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I often find it hard to concentrate on uninteresting details (programming bugs etc.) where I already know the outcome, but it takes time and concentration to fiddle. Sometimes I procrastinate and start the internet for interesting (but work-related) stuff. I feel restless and don't go into much depth, but rather collect ideas for later but not related to the main task.

However, I notice clearly that after waking up or late in the afternoon again I feel much more calm. Do you know an explanation? Maybe noise during the day irritates me, maybe circadian rythm or something related to dopamin, or just too much internet flood? That's just some wild guesses. What's your experience if you have similar? Sleep, sometimes sport or a bath (noise of water) can relax the mind wandering.

Can you suggest methods to concentrate better and avoid the shallow breadth search for new ideas? Maybe meditation, or headphones with music or other sounds, or some beverage, or having regular breaks.

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3 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Having phases during the day where you are more effective at a particular thing is perfectly normal. The recommended solution is not to try and change these, as much as work with them.

For example I am more analytical in the morning so schedule analysis tasks first thing. I can also dive deeply into them ether at this point or last thing at night.

I am more creative mid afternoon so I schedule my work to carry out appropriate activities then, but I don't find it easy to go into any great depth here so might have to outline the aspects of a task and then keep part of an activity until later on to go into it in detail.

That said, meditation or music are used by people to avoid distractions - to help these phases last longer, so if you can use them in your office, I would recommend it if it works for you.

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Meditation helps me on this matter. I do a half hour mediation twice a day. It's a practice of your concentration. This link you could try. But don't think it'll change you over a night. Practicing everyday will gradually improves your performance.

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I find the most helpful practice for me to kick-start myself in the morning is to have a set routine that I don't have to think about with a final "trigger" action that I associate with "getting to work." In my case, I work mornings in a coffee shop (I like the white noise) and after doing this for a while, I find that sitting down with the coffee with my notebook, computer, and headphones automagically gets me working. I've followed the same routine for a few years! When I travel I figure out the night before how to keep my routine as similar as possible.

Meditation--sitting or walking--can also be a real help.

Finally, I always have one achievable--but not too small!--goal that I plan to start with the next morning. It helps me get in the flow. On that note, you might find the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi interesting to read, particularly his book Flow.

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