Essential Tips to Increase Concentration for Writing Your Essays

When you are writing your essay, the best results are achieved when you are able to concentrate effectively and for long periods of time. But how can you achieve this? Some people are naturally more able to concentrate than others; however everyone can improve their concentration as long as they know the techniques and the skills involved. This guide provides tips and advice that will help you improve your concentration and create better essays. Good concentration provides benefits in all aspects of life (and not just your journey through academia), which makes these tips even more useful to know and apply.

Why You Need High Levels of Concentration

Concentration is important for any academic assignment. With high levels of concentration, you are able to write more eloquently, structure your arguments more precisely and provide more detailed descriptions. You are also less likely to make mistakes, and more likely to spot errors and inconsistencies with your work. Best of all, you are able to gain better results in a shorter space of time.

Improving Concentration: What To Do In Advance

There are lots of things you can do to improve concentration while you actually write your essays, however there are also lots of things you can do in advance, and these provide better results than the quick tips provided below.

Mental Exercise to Improve Concentration

There are loads of different exercises that help to improve mental concentration. Most of them involve counting and observation. When performing the following mental exercises, make sure you do so in a comfortable chair in quiet surroundings, and relax. This exercise helps to teach your mind not to wander, and to focus more effectively on the matter at hand.

  1. Focus on an object: Find a single palm-sized object, and observe it. Think about the size, shape, texture and color of the object. The moment you feel your mind begin to wander, refocus your attention on the object. Do this for 5 or 10 minutes.

  2. Remove the object: After you have completed the first part, take away the object and close your eyes. Visualize the object in your mind. Manipulate the object with your mind and examine it from all angles. If your mind starts to wander again, bring it back to the visualization of the object. Do this for the same amount of time.

There are many other exercises that help you to improve your concentration. You can try counting from 1-100 in your mind, or you can focus on a single word or sentence for an extended period of time. Counting exercises are the most basic because it is harder for your mind to stray when you do them.

Foods That Increase Mental Ability

The mind works better when you eat the right foods. Eating a single healthy meal won't produce any quick benefits, so you need to plan ahead and eat the right foods on an ongoing basis. Just as there are foods that help improve brainpower and concentration, there are also foods that do the opposite, so these should be avoided.

  1. Sources of omega-3: salmon, tuna, herring and other fatty fish. Walnuts, spinach, kidney beans, flaxseed oils and soybeans are also good sources.

  2. Antioxidants: The best sources of antioxidants include: cranberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries apples, plums, kidney beans, artichokes, red beans, pecans, dark chocolate. Fruits, berries, nuts, grains and green vegetables are the best types of fruit and vegetable with high levels of antioxidants. Green tea is also very good.

  3. Complex carbohydrates: These are good for sustained mental performance. They are in wholemeal and wholewheat breads, whole beans, high-fibre cereals, oatmeal and brown rice. Eat complex carbohydrates for your breakfast.

  4. What to avoid: Sources of saturated fat are not just unhealthy; they impair concentration. These include butter, fatty milk and red meat. Simple carbohydrates are also good to avoid (white bread, sugar).

Improving Concentration: Before Your Essay Writing

There are lots of things you can do just before you sit down to write your essay that improve concentration for essay writing.

  1. Hydrate: Hydrate before and during your essay writing. Caffeine and sugar can boost your mental abilities, but you should not rely on them if you are going to write for longer periods of time. A mental crash always follows a mental boost.

  2. Plan to write early: Concentration levels are higher earlier on in the day. You will naturally perform better if you do your essay writing in the morning.

  3. Prepare an adequate workspace: It is crucial that you select the right environment for your work. You need to obliterate all sources of distraction (no humans, no smartphones), and there should be enough room for you to lay out your work. A comfortable seat and a proper table height are both critical. The environment needs to be at a comfortable temperature with fresh air.

  4. Lay out everything you need: Gather all of the materials you need to write your essay before you begin. If you are using a laptop, make sure you have a charger. If you are using stationary, make sure you have sharpeners, ink etc.

  5. Prepare your mind: The techniques described above will not give you big, instant improvements (they should be performed regularly) – they instead raise your ability to concentrate slowly. They can still make a difference however if you perform them just before you write your essay.

Improving Concentration: During the Essay Writing

If you follow the above advice you should have optimal concentration for the essay writing process, though there are things you can do during the process.

  1. Time your breaks wisely: According to research, when we work there are optimal periods where our mind is able to concentrate, but these concentration levels decrease over time. This means you need to take breaks. If you work for too long in one session you could be wasting your energy.

  2. The right time: Different people have different optimal work/break patterns, however a popular choice is to work for 90 minutes and then take a 10-20 minute break. For some tasks it is better to work for 25 minutes and then take a break, though this is not recommended for essay writing. Try to understand your own working patterns and learn when it is the right time to take a break.

  3. During the break: What you do during your break is very important. You don't want to engage with lots of distracting tasks or activities, and you don't want to exert yourself. Whatever you do, you should remove yourself from the work environment. It is often good here to rehydrate and eat a nutritious snack.