Ah well, this is going to be one of my usual articles based on personal experience and years of hard work (oh yes, I used to work hard once, now I don’t work at all as I love my job!). However, hard work or life full of enjoyment in a fairy tale; sometimes we all have problems and difficulties… and yet our duties and responsibilities remain the same. That’s when we start finding it difficult to concentrate on what Has to be Done while thinking a certain situation/conversation/disagreement/problem/disaster/end-of-the-world over and over again. As a result, our productivity suffers, nothing gets done, we get depressed and angry and find ourselves in even worse situation due to the fact that we failed to accomplish something that had to be accomplished. We will sit there thinking how cruel life is and how nasty such-and-such turned out to be… and we can’t forget about it! We can’t concentrate on anything else because we are… not happy. Sometimes, however, we may be too happy to think about anything but our happiness and the reason for it, which is not productive either. Alternatively, we can just feel lazy and want to go home and snuggle with a teddy bear in bed. There may be various reasons for the loss of concentration and all of those ‘illnesses’ have to be treated accordingly, but it takes time. It may even take a lot of time, and time is not something most of us usually have in quantities. So, while I am feeling lazy and want to spend my evening reading a fantasy book about dragons, I am still somehow writing this article. Dedication, my friends, dedication. So, how does someone who is unable to concentrate on their work and things that may be a bit boring achieve great results and meet the deadlines with triumph? There are many tips and techniques on the web, I am sure that I haven’t even scraped the surface of various options; but here are a method I usually use in order to get myself back into gear, even when I feel nothing like working.
- Imagine what is going to happen if the workload is not done or is done badly. Scary? Good.
- Set your intention and make sure you are not disturbed and well prepared. A glass of water by your side is your best friend, however coffee or tea will also do the trick.
- Meditate for a few minutes or just take a few very long deep breaths. Get ready.
- Prioritise your work: what is most important, just important and least important. Start with the most important things.
- Give yourself some rest every 25 minutes, just 5 minutes during which you can think about what you are so desperate to think about – new car, naughty child, embarrassing party or a maxed-out credit card. And think about it intensively for the whole 5 minutes.
- Go back to point A – Imagine what is going to happen if you don’t do what is required of you. The worse the better, to get you terrified.
- Make sure you are still well prepared, refill your glass/cup (no alcohol allowed!) and keep doing what needs to be done. If you are struggling, take a couple of deep breaths again.
The main idea is to let yourself rest and think about what is troubling/exciting you so much. Emotions and thoughts cannot be completely left out, so by allowing ourselves to come back to what is so important to us at the moment every 25 minutes has the same effect as feeding your hungry body with tiny portions: you don’t feel as hungry after a few bites and can carry on a bit longer without going crazy. By the time you do start going crazy again, it’s time for the next mini-course of pleasurable thinking. And it gets you through the day, believe me!
On the other hand, if the lack of concentration is something not related to any emotional/situational issues, this method will work but would have to be combined with other techniques to improve the level of concentration on a general basis. Concentrating on various objects for 2-3 minutes is a good way: just look at one object in the room and think of nothing else. Study it, think about it, explore every little detail, but don’t let you attention dwindle. Practising this a couple of time a day should significantly help!
Ok, now my 25 minutes of work have expired – I’m ready for a fresh cup of tea and 5 minutes of creative silly thinking!