Concentration is the ability to keep one’s mind steadily on a subject for a given period of time. The good news is that, it can be learnt and consistently improved over time. The followings tips will help you do just that.
Free yourself from all emotional worries or crisis: Either do something about it or decide what to do about it later. Remember, the world will still be there with its problems and joys while you take time out to study. Free yourself from worries, involvement is key.
Study conditions: Fix a time and if possible a regular place to study which is bright and quiet. Use a straight back chair for alertness.
Visualise: Create pictures in your mind as you read. The visual sense is highly effective in stimulating interest, concentration and improved memory.
Rest your eyes frequently: When you stare for long periods at something, fatigue can set in. Look away from your book, blink hard several times, or press your palms to your eyes to rest them.
Place a value or purpose on your reading, whether it’s grades, or information to be gained. First survey the reading material and form questions from the title and headings. Then read to answer your questions.
Interest: Some subjects will be more interesting to you than others. Expect that interest will surge and subside, its up to you to have an inspiring purpose to keep the focus.
Ask questions as you survey the chapters: This will help develop your curiosity, interest, concentration and motivation. Ask specific and incisive questions of concepts, statements and beyond, perhaps even of your own analysis and inferences.
Read fast: The faster you read, the more you have to attend to the material, leaving less time for distractions or your thoughts to wander. Speed also binds the material closer as you perceive more, and the more you perceive of the whole, the more you will find it meaningful and interesting.
Make brief notes in your own words: Copying passively not only is a waste of time, it also decreases concentration, likewise with underlining. Your own paraphrased notes, are your best bet.
Warm-up: The first 10-20 minutes is often a warm-up period to develop an interest and mood for studying. Don’t be disappointed if you fail to concentrate 100 per cent in the beginning. It often takes some time to get into it. Hang in there! This is when most students give up.
Lapses and fatigue: If your concentration flags during the study period, take short breaks. Stretch, stand, rest your eyes, walk about, drink some water and then resume studying.
R A Nadesan is an executive coach, behavioural and soft skills trainer with a pan India presence. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org