The world is filled with never-ending distractions. From the supercomputer in your pocket to pings from the group chat and worries about world events, any little thing can break your concentration. A distraction-filled environment is merely one element that stands in the way of your ability to concentrate, but your feelings also influence your focusing abilities.
In order to maintain focus, you have to take care of your mental space and physical body. If you want to power through your work day with ease, make an effort to institute healthy habits that help improve productivity. For example, listening to bodily cues can help you from becoming distracted. If you are hungry, stressed, anxious, or tired from the night before, you will have a difficult time focusing. Managing these causes of your inability to focus can often help you resolve the issue. If you need more assistance focusing, the following tips should be of great help.
Meditation is a mindfulness practice that can take years to master, but practice makes perfect. Meditation demands concentration, and scientific experiments agree that it may help improve cognition. One study found that people who meditated regularly were less likely to engage in “mind-wandering,” and they were generally happier. Another study found that students who meditated for 20 minutes per day performed better on cognitive tests.
Establish A To-Do List
To-do lists are not just for parents with five children; rather, everyone can benefit from them. They help prioritize what tasks you need to complete first, while also serving as a record of the loose ends. Incomplete work can eat away at your concentration, so having to complete your tasks can help you stay focused. Researchers note that this stems from the Zeigarnik Effect, which was explored in a 2011 study. Participants who could plan their work and complete tasks one by one were more likely to stay focused, compared to those who went from task to task without completing them.
Schedule Short Breaks
Trying to work through the entire day without a break is a fool’s errand. Everyone experiences dips in focus or succumbs to distractions because the brain is always alert. Taking short breaks throughout your day can help you return to your tasks with more focus and efficiency. Therapists suggest taking time-limited springs, which involve focusing on a task for 25 minutes and breaking for five minutes. You can also try to focus for 90 minutes and take a break for 10 minutes. Try to see what benefits your work most!
Put A Lock On Social Media
For many people, the idea of taking a break from work involves checking social media. The thing about social media is that it ropes you in and keeps you coming back after break time has concluded. If you struggle with putting your phone down, consider putting an app that blocks social media. Several apps work for your phone, tablet, or computer. Some of these apps can also put blocks on other distracting programs like games, YouTube, Netflix, text messages, and more.
Get Sufficient Sleep
Surveys indicate that most American adults do not get enough sleep every night. A few nights of minimal sleep is completely normal, but insufficient sleep most nights of the week can negatively impact your short- and long-term memory. Waking up tired can affect your ability to concentrate as well. Ideally, adults between the ages of 18 and 60 should sleep seven or more hours per night. To help encourage healthier sleep, try to avoid caffeinated beverages after lunch, switch off electronic devices one hour before bedtime, keep the bedroom cool and quiet, and take time to wind down.
Eat Foods That Boost Cognitive Function
What you put in your body can influence your ability to focus, as various nutrients can improve brain and body functions. For example, many people eat sugary treats in hopes of boosting focus, but they end up crashing shortly after. Simple carbs and refined sugars lead to a quick burst of energy, followed by serious fatigue. Although caffeine from a cup of coffee has been shown to help mental function and concentration, too much coffee can lead to anxious or jittery feelings, which get in the way of your focusing abilities. To improve your focus, include more fruits and vegetables at meals and snacks, and choose nuts, seeds, whole grains, and lean protein sources for major meals.
Create A Distraction-Free Environment
Your work zone is unique to you. Some people require a neatly organized space, while others prefer clutter and background music. Some people can only get in the right headspace if their desks have photos of loved ones or personal mementos. There is no right way to set up a space for a get-things-done environment. Find what works best for your productivity and create that space, even if it means investing time and energy into it. Consider sights, sounds, and temperature of your environment and then build what’s suitable for you.