Attention is our mind’s capability to put forth its energy and consciousness on a task or work. You must have experienced that when you lack attention or have trouble concentrating, you tend to commit more errors. As a result, disappointment and discontent arise in you. Nearly everything that you do requires your focus, from brushing your teeth to solving a math problem, from doodling to doing programming and coding. All these tasks require you to focus on the activity.
However, the amount of attention you need might differ. For instance, you don’t need a lot of attention to brush your teeth, but you will need to cultivate a major focus when you are coding. The main problem arises when you can’t concentrate even when you want to and there is a need. You get trouble concentrating even while doing an important task.
If you also face trouble focusing on a task e.g. doing your homework, solving a question, or reading a book. You might have some underlying attention problems for a long time. But you don’t need to lose all the faith and optimism because according to different researches there are some strategies that will help you get better when you get trouble while concentrating.
The following part of the article consists of a list of different ways or strategies to combat attention problems:
Understanding your struggle while concentrating:
The first and perhaps the crucial strategy of managing attention problems is to understand how attention works. You should take time and explore how science explains attention. After having a vivid understanding of it, start identifying your attention profile and weakness associated with it.
It is worth noting that you shouldn’t randomly compare your concentration level with others. As said, every one of us is different and possesses a different mental capacity. A vague comparison will lead to lower self-esteem. The strategies next in this list can only work if you first have a clear idea of what it is, that you are working on.
Seeking help from school if you get trouble concentrating:
A student can decide to seek help from teachers in the school in case he faces any inconsistency while concentrating in class. As a teacher or a parent, it is important to note that the reason for the lack of attention in a student is not due to his lack of interest in motivation. Rather, it is a part of a biological dysfunction that your child is suffering from.
If you constantly struggle to maintain a consistent focus during classroom lectures, then you should tell this to your teacher. Your teacher can provide small breaks between chapters or tap you on your shoulder when your mind flies away. These small but effective steps can increase the pace of improvement of a student having trouble concentrating.
Leverage interest to decrease struggle while focusing:
Students are most aware and attentive when they perform tasks of their interest. Simply stated, interest attracts attention and the energy of the mind. Hence, if a student is getting trouble while concentrating, then he should align his interests with his work. In effect, this will mean that you, as a student, should engage your mind in a way that has an affinity towards your likes.
You can figure out if you like to learn by reading, listening, writing or discussing. Identifying your favorite and comfortable way of doing things will help you to align it with your daily tasks. Additionally, a student learns best and retains most of the information when it is related to him personally. For instance, if a teacher is explaining a student about a family relation tree, a student can begin drawing the family tree of his own family.
Set up a good working environment:
The environment has a very crucial role in determining our attention level. That is why you should set-up an optimal work or study surroundings. There are different types of students when it comes to maximum attention to different types of environments. Some may prefer a light noise or music in the background while some may prefer ear muffs.
It is up to you to decide in which category of people you fall into. If you do prefer a little bit of music in the background then science supports it too. As it has shown that music may increase alertness levels in some cases.
Develop planning skills:
A plan provides a step-by-step instruction leading up to the achievement of the predetermined goal. It also enables us to reflect on our strengths and weaknesses and work accordingly. Developing planning skills can help students having trouble concentrating quite effectively. This is because it will have the students stick to a course of action throughout the process and thus making a student more alert and involved in every step.
Teachers and parents can also help students in cultivating review and planning skills by guiding them at critical steps. For instance, if a student is going to cover a chapter from a book, then he can submit a plan for accomplishing it. It is very likely that they will need certain instructions, modeling and crucial feedback of their performance. So if you have trouble concentrating, consider developing planning skills to hooks your brain to the task.
Our mind has a lot of information fed into it. Daily tasks, habits, to-do lists, homework, etc make the most part of it. Focusing on the important things out of these clutter becomes very tedious work for our brains. Therefore, it is necessary to keep things organized at physical as well as mental level.
As an activity, you can make three lists viz; ‘work completed’, ‘work to be saved’ and ‘work to be completed’. In this way, you can get a glimpse of all the remaining and accomplished tasks in your daily routine. You can also use the color-coding method to organize your tasks, for example: if you are a student you can give red color to incomplete homework, blue to completed ones and green to homework in progress.
In this way, when you have your work organized, you will have a clear sense of accomplishment and you will be hooked on to your activity for long. Thus, the increase in attention level will ease your brain when it has trouble concentrating.
Explore the option of medication:
It may be possible that even after applying all the strategies a student or a child may suffer from attention difficulties or have trouble concentrating. For them, medication can be helpful in managing attention problems. Certain medications are known to increase mental alertness, intensity, and duration of focus while doing work.
Some research even suggests that certain medications can even lower hyperactivity and may diminish impulsivity. You can go for this option with your parents and seek a medical professional.
Bonus Tip: Wind Down
The human being is an efficient machine able to perform unimaginable feats but this machine needs rest too. It is commonly seen that a number of students have trouble sleeping at night due to their hyperactive brain. For these types of students, it is advisable to a fixed routine of sleeping every day.
To make this strategy more effective, parents can make a rule of ‘screenless bedtime’. This time will be a restriction to use any device with a screen e.g. mobile, iPad or laptop before bedtime. Instead, they can read a storybook or listen to soft music that helps in sleeping (white noise). They can even do stretching exercises prior to going to bed. These tips will ensure that he will get a decent and refreshing sleep which helps in elevating the attention levels.