Can't concentrate

Hi guys,
sometimes, when I try to study, my mind just wanders off, like while doing my maths homework, I will be thinking of my friends and the time we spent together etc, but surprisingly I can still do my homework. However, I feel like I haven’t put in 100% concentration into my homework, which I feel very annoyed and frustrated. Even if I’m totally isolated with no music, no distractions, they will remain in my head. How do I get rid of them in my mind while doing work and keep my mind clear?
Thank you

I can help you more with memorization. when I am memorizing, I can get totally lost in the task. If math is what you need to work on, this is what I have to say. Getting good at math is about – PROBLEMS, PROBLEMS PROBLEMS. Work lots of problems. work the example problems to get started. write down what the instructor does when she works a problem, and try to work it yourself. there is something about moving the pencil on the paper while trying to solve the problem which helps it stick in the brain. I did 2 years of engineering in college so I did lots of math. Good luck!

Make the subject important enough to yourself that you will naturally give it strong attention.

Ask yourself questions. Do you see something highly valuable or worth having in becoming proficient with mathematics? Why do you want proficiency in mathematics, and how much do you want it? What has been accomplished by a great knowledge of mathematics? What would be left undone if people did not push their boundaries in this subject? What kinds of progress have been made by those proficient in it? Where will you be using this in the future? Must you understand the subject or can you get by without it? How much has been discovered in this field, and how much more is there to discover? In light of your answers, why are you inattentive?

If you ask yourself those kinds of questions you’ll motivate yourself, and attention will come much easier.

I will play the devil’s advocate…

Concentration is a limited resource. To some extent it is trainable but people range across the scale. Recognizing how long you are able to concentrate for and allowing yourself appropriate breaks for reflection, physical movement etc will improve the quality of the time you have to concentrate.

Diet sleep stress physical environment all play a role and can be cleaned up as best possible.

What is being thought about will affect ones abilities to concentrate. New and or difficult thought can induce anxiety that can result in distraction or the desire to think about something else.

Thinking is hard work and abstraction was thought to be unattainable by the masses until only very recently. Even the very best (or possibly especially the very best) draw pictures, make sounds, physical movements, write, talk in order to concentrate more effectively.

It is especially hard if one isn’t particularly gifted. If one cannot work through ideas quickly enough the intermediate steps can easily be lost or jumbled. If you can think quickly there is less time for the short term thoughts to become disconnected.

A mostly average person can often replicate the gifted by using all the monkey leverage available to them. When a really smart monkey uses the same leverage then it is best to either offer him a banana or sneak up from behind and preemptively hit him with a stick.

VIDEOS! I had the same problem as you, I got bored easily (with every subject) and my mind wondered - ALL THE TIME. You don’t need medication or to beat yourself up, you just need a better way to learn. I took a precalculus class, and I’ve always been awful at any sort of math, but this was an online course and the “classes” were videos of each lesson. He showed us all the little tricks and turns that a lot of math involves (there’s always more than one way to work a problem, right?). And they were very interactive. so you watch the video, he showed some practice problems, and then gave a short quiz at the end to make sure you nailed down the information. I aced the class! Look up videos online and it should be helpful, rather than reading it in a book:)

I don’t take medication, but I do take some supplements when I need to focus. L-Theanine (found in green tea, supplements can be bought everywhere) combined with Caffeine (found in coffee… or energy drinks) gives you a healthy focus boost.

It’s what I use, and I don’t mind using it as it’s the same as drinking a cup of green tea and a cup of coffee, just without the tea. If I don’t do it my mind goes all “read the text… reeeead the text… Oh yea, gotta send a text about dinner tonight, I like pizza, that is italian, like good suits, those fit with swiss watches, the swiss have mountains, mountains are tall, I feel tiny… what was I doing again?”

I mainly hate my mind when I go to sleep, “One sheep, two sheep, cat, turtle, cow, farm, old mc donand had a farm, eeey macarena”

I once had to do a school assignment in which we had to make a list of associations, first word we had to write down was something like ‘pen’, and then we had to write down a chain of associations in one minute. At the end I was like “I can’t read what I’ve written down… my mind went too fast for my hand to keep up.”

What were we talking about again? :stuck_out_tongue:

This is an old thread, but I am new to the forum so I thought I’d post my input to this common problem. I suggest if you have a problem with focus, you read the book Deep Work by Cal Newport. It directly addresses this issue and provides a framework and suggestions for clearing your head so you can give your full attention to the task at hand. It’s a great read.

It’s an eternal problem.

I can give your here two ‘classical’ ways to deal with it, and some ‘tricks’.

Put things UP:

Motivate yourself before studying
Kicking your ass to take a firm decision
Recapitulating all the good things you will learn and how much it will help you to have the life you want (visualise the future results)Enter in a high energetic mood

Putting things down

Cut your homework into small scessions (30 ? 40 minutes?)
Unplug anything else (no phone, no search, no music)
Embrasse boredom
Use a ‘white noise generator’ (rains works quite well for me) to gives Something unintrusive to deal with your ‘floating mind’

The ‘tricks’, now. A subject ‘bores’ you dspite motivation ? Keep working, even if you are bored. Embrace boredom. Instead of jumping on Something more pleasant, do Nothing else. Eventually, your mind will prefer to work than to get bored ! So it will boost itself to do the task.

Get a small reward after each short scession. Eat Something you like, have your favorite juice. Take five minutes.
But indulge this little reward ONLY if you (reasonably) do what you had to do. If you can’t, don’t punish yourself (masochism won’t get you anywhere) , just do Something usefull that is not a reward (cleaning your room ?) Then, another scession.

By doing so, you are training a ‘wild’ part of your mind to work with you and not against you. It’s very basic…and it works very well.

Aother thing: i strongly encourage you to learn meditation, like MBSR. You’ll find good self help books (with audio tracks CD), and it will help you all life long to face more difficults things than boredom or lack of concentration.