inside this room, sit comfortably on your chair and table, keep your books near you, the distraction list on the side, and switch on the timer.
7. Read the chapter actively, read aloud, make notes if you want, highlight, underline, even close the book and try to recollect the information in your own words. Ask yourself a question and check if you can answer it.
8. Don’t get ambitious on quantity, don’t try to finish the entire chapter in 10 minutes. Just focus on being able to concentrate for 10 minutes.
9. Now, you will find that a number of distracting thoughts enter your mind – you need to reply to a message, you need to call someone, you need to remind your friend to do something etc… Just write these thoughts down on the distraction sheet and keep studying.
10. At the end of 10 minutes, close your books and come out of the room

How do you feel? Was it difficult?

Like all exercise, the first day always feels a bit strange and unusual. But you will also find that what you studied in these 10 minutes as as deep as what you may have accomplished in a full hour otherwise.

Gradually, increase the number of such slots. Don’t be in a hurry to increase the duration so soon. Just take more frequent 10 minute slots for the first few weeks. Over time you will find yourself being able to concentrate deeply on your work for even upto 45 minutes at a time.

The only rule here is that the moment you get distracting thoughts, write them down. And if you lose concentration, shut your books and come out of the room. do not be tempted to bring your phone with you into the space at all. Always keep the phone outside everytime you enter this sacred space.

To keep the mind sharp and focused, work on your body –
1. Diet and hydration – eat healthy food and drink lots of water. No junk food or excess sugar which makes us sleepy
2. Sleep – Sleep is brain food. I know many of you feel that you can manage with less sleep, but what if I told you that this is the easiest way to sharpen your focus and concentration – a good night’s sound sleep for 7.5 hours a day.
3. Exercise – the brain requires oxygen which the blood brings to it. So a healthy blood flow is great for the brain to function effectively

There’s one more easy way to keep your mind sharp and focused all the time. It is to cultivate the habit of being present in the small things. Some people call it meditation, some call it mindfulness. But don’t let the big words scare you. All it means is that when you are talking to your friend, keep the phone away and when you are eating your food, don’t watch TV or talk to anyone.

Learn to focus on the now, on the single task that you are doing. Multi tasking is like a driver who is checking his phone and eating a sandwich while making a sharp hair pin bend on the mountains.
When you learn to be focused on the small things in life, this attitude will carry with you in high pressure situations like your final exam.

3. Passion

This too can be cultivated and here are some ideas how you can do it

1. Don’t start reading a new topic straight away from a text book – textbooks are not thrillers, they are boring. Before we open that, how about we get a higher level perspective of the topic we are about to study. How about we watch a Khan academy or Nat Geo video on the topic, it could be a podcast that sparks your interest or even a discussion with someone who practices in the field. Getting an interesting overview always makes reading the text book both easier as well as more engaging.
2. Give yourself small rewards. At the end of every study session make that phone call to a friend that you were holding off. Or go out to play football for sometime, even allow yourself a small treat if that is what motivates you.
3. Change your study techniques each time to keep the variety and interest. We have some videos on study tips which will help you

And finally the 3 Bonus tips

1. Focus on fewer things –

We all know about categorising goals into A, B and C. And of course everyone will tell you that do the A first, the B later and the C if you have time. But Warren buffet says that we should only focus on the A and never never look at the B and C – they are the distractors. Bill Gates says that he finds it easy to focus since he has very limited goals.

2. Write your goal clearly –

guess what! half the reason we can’t focus on the goal is because it is not written clearly. Spell it out, even announce it to your friends and family so it becomes legit, and read it once a day.

3. Start saying No –

even if the idea sounds very exciting. Learn to say ‘ I will think it over’. Focus as a word means to be narrow – don’t take too many decisions, or pursue too many different interests or try to please too many people. Choose your battles and focus on them deeply, and success will follow you.

So that’s all from me

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1 comment

Sudhir Bokil July 13, 2019 - 4:35 pm

Very nice video! Very smooth presentation! I like it.

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