How to Increase Focus and Concentration

How to Increase Focus and Concentration


If you want to achieve something in life, or if you have a big dream that keeps you awake at night, then this blog is for you. Whether a student or a working professional, you need to increase focus and concentration in every aspect of your life. Concentration is necessary, whether you have to work long hours or create something new.

Like most of us, Joanna Jast also struggled with poor focus and concentration as a medical student. She found it difficult to concentrate on her studies. But one day, she decided enough was enough and she would improve her focus. Over the next few years, Joanna did some research and discovered some techniques that would help her transform from an average student to a smart and focused student.

increase focus and concentration
Credits: Amazon Laser-Sharp Focus

Today, let’s dive deep into the ‘8 rules’ that Joanna shared in her famous book Laser-Sharp Focus: A No-Fluff Guide to Increase Concentration.  This book is for students, freelancers, entrepreneurs (or aspiring entrepreneurs), employees, or someone who wants to increase focus and maintain this concentration for longer periods.

According to the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Chicago Medical School, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, North Chicago, Illinois, the average adult’s attention span is 10 minutes for a lecture or presentation and less than 30 minutes when working on a screen.

Social media, television, mobile devices, and gaming equipment are responsible for this distraction. Therefore, Joanna Jast decided to assist students and professionals from around the world in sharpening their focus and concentration, just like she did herself. Let’s learn today some powerful words of encouragement to increase focus and concentration from her book.

What is Focus and How Does it Work?

Joanna emphasizes the need to understand first what ‘Focus’ is and how it exactly works. Words like attention, focus, and concentration are commonly heard. You need to focus on the task in front of you. You are motivated to do it, but you can’t focus.

It is like that, you are giving your best, but things are not progressing.

You can’t fix things if you don’t sharpen your focus.

Focus is a process that consists of multiple levels.

It helps us to learn, improve, and evolve.

Here, Joanna Jast says, all of us have weaknesses at a different level. That’s why there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution to everyone’s problem.

Hence, you should identify your core issue, which affects your focus the most, or the thing that is your biggest weakness. Only then will you be able to fix it and improve your focus.

This is your first assignment, and your task is to determine this.

Why can’t you focus?

Our attention gets disturbed by any such activity happening around us, which causes us to feel some kind of threat in our brains.

Attention disturbance is when we are unable to focus on a task for more than 10 minutes due to some reason or when we repeatedly get distracted on our own. Our intentional attention gets disturbed due to the effects of our Environment Zone, Body Zone, and Mind Zone.

  • Environment Zone: The environment zone is influenced by various factors that are happening around us. These factors include external weather conditions, temperature, etc.
  • Body Zone: On the other hand, the body zone is about the current state of our body. It includes things like being sick, insufficient physical activity, Poor eating habits, or being in an uncomfortable position. Some physical conditions such as Hunger, Fatigue, tiredness, or other lifestyle-related issues can also disrupt our focus.
  • Mind Zone: Furthermore, our mind zone is about your thoughts and feelings. It can be disrupted by stress, anxiety, Insufficient sleep, or overthinking. some conditions like recovering from major financial loss or the loss of a loved one can easily disturb our focus.

It is crucial to analyze which of these three zones is causing a lack of focus for you.

8 Rules to Increase Focus and Concentration:

1) Prepare your Distraction Log and their respective Solutions:

Joanna recommends using a ‘Distraction Log’ as the first rule to increase focus and concentration. In this case, the term ‘Distraction Log’ is used to describe a record of when and where you lose your focus due to disruptions in different zones of activity.

Take a moment to sit quietly and think carefully to create your Distraction Log chart. On one side, write down the reasons for your distractions in the Environment Zone, Body Zone, and Mind Zone. On the other side, draw their corresponding solutions.

Rule 1. Write your own ‘Distraction Log’ on a regular chart.

Learn to create a Distraction Log for better focus.

increase focus and concentration

2) Build an environment that Facilitates your focus:

To concentrate, you need a suitable environment where there are no distractions. Every activity needs a different setup. Your mood or comfort is directly affected by what’s going on around you. You can’t focus on work if there’s a row, confusion, or conflict. That’s why it’s important to have a space that’s conducive to concentration, where no disturbing factors are present, so that your environment, your body, and your mind zones are not affected.

It’s a myth that you need extra room for work or studies. If you have an extra room, it’s a good thing. It is a fact that some people cannot focus even if they have a separate room. And it is also a sad fact that most of us can’t afford an extra room, so should we give up? No.

If you have extra space, then create your focus zone there. If you don’t have one, you should pick a time when people are not around or there are fewer distractions to increase focus and concentration.

Rule 2. Joanna suggests that our space should always be ‘Ergonomic’.

It’s about making your space as efficient and effective as possible. We need to keep essential things within arm’s reach. The chair, table, pen, paper, and laptop should all be in a comfortable position. This way, our body won’t be stressed, and we can maintain our focus.

3) Get more sleep, nutrition, and Mindfulness:

We often think that we can’t concentrate because of issues in our brains.

But, according to Joanna, “In many cases, the reason is not our mind but our body. Our body needs to be in good condition. We need to have no body pain, no body injury, no back pain, no headache, and wearing Uncomfortable clothing, etc. Anything that causes injury or fatigue in the body directly or indirectly affects other areas as well, which can lead to a lack of focus.”

There are other factors as well that physically affect our body. For example, low light in a room can put stress on your eyes, or a room that is too hot or too cold can affect your concentration.

In addition to this, it is equally important to have proper sleep, maintain a healthy diet, and exercise are also important to keep our bodies stress-free and our energy levels stable so that we can increase focus and concentration.

Yoga is good for your consciousness. Mindfulness activities can strengthen Mental Fitness and also help you to use more of your brain.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends the following ways to practice mindfulness:

      • Take some deep breaths
      • Too much thinking about the future or worrying about past mistakes is useless.
      • Focus on the present moment only.
      • Find mindfulness resources

Rule 3: There are a variety of apps available to help you focus on sleep, nutrition, and Mindfulness activities.

You may have been neglecting these important aspects of your life until now, but take the time to fix it and your Focus and concentration will increase automatically.

4) Take Regular Short Breaks:

When you work for a long time, your focus starts to die. It becomes quite difficult for you to concentrate again. In this case, you should take a short break every 40-45 minutes.

We can listen to Brain Harmonics or Binaural Beats. Alternatively, we can set limited goals for a day.

Taking care of your mind is as important as taking care of your body. Any kind of stress in the mind can easily disturb your focus.

Rule 4: It is essential to rest the mind in between tasks.

During breaks, we should engage in light activities such as lounging in the room or doing gentle body stretching. It is important not to engage in any activity related to strong emotions, such as arguing or talking to someone who is in a bad mood. This can also affect our minds. You can also prepare some snacks or some tea/coffee during your break.

5) Divide your monthly goals into subgoals:

You may have often heard that we should read good books, attend motivational lectures, or take a course to stay motivated. But the truth is, we can’t stay motivated all the time. No one can stay motivated 24 hours a day. This is because our emotions constantly change; sometimes we feel sad and stressed, and sometimes we feel happy or enthusiastic.

However, if you know the tricks, your emotions will never disturb your focus. If you want to work, this strong mindset in itself is a special motivation.

For example, if you divide your monthly goals into subgoals according to each day and check them weekly, your mind will become stress-free, and you can increase focus and concentration on your goal.

Rule 5: It is better to make a list of your goals, tasks, and responsibilities instead of searching for motivation everywhere.

For example, if your goal is to read one book in a month, decide how many pages you will read in a day. Because compared to reading the entire book, reading a few pages daily will be less stressful. And the less stress there is, the more focus there will be.

6) Avoid multitasking:

Multi-tasking sounds good only when you hear the word. The reality is that it requires constantly switching from one task to another, which reduces focus and affects productivity.

Here Joanna says, that listening to your favorite podcast while working is a distracting form of multitasking. Or sending emails while talking on the phone, or preparing a report. All of these affect both your productivity and quality.

Rule 6: Focus on one task at a time.

7) Manage Energy, Not Time:

It is a common belief that time is a valuable resource and once time is gone, it never comes back. Many people do not know how to manage time, but they understand the value of time. Some good stresses motivate us to finish tasks on time. But when that stress turns from good stress to bad stress, completing tasks becomes challenging.

Our energy levels are not the same every day. It is nearly impossible for most of us to spend 80% to 90% of our time just doing tasks. In such a situation, you should focus more on managing your energy than your tasks.

Rule 7: Understand your energy level.

Here Joanna Jast says, “Look, the day will go on as normal, but your energy level keeps fluctuating. So, you need to see when your energy level is the highest and at that time, you should do the tasks that require the most energy from you. When your energy is low, do the tasks that require the least energy.”

8) Create a System That Works Every Time:

If you’ve been reading this blog, then you must have understood by now that Juanna Jast does not just talk superficially, but she provides practical and deep knowledge.

In the end, Joanna says, “In today’s fast-paced life, you may come across short tricks easily, which may seem very effective for a while, but goals and tasks are never temporary. Our entire life is tied to a chain of goals. Therefore, everyone should develop the habit of long-term goal-setting and create a system.

Atomic Habits
Credits: Amazon Atomic Habits

American Author James Clear also emphasizes this point in his book ‘Atomic Habits, stating that “Our focus should be on developing systems rather than developing habits or goals. By doing so, our habits and goals will be supported, and everything else will fall into place automatically.”

According to experts, ‘Atomic Habits’ is the most influential and effective book on habits. In his best-seller book, James recommends an Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones.

Further James says, “If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. It’s your system. Bad habits don’t just go away because you’re lazy and don’t want to change your habits.

Rule 8: Your success isn’t based on your goals, it’s based on how effective your systems are.”

Similar Read:

4 Proven Strategies to Motivate Students for Sucess

Powerful Words of Encouragement for Students

How Can We Use More of Our Brain: 5 Techniques

How to Transform Yourself in 21 Days: Monk Mode

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