Cultivating Concentration

With a full-time job, a small business, a friendship group of individuals determined to be married by the end of the year and an ongoing attempt to buy a flat – time is more scare than ever.

What’s more – the spare time I do get is usually spent in a blind panic as I consider all the things that I should be doing. Very often, wracked with an inability to pick one thing to do – I do nothing at all.

I wanted to find out more about how this skill can be developed:

1) Scott Scheper has written a book called ‘How to Get Focused’ which is a clear manifesto for settling down to work and ridding yourself of distraction. His website has some great information about the science behind concentration which explains that, rather than being a quality you are born with – concentration is indeed something you can cultivate. Scott provides some great practical suggestions for managing distractions and some valuable problem solving tactics.

2) I suspect my concentration suffers when I give into my sugar cravings and eat unhealthily. There are many available articles on brain foods such as this one by Mike Barrett of The Natural Society listing spinach; fish; carrots and dark chocolate as items to include in your diet to aid poor concentration.

3) As someone who has long been appreciative of the many benefits of yoga, I am aware that a quiet mind can be created with a really good practice. Esther Eckhart has created this quick routine for Eckhart Yoga which will allow you to empty your mind from distraction, giving you a still, blank canvas for any task you need to achieve. Exercise releases endorphins which will give your brain a lift, allowing you to come back to your tasks refreshed, and ready to be productive.

I also find that sometimes putting ‘thinking’ on ice, and simply ‘doing’ for a while provides an anchor to whatever task you are trying to achieve. Rather than obsessing on getting everything perfect – just getting something done can give you something to get your teeth into; leading to great results.

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