How did he solve it? “Concentration,” he says.
Concentration doesn’t happen by chance, it takes planning and effort. Here are five data-driven ways to enhance your ability to concentrate:
1. Have a Roadmap
Strategically plan ahead and know the exact steps to reach your goals. Have an idea about how to get from point A to point B. “That constant awareness of what is next is what keeps you focused.”
2. Peak Time
What time of the day are you at your best? Research suggests self-control is highest in the morning, so this is a good time to tackle a challenging project. Work on something that is a priority, and save email catch-ups for later.
3. One Thing at a Time
Multitasking is the antithesis of concentration. Designate specific times of the day to check email, messages and other social media.
4. Optimize Your Environment
Create a peaceful workspace. Plants and natural light are natural productivity enhancers. Minimize external distractions. Noises are particularly disruptive. Consider wearing headphones and turn off digital notifications.
5. Smell the Roses
Yitang Zhang explains his strategy:
I like to walk and think. This is my way. My wife would see me and say, ‘What are you doing?’ I said, ‘I’m working, I’m thinking.’
Figure out the strategy that works best for you. Create your own “concentration ritual” and channel your inner Dr. Zhang.