Paying attention to every small detail, thinking hard to make a case of the client and trying hard to anticipate what the lawyer for the other party is going to argue is all part and parcel of a lawyer's job. To be able to do it efficiently enough, one has to be at the top of one's concentration. And concentration can be one of the major issues at times.
Lawyers have a tendency to work for hours without taking a break. All those papers that they keep peering into do not give them much time to think about things other than the law and the upcoming court hearings. This has an adverse effect on their concentration and a time comes when some of these lawyers might start experiencing concentration deficiency. The more they try to concentrate, the worse the difficulty gets, and then they try harder to concentrate, which only adds to the problem. The solution is not to concentrate harder, but to relax a bit and let the mind sort itself out before one could get back to the job.
So, when you are working on that important case looking for the relevant case law, and you feel that you are not being able to gather your attention fully and your mind is wandering this way and that, it would be a good idea to take a coffee break and let work wait for a while. It is possible that the very thought of a break might start worrying you right away on account of the fast approaching deadline, but it would serve you better if you understood that by pushing yourself you would not be able to finish faster or better. You would do a far better job, if you concentrated better. So, a coffee break would be very much helpful no matter how misplaced the idea might appear in certain situations.
Your mind needs to turn to shut out other thoughts and feelings to concentrate on the job in hand, for which it needs some time off the work because if you keep trying to concentrate, the mind keeps working on all the things and doesn't get time to make a priority-based selection.
Avoid worrying during the rest period. Forget not that if you are thinking about work during the time of rest, you are not actually resting. So, when you take a short break, it is not just about a cup of coffee but is also about allowing your mind to think about things other than work in hand. There is no point in going to the coffee house and continue thinking about work, which would only make you rush to your work desk. And that's as good as never having left work in the first place. So, when you walk to the coffee house, leave work behind.
Keep work-related frustrations at bay. Of course, it is not entirely in our hands to keep the irritants off, but then we can always control our reaction. Now, even that is easier said than done. Frustration with work is generally one of the major reasons for lack of concentration. Stress, too, is in the same league, but it is when you find it difficult to make as much progress with work as you would want and the deadline approaching like a bullet that one finds it most difficult to focus. In such situations it is best to think about the worst-case scenario and try limiting the damage. This does not mean that you start thinking negatively and begin with the assumption that to accomplish the task is impossible. It only means that you comfort yourself by thinking that even if you fail to achieve what you have set out for, it would not be the end of the world. This would keep the frustration away and would allow you to concentrate much better.
Sometimes confusion is also responsible for lack of concentration. Confused state of mind is generally a product of too many choices or combinations of choices most of which appear expedient. The best way to sort such a situation out is to consider each choice or set of choices carefully and use the elimination method to reduce the number of choices until you are left with just one or, at best, two of them. The key element in this regard is patience. If you lose patience, you would irritate yourself, which would only complicate things further.
Procrastination is another concentration killer. So, if you are in a habit of putting work off over and over again, you might find it difficult to concentrate when you start working. It is, thus, important for you to avoid procrastination as far as possible. If you are prone to procrastination, try taking very short breaks during work. If you stay away from work for too long at a stretch, it is very likely that you would find it difficult to concentrate when you get back to it.
If you are looking for something that would instantly help you concentrate, there is nothing better than a cup of coffee. The caffeine content in the coffee is known to bring about mental alertness. However, coffee intake must not be in excess because in that case your body would get used to it and the coffee would no longer have the stimulating effect.
Fish is also considered good for brain functions. So, eating fish in moderate quantity helps boost concentration. Fish contains omega 3 fatty acids, which is known to lower the risk of developing mental decline that comes with age.
Nuts and seeds contain Vitamin E, which is known to improve concentration and retard age-related cognitive decline.
Another thing that one might do to improve concentration is practice meditation. The best time to do it is morning because of the fresh air and also because of the peace that mornings bring. Some deep breathing exercises also help a great deal. So, it is a good idea to meditate on breathing and try controlling your breath emptying your mind of all random thoughts.
Playing games that require you to concentrate and jog your brain has also been found to boost concentration and memory both. So, games like Chess, Sudoku and solving puzzles are particularly helpful in this regard. Chess, for one, is one of the best mind exercise games.
Improvement in concentration not only boosts memory and cognitive abilities but also ensures that the mental decline associated with age sets in late and progresses at very slow pace. So, it is certainly worthwhile to do all that it takes to improve concentration.
Note: This is not a piece of authoritative medical opinion or advice