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How to focus: 4 exercises & 9 tips for more concentration

Unpredictable and seemingly invincible: Good focus can bring you a lot of success, both personally and professionally. We have valuable tips and exercises that will increase your focus and prevent concentration problems.

Just when you need it most, our focus dwindles. After a span of 30 to 90 minutes, this process takes on a life of its own, as focusing consistently requires great effort on the part of the human brain.

Why concentration is so important

Why concentration is so important

Once your cognitive capacity is exceeded, you can’t successfully grasp content. You almost automatically look for new stimuli that are less taxing for you. These uncontrollable distraction phases ensure that no productive phase can develop.

But especially before important exams or at work, the ability to concentrate is crucial for your efficiency and thus your success: after all, it prevents procrastination.

Reasons for difficulty in concentrating

You can only work focused for a few minutes and keep distracting yourself even though your work is important right now? There are different reasons for this type of difficulty concentrating.

For example, children are generally less able to concentrate. For adults, difficulty concentrating may come from being frustrated, not particularly motivated, or overworked.

Multitasking, for example, can make you less able to focus on a task. Stress and fatigue are other causes, as are psychological problems. You can, however, learn to maintain your concentration for longer.

But it’s important to pay attention to your body and not overexert yourself when you’re overtired, for example.

Learn more about how to relieve stress in this article.

Exercises for better concentration

To counteract your concentration difficulties, you can consciously use exercises and follow our tips. In this way, you will gradually increase your productivity again.

Color mandalas

Color mandalas for improving focus

The classic coloring mandalas has now become a trend again. Mandalas are no longer just for kids to enjoy. Special, more challenging adult mandalas serve to relax and train concentration skills at the same time.

Similar to a fantasy trip that uplifts the soul, mandalas also free the head and body from mental tangles. These concrete visualizations have a meditative effect, rebalancing your thoughts and boosting your creativity. Thus, they also help with acute concentration difficulties, for example in the middle of a learning marathon.

Motor exercises

Exercise not only boosts brain development in children, it also revives concentration. If your focus is noticeably waning, take a break.

Here, even small motor exercises are enough to revive your cognitive performance. It is often enough to walk around the apartment, change your sitting position or do short fitness exercises.

To start the day focused and to boost your circulation, you can simply take a morning walk. This should be quietly repeated several times a day if you have a persistent lack of concentration.

Breathing exercises and meditation

If your eyes are starting to get tired and your head just doesn’t want to take anything in, consciously controlling your breathing can work wonders. It is best to set aside a fixed period of time, for example ten minutes.

During this time, you simply count instead of letting your thoughts drift back towards stress. One number per breath and the escape from everyday life is guaranteed. This exercise has a very similar function to coloring mandalas.

Alternatively, do regular breathing exercises. In these, you focus fully on your breathing and feel your abdominal wall rise and fall. Each time your mind wanders, let it pass and begin to focus anew.

By the way, this is also how meditation works. It helps you focus better in the long run. You can learn meditation with guidance or venture into Zen meditation

Riddles and other exercises

Brain training for more focus

In order to train yourself to concentrate better, there are also various playful methods. Solving puzzles regularly and successfully conditions your brain to stay focused for a longer period of time. The board games "Mikado" or "Jenga" are also particularly helpful here.

Mental exercises train a conscious focus. For example, you can go through your daily routine again backwards or remember what you have eaten the last few days.

Spelling backwards has the same effect. When you’re out and about, it’s enough to simply follow the second hand on a watch for a longer period of time and count the seconds. Counting steps on your next walk is also a good workout to help you stay focused longer while studying.

Another productive method is concentrated writing. To do this, you can mark or count certain letters in a newspaper article. Writing down words or entire sentences backwards or mirrored is also helpful.

How to improve focus with these tips

Besides our exercises, you can also use very simple tricks to increase your concentration.

The well-being of the body

Of course, here and there should be a candy bar as a reward. In general, however, an optimized basis for concentration can only be created through vitamin-rich nutrition and plenty of fluid intake, which provide the brain with sufficient nutrients and oxygen.

Sugary foods have a fatiguing effect. Nuts, on the other hand, provide the body with important performance-enhancing omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, between six and seven hours of sleep are enough to stay focused. Too much sleep has the opposite effect.

Variation to combat boredom

Variation to combat boredom

Monotonous works also have a tiring effect and bring out lack of concentration even faster. To rob the work of its soporific function, you should bring variety into play.

Vary the topics in school and studies or study for two subjects at the same time. Motivation and thus also focus dwindle as soon as learning becomes robotic and passionless. In an office job, for example, alternate between presentations, writing and telephone work.

Changing locations is invigorating

Although it sounds extremely simple, our surroundings have a significant impact on our ability to concentrate. First and foremost, you should choose a place where you feel comfortable. Bare rooms without decoration or sensual stimulation offer little potential here.

In contrast, working in nature often has a very inspiring effect. Daylight also has an invigorating effect. If you don’t have a direct option for working outside, you can also just change the space. From the study to the living room to the bedroom to the kitchen, balcony or garden should be changed every now and then.

Learn in groups

This approach is certainly not for everyone, but many people are helped by learning in groups. They feel pressured when the others next to them are busy and they themselves do not generate anything productive.

It also allows for shared breaks to look forward to. It is important not to constantly digress from the topic. However, don’t completely abandon questions either, as talking about a topic together often brings out many new ideas. It also helps you retain the material.

Incorporate social contact into any multi-day study session, as it stimulates important regions of your brain that serve to absorb information.

To-do lists free up your mind

To-do lists free up your mind

Fear of forgetting important to-dos that have not been written down causes them to be called to mind again and again throughout the day.

An abundance of important information and deadlines prevents one hundred percent focus on one particular thing.

In order to regain emotional balance, you should write down all appointments, duties and other important thoughts. The best way to do this is to create a to-do list.

Once written down, there is much more peace in your mind. You can use the same trick when stress blocks prevent you from sleeping in.

Set rewards and goals

As we all know, motivation and focus go hand in hand. To boost your motivation, it’s important to set specific goals and reward yourself after completing the goal.

Activities where you exercise to balance yourself out are helpful. Fixed dates with friends or good food outside provide a delightful incentive for most people.

Even if you would prefer to go straight to sleep, you should still experience something on a day full of concentration. In this way, one can prevent several days of loneliness and permanent fatigue, which often culminate in a kind of "learning depression" and permanently impair the ability to concentrate.

Avoid excessive demands: set small goals

Small goals and short breaks are more effective than powering through for hours and the inevitable exhaustion break. Not only does this keep your concentration level constant, you’ll also experience relief and feelings of happiness every time you get a small step closer to your big goal without losing track of it.

Refrain from multitasking

Refrain from multitasking

Multitasking is poison for consistent focus. When concentration is required, you should not eat, listen to music, or think about the next activity in that situation.

You should not abruptly stop important topics that need to be learned. This is the only way to find a mental closure and not mix different topics.

Hands off the smartphone

The cell phone should be part of the reward phases and during the concentration phases either be set to "silent" or not be in the same room. Constant accessibility and curiosity encourage stress and prevent your mind from really staying on one thing at a time.

You don’t have to give up your smartphone completely, however, you should only use it at designated times.

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