What are some tips to concentrate when reading or at work? I find my mind wanders and I know I am not being as productive as I should be.Thanks for giving me an opportunity to answer this question. Well, increasing concentration span and focus in the times of Internet and gadgets is a mountainous task. We want everything to be lightning fast, so it's difficult for us to stick with a particular activity unless we like doing the activity or it's necessary for our present or future.
OK. I won't be a pretentious intellectual ass anymore. I have been a chess player for over a decade now. During my early years into playing chess, I was a really dynamic player. I ended up games within 15-20 minutes. But, things started changing when I took up the game professionally and played tournaments. Some of my games during these tournaments used to last for over 2-3 hours and I didn't have determination to last for that long time, so I often lost the games.
I had started understanding the pattern of my losses. I started meditating and increasing my will power. There were days when I went sleepless; practicing chess with my father and understanding the game in detail. Gradually, I began to increase my game duration and take the games until end game and overtime endgame became forte. Now, I could give my best even if the game lasted for over 3 hours. One of longest running matches lasted 4.30 hours. It didn't happen overnight. I had to practice for over an year to do so.
Let's share some pointers out of my story.
1) Putting yourself into something. If you want to increase your focus, then you got to harsh on yourself. You can manipulate the thought process and believe that you're enjoying the task in hand. In this manner, it'll be easier to concentrate on the task. Also, if you're distracted, keep going back repeatedly without having afterthoughts about the same.
2) Be patient. Increasing concentration and focus might take sometime. While you're busy increasing your concentration span, you shouldn't give up on yourself. Be optimistic and enthusiastic about the progress.
3) Meditate. It's without any doubt the best source of finding peace and happiness. There's no need to sit in one corner and focus on your breathing. You can meditate while you're driving, bathing, eating or performing any random activity. You just got to be present in the moment and be the watcher. If you become the watcher rather than being a do'er, then you can experience sense of freedom because you feel detached from the activity despite being into it.
I hope this helped. There's a plethora of other methods out there easily available on the Internet, but one of the best methods is to enjoy the task or if you can't enjoy than fake it until you actually start enjoying.