It’s one thing to be motivated, it’s another thing to be concentrated. A lack of concentration, just as a lack of motivation, can sometimes hinder us when trying to achieve something, especially when it comes to learning a language.
Concentration helps us in the memorization process, go through a lesson in a more relaxed way and to be more confident. But here’s the thing, sometimes we just can’t seem to concentrate. If you’re overly tired, anxious, in the wrong environment… you may find you’re unable to concentrate. To stay 100 percent focused, here are 7 tips to improve your concentration and to thus improve in a language.
What is Concentration?
Concentration is our capacity to focus our mental (or physical) faculties on a task. Being concentrated means being able to listen, observe and accomplish any goal you desire . To memorize vocabulary, grammar, conjugation… in other words, to learn a new language, you need to be able to concentrate.
However, here’s the problem: a lack of concentration can happen because of multiple reasons. For instance, when we’re distracted by our surroundings, a bad diet and even a negative outlook on life… To help you review, work and learn, here are a few tips to maintain high levels of concentration and even improve upon them.
7 Ways to Improve Your Concentration
1: Plan Your Objectives
Planning and concentration go hand in hand… It’s necessary to have your objectives on a calendar. Meaning that during each lesson or review sessions, your goal will be to reach that objective… By planning each of your milestones, you’ll be creating essential organization—structure—to stay concentrated on your task.
You should note that it’s important to be realistic when planning your objectives. You can already plan your final objective, but the idea is to modify it as you go along, step by step. Create sub-objectives for yourself to reach during a learning session. For, example, being able to order food at a restaurant or being able to reserve a hotel in the language of your choice. The MosaLingua cards can help you organize yourself in this task: choose the theme you want to learn, and dedicate, let’s say, one session a day on the theme for three weeks. You can then review them with MosaLingua’s Spaced Repetition System.
2: Know Yourself!
What you should know is that the maximum peak of concentration for a person is possible for 30 minutes (give or take a few minutes, of course). Often, this peak occurs in the morning. However, we aren’t all as efficient at the same time of the day… Some of us are morning birds, others are night owls. It’s up to you to find out when you’re more able to concentrate and to respect this time.
Moreover, it is better to have short learning sessions, a few minutes each week, during which you’ll be fully concentrated on your goals, something you wouldn’t be able to do with hour-long learning sessions…
3: Improve Your Mental Endurance
Did you know it’s possible to improve your mental endurance, in other words, the time you’re able to concentrate?
We’ve already seen that the peak of concentration the average person has only lasts around 30 minutes. Needless to say that reaching those 30 minutes of concentration isn’t a given… There is a simple exercise to improve how long you can concentrate which consists of timing yourself every day. The first day, you time how long you’re concentrated on something. The next day, you add another minute to your countdown. The following day, you add yet another minute. And so on. It is a long-term goal which requires perseverance, but you can reach superior levels of concentration by passing these hurdles daily.
4: Never Work When Hungry or Sleepy
There’s no point, you’ll just be distracted… It’s better to eat well (Not too much. You don’t want to feel bloated) and feel great when having to review.
Along the same line, we could even say that we have to adopt a healthy lifestyle: lack of sleep disrupts concentration, as well as hunger and physical tiredness… What does that tell us? To be able to concentrate properly, we have to eat healthy, balanced meals and keep in shape. Please note: some foods are good for your neural system. Examples? Green vegetables, cereals, legumes…
5: Go at it Step-by-Step, One Task at a Time
Our brain cannot focus on more than one task at once; it can only deal with one thing at a time… to be optimal and improve your concentration, don’t multitask.
Small advice: learn the MosaLingua cards one after the other and be sure you study them properly and assimilate them well. Focus on one card (“booking a hotel” for example), then on another one, and then yet on another one. Think of duly finishing a task before starting another one.
One more thing: in between each task, or each vocabulary card, for example, don’t hesitate in taking a few minutes off to relax. By fully working on task, one by one and taking your time, you’re conscious of what you’re actually doing, helping you assimilate it better.
6: Develop an Interest in What You’re Studying
Being interested is the biggest factor for concentration. It is indispensable to find something interesting in what you’re studying in order to stay motivated and to improve your concentration.
Why do you want to learn a foreign language? Develop your project, write it down, and maybe even post it around your apartment… You really have to be conscious of why you’re spending time on a certain project. Not only will this help you not to forget your objective, but it will also make the learning process much more interesting.
Just relax, and learn how to breathe. Whatever your reason is for improving your concentration, it is essential to breathe in and properly oxygenate your brain for the task.
Here’s an exercise to help you relax and thus improve your concentration: sit straight, or at the back of your armchair, take a deep breath, and slowly breath out through your mouth, repeat this 10 times. You’ll be more relaxed, and more able to concentrate on your work. Learning a language shouldn’t be stressful. The more at ease you are with it, the more easily will you find it to concentrate.
To improve your concentration, there’s nothing much to it. You just need to be conscious of what you’re doing. Many say that working slowly, taking the time to do a task, helps them to realize what they’re doing, which, in turns, helps them assimilate the information easily. So, no hurry. Your objective? To be as relaxed as possible in order to learn a new language under the best conditions possible.
Do you have other tips on how to improve your concentration? Don’t hesitate to tell us how in the comment section below 😉
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