There is a nice article on the art of concentration from the University of Kent. Although it’s written in the context of students and study, I think it’s got wide applicability.
Personally speaking, concentration is not my strong suit. One of my early memories is being chided by a primary school teacher for gazing out of the window rather than working and things have been going downhill ever since!
The article covers a discussion of poor concentration and it’s origins, then goes on to outline several strategies to improve your concentration skills, including:
Be Here Now
Whenever you notice your mind wanders away from what you are supposed to focus on, simply say to yourself
Be here now
and gently bring your attention back to where you want it. If your mind wanders again, repeat
Be here now
and bring your attention back.
Do not tell yourself off or tell yourself to concentrate. When you are thinking about not concentrating, you are not concentrating.
Do not try to push any particular thought out of your mind. When you are trying not to think about something, your mind is occupied and you are not concentrating. Just let the thought go like a breeze, say to yourself “Be here now”, and return to the present.
You might find your mind wanders hundreds of time in a day initially. This is normal. When you have practised this technique for a period of time, you are likely to find that you stay focussed for longer.
This has the same structure as some forms of meditation, which is probably why it appeals to me. The other suggestions seem very useful, if I can concentrate on them long enough I’ll probably try them out……oops …. ‘be here now’ … ‘be here now’ … ‘be here now’ …