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Why do I find it hard to concentrate? How to improve concentration?

What is concentration?

Concentration is an action or ability to focus on one task. People rely on concentration daily as they used it to get throughout the day at work or in school. Therefore, concentration is the main factor that can easily affect your work performance, productivity, and decision-making efficiency.

 

How long can a person concentrate?

Studies in the 1990s, suggest that a person’s maximum concentration is no longer than 90 minutes due to natural variation in our cycle of alertness. A 15 minutes break is needed after 90 minutes of concentration. [2]

 

The average timespan of concentration

An average adult has a maximum attention spend of 20 minutes, conforming to research and study found. [3] However, there are also studies that discover that we spend about 50% of the time daydreaming by some measure. [4] Scientist believed that people who tend to have better focus on finishing their tasks prone to do their daydreaming at times when it does not matter. [5]

 

What can affect your concentration?

A lack of sleep could be the main factor that affects your concentration. Plus, age is also a strand as you will find yourself forgetting stuff or forceful in memorizing something as you get aged.  Brain injuries and certain mental ailments also play a part. [6]

 

Lack of concentration will also lead to [1]

  • Insomnia
  • Irritation
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Epilepsy
  • Dementia

 

Symptoms of lack of concentration

  • Making careless mistakes
  • Difficulties in memorizing stuff
  • Struggling when maintaining attention
  • The inability of making a decision

 

How to improve concentration?

 

Sleep

Although sleeping at least 7 hours a day is important, we should also prioritize the quality of sleep. Good quality of sleep can improve your mood as well as your performance at work. There are some ways to improves your sleeping quality. [6]

  1. Exercise regularly.
  2. Taking a warm bath before asleep.
  3. Turn off all the screens (TV, phone) 30 minutes before sleep.
  4. Keep a cool temperature in your room.
  5. Set up a routine, going to bed at the same time every day.

 

Equipped your brain

Playing games like sudoku, word puzzle, crosswords or even video games could improve attention spend. Studies in 2017 had review that neural correlate video games contain large amount of information, thus, requires great attention for a long period of time. Consequently, playing video games can improve cognitive function and increase attention along with concentration. [10] A journal studying Alzheimer’s disease proves that playing games like word puzzles or sudoku will have a better benefit to the function of brains when they get older. [14]

 

Meditation

More than 23 studies have found out that mindfulness or meditation could improves cognitive ability as per review shown in 2011. [12] Suggest that mindfulness training can improve selective and executive attention as well as enhancing memory capacity during meditation were to be done correctly.

 

Exercising

A fact-finding was done in 2018 on 116 fifth grade students, conclude that exercising 6 minutes per day for 4 weeks can see a significant improvement of students' attention and concentration production.  [11]

 

Caffeine

In keeping with research, a quick dose of caffeine can prolong attention, improves reaction time, concentration, and memory. [8]

 

Music

Playing some instrument such as piano or violin can enhance cognitive functioning and optimizing the ability to concentrate. Thus, increase overall worked satisfaction in consonance with a research study in 2015. [9]

 

Supplement

Memotrex could be one of the brain supplements that aid in improves concentration performance and memory capacity. Memotrex contains KSM-66 Ashwagandha® which is clinically proven to enhance memory and cognitive ability, improving mental focus, and reduce stress. It also contains Bacopa Extract that could help ameliorate memories and attention abilities besides reduce anxiety. It also includes Pine Bark Extract that could refine overall cognitive performance. Lastly, it contains 25mg of Panax Ginseng Extract that could reduce mental fatigue and increase mental energy, in consequence of having fewer chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease. [13]

 

Taking a break

Taking a break from social media. Research conducted 11018 employees across male and female has shown that people who used social media during their office hours tend to have less concentration, causing lower productivity and work performances. [7] Muting your phone or keeping your phone away from you could easily prevent people from being distracted by the phone’s notification.

 

 

References

[1] Nall, R. (2019, September 6). What makes you unable to concentrate? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/unable-to-concentrate.

[2] Ericsson, A. K., Krampe, R. T., & Clemens Tesch-Romer. (1993). Review of The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance. American Psychological Association, Vol. 100. No. 3, 363-406. Retrieved from https://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/blogs/freakonomics/pdf/DeliberatePractice(PsychologicalReview).pdf

[3] Cornish, D. (2009). The essential twenty: TWENTY components of an excellent health care team. Find in a library with WorldCat. https://www.worldcat.org/title/essential-twenty-twenty-components-of-an-excellent-health-care-team/oclc/721335045.

[4] Killingsworth, M. A., & Gilbert, D. T. (2010, November 12). A wandering mind is an unhappy mind. Science. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/330/6006/932.full.  

[5] Golchert, J., Smallwood, J., Jefferies, E., Seli, P., Huntenburg, J. M., Liem, F., Lauckner, M. E., Oligschläger, S., Bernhardt, B. C., Villringer, A., & Margulies, D. S. (2016, November 15). Individual variation in intentionality in the mind-wandering state is reflected in the integration of the default-mode, fronto-parietal, and limbic networks. NeuroImage. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1053811916306425?via%3Dihub.  

[6] Raypole, C. (2019, September 3). How to improve Concentration: 12 SCIENCE-BACKED tips, and more. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/how-to-improve-concentration.  

[7] Andreassen, C. S., Torsheim, T., & Pallesen, S. (2014). Use of online social network sites for personal purposes at work: Does it impair self-reported performance?1. Comprehensive Psychology, 3(1). https://doi.org/10.2466/01.21.cp.3.18  

[8] Williams, C. (2017, September 25). Five ways science can improve your focus. BBC Worklife. https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20170925-the-surprising-tricks-to-help-you-focus-at-work.  

[9] DeLoach, A. G., Carter, J. P., & Braasch, J. (2015). Tuning the cognitive environment: Sound masking with “natural” sounds in open-plan offices. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 137(4), 2291–2291. https://doi.org/10.1121/1.4920363  

[10] Palaus, M., Marron, E. M., Viejo-Sobera, R., & Redolar-Ripoll, D. (2017, May 22). Neural basis of video Gaming: A systematic review. Frontiers in human neuroscience. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5438999/.

[11] Buchele Harris, H., Cortina, K. S., Templin, T., Colabianchi, N., & Chen, W. (2018). Impact of coordinated-bilateral physical activities on attention and concentration in school-aged children. BioMed Research International, 2018, 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/2539748  

[12] Chiesa, A., Calati, R., & Serretti, A. (2011). Does mindfulness training improve cognitive abilities? A systematic review of neuropsychological findings. Clinical Psychology Review, 31(3), 449–464. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2010.11.003  

[13] Cheng, Y. Y. (2020). Memory hack supplement review – memotrex. AUNTIE BEAN PHARMA. https://www.auntiebeanpharma.com/memotrex-memory-brain-energy.  

[14] Khachaturian, PhD, Z. S., & Khachaturian, PhD, A. S. (Eds.). (2021). Alzheimer’s & Dementia® (Vol. 17, Ser. 8). 3/208 (Clinical Neurology).