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Improve Your Concentration

Published on Jun. 07, 2022

woman stretching in bed in the morning

From time to time, we all struggle with focusing on important tasks. Want the scoop on how to do a concentration tune-up? Read on as Michael Lucido, PhD Clinical Psychologist for Munson Healthcare provides a guide to finding your focus. 

Check-in with your physical health 

Making sure your physical health is in good shape can improve your concentration and overall brain health, in addition to helping you feel better in general.

Follow the guide below for a quick physical health check-in. 

Check Point Ask Yourself:
Monitor your sleep habits Am I consistently getting 8 hours of sleep?
Observe what you’re eating Am I getting enough fruits and vegetables? 
Track your exercise Am I spending about 2 hours per week doing physical activity? 
Build your inner resilience How do I bounce back from stressful situations/days?

Having trouble finding time to focus on your health? Our Wellness Routine Toolkit can help you get started with your own personal wellness journey by assisting you in creating your own daily and weekly routines.

Download the Wellness Routine Toolkit

Find the right environment

Do you prefer complete silence when you have important work to do, or would you rather have music or background noise? Finding an environment conducive to your working style is important. For some,parent and child cross country skiing lighting a candle or tidying up a desk or workspace can help get them in the right mindset to concentrate on important tasks. 

Don’t multitask 

While it may be tempting to try to check off more than one item at a time on your to-do list, experts recommend against multitasking. 

 “Multitasking ruins concentration,” Dr. Lucido explained. “In fact, productivity goes down about 40% when we try to multitask.” 

Rather than attempting to do multiple things at once, focusing your attention on one task at a time helps center your energy in one place, allowing you to fully concentrate and give 100 percent. At first, it can feel challenging to do this, especially with so many distractions in our day-to-day lives, like phone notifications.  

To help hone your focus, Dr. Lucido encourages the practice of mindfulness. 

“Mindfulness involves focusing all of your senses on one particular activity or subject while remaining free of distractions at that moment,” Dr. Lucido said. “You can practice this by listening to a podcast and asking yourself questions about it to exercise your brain to improve your level of concentration for work or school.” 

Take breaks

Taking breaks is essential to improving concentration. While you may feel like plowing through work is the only way to get it done in a timely manner, we are actually more productive when we stop to take quickwoman meditating with headphones on breaks. Moving your body, meditating, and focusing on breathing are all great ways to give your brain and body respite from deep concentration and screen time. Taking several short breaks throughout the day is proven to increase productivity and help you feel less stressed. 

Dr. Lucido recommends using the following strategies during your breaks to feel refreshed and ready to concentrate. 

Guide for a Healthy Break

When you have 5 minutes: When you have 15 minutes: 
Stand up and stretch Go for a walk
Close your eyes and practice diaphragmatic breathing, or taking deep breaths using the diaphragm Practice meditation. If you’re new to meditation, watch this introduction to transcendental meditation
Follow either of these quick meditative breathing videos  Watch or listen to a portion of a funny video or podcast 

Say no

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks on our plate when we take on too much. Sometimes, the best thing we can do for our own health is saying no when our plate gets too full. Reducing the amount of stress and pressure you are under can help you focus on the things you are already responsible for. Dr. Lucido recommends this video to get you started

Ask for help

It’s not always easy to admit when we need help. Learning how to ask for help effectively can make it easier to reach out to someone you trust when you need to.  

Dr. Lucido recommends this video on how to make asks using interpersonal effectiveness.   

Build Your Wellness Routine

If you’re struggling to find enough time in your day to accomplish steps toward all of your priorities, including your physical health and mental wellbeing, consider downloading our Wellness Routine Toolkit. Created by a team of Munson Healthcare professionals, this toolkit helps you organize your priorities, set goals, and create a routine that works for you. 

Take a look at Dr. Lucido’s personal wellness routine for inspiration. 

Download the Wellness Routine Toolkit

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