So, what's really the best way to develop concentration? I know a bit of the techniques that involve watching things arise and fall with the breath as a fall-back option and I try to practice them (with varying success), but I believe that my concentration should be improved before I can go further. How to do this?
I do know of a practice of breath meditation that I find useful:
First, count the breath until you've had five in and out breaths, then start again and count to six, then to seven until you reach ten. After ten you start again with 1..5, 1..6, 1..7, 1..8, 1..9 and 1..10. When you lose count somewhere you'll have to start all over with one to five. This has worked for me not only for breath, but also for cycles on a bicycle
It also has some motivation factor in it in the sense that you can challenge yourself with seeing how many cycles all the way to 10 you can maintain.