What are the best ways to increase concentration? originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question.

Answer by Sabine Staggl, co-founder of Noisli, on Quora:

1. Understand the why
First of all, start to understand the why. If you have a clear understanding of why you have to or wish to do certain things, it will increase your willpower and keep you motivated until you achieve your goals.

2. Eliminate distractions
In order to increase your concentration, you have to eliminate everything that keeps distracting you.

  • Set a dedicated time for uninterrupted work (you could start with one to two hours).
  • Unplug: Give yourself a hand and turn off all notifications that might interrupt you.
  • Keep a distraction list. Write down everything that bothers you or things that pop up in your mind while you should actually work. Dedicate your time to those things once you're done or while taking a break.
  • Communicate to others; let others know when you don't want to be interrupted. Put a sign on the door or tell your friends or colleagues so they can help you.
  • Listen to background music. Use a background noise generator like Noisli to block out any annoying sounds.
  • Stop multitasking. If you do two things simultaneously, you're splitting your attention and thus not giving 100 percent of your focus to either task.
  • Avoid visual distractions. People who continuously pass by are equally as distracting as notifications. Avoid these places and find a less busy work spot.

3. Maximize your potential
We're not made to sit eight hours in front of a computer or paper and work. We need breaks, and we also need a healthy lifestyle in order to use our full potential.

The obvious ones:

  • Sleep: If you're sleep deprived, you will find it difficult to concentrate on whatever you have to do.
  • Eat healthy: A healthy diet will give your body the nutrients and vitamins it needs to perform best when you need it.
  • Exercise: It can reduce the declining memory process, and if you're taking small breaks it will boost hyper-oxygenation in your brain, giving you energy and increasing your efficiency.

The not-so-obvious ones:

  • Find your prime time: Your mind is generally more focused at certain times of the day. Schedule your uninterrupted work during those times.
  • Chew gum. It will increase the flow of oxygen and help you to maintain longer periods of focus.
  • Smell some herbs. Peppermint can boost energy and enhances clear thinking.
  • Drink coffee when your natural cortisol level drops.

4. Motivate yourself
There are different hacks you can employ to keep yourself motivated.

  • Find a mentor; having somebody to look up to is encouraging.
  • Begin work on big and difficult tasks for just five minutes. You will see that starting was the hardest part.
  • Plan rewards! Having something to look forward to will give you the right motivational boost.

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