5 Tricks for Better Focus
Keeping Your Mind on Task To Increase Productivity
by Dan Scalco
Whether you’re studying, working, or just trying to get a few things done, a lack of focus can definitely get in the way. While I’m a big fan of nootropics, such as Optimind, there are some times in life when you can’t reach for a nootropic. Lucky for you, we’re sharing five tricks for better focus that you can put to use today. These tips will help you keep your mind on the task at hand so you can ultimately increase your overall productivity.
Meditation is a great option for those times when you’re struggling to stay focused because it teaches mindfulness. During a meditation session, you practice focusing on your breath and letting go of the thoughts that pop up. While it sounds simple, meditation is great for calming both your mind and body while also helping you to de-stress.
A little meditation goes a long way. Research suggests that meditating for just 30 minutes a day for eight weeks can increase the density of gray matter in brain regions associated with memory, stress, and empathy.
2. Pomodoro Technique
One great trick for better focus is to use the Pomodoro Technique. If you aren’t familiar with this, it’s a technique that requires you to work in intervals followed by a short break. You can use a timer to set your interval for work, which typically lasts 25 minutes. In that 25 minutes, you use the entire time to focus strictly on the task at hand.
Once the time is up, you can take a short break that lasts about three to five minutes. After your break, you’ll work for another 25-minute interval. After you’ve completed four working intervals (also known as Pomodoros), you can take a longer break that lasts 15-30 minutes.
The goal of the Pomodoro Technique is to help cut down on external distractions, therefore improving your focus and your productivity. It’s a great technique to try if you find you’re struggling to check things off your to-do list during the day.
3. Do Some Decluttering
Although you might know where everything is on your cluttered workspace, it’s really not doing you any favors when it comes to your focus. Researchers at thePrinceton University Neuroscience Institute have discovered clutter can inhibit your brain’s ability to focus and process information. Having too much clutter around can ultimately distract you and it impacts information processing more negatively than an organized space does.
The reason clutter has such an impact on focus is because there are too many different stimuli competing for your attention. If you want to increase your focus, take some time to tidy up your workspace at the end of each day.
There’s no denying that exercise plays an important role in our lives. It’s not just important for keeping our bodies healthy, but also for keeping our minds healthy. In fact, Dr. John Ratey has written a book that describes how exercise impacts our brain function. In that book, he shares that exercise can increase your focus for two to three hours after you’ve completed a workout.
If you need to focus for a long day at work or for a study session, try exercising beforehand. You can hit the gym or go for a run around your neighborhood. Not only will it boost your mood and energize you for the day ahead, but it just might be what you need to stay focused on the work you need to accomplish.
5. Drink More Water
Much like exercise, water also provides tons of great benefits to our bodies. Without plenty of water, we become dehydrated, which have some pretty negative side effects. There have been a lot of studies done on the effects of dehydration and it’s been shown to majorly mess with our focus.
The Journal of Nutrition published the results of a study that was conducted on 25 women. This study showed that dehydrated women experienced headache symptoms, loss of focus, feelings of fatigue, and low mood. What’s even more surprising is that these women weren’t even severely dehydrated during the study. They were only around 1% lower than the optimal amount of hydration.
Regardless of whether you need some extra focus for your personal or professional life, try integrating these tried and true strategies into your daily life. With proper utilization you’ll be sure to see an increase in focus and productivity levels.