With so much going on in our everyday lives, staying focused can be an ongoing and ever-present challenge. Focusing better allows us to accomplish more, and be more productive while we’re doing it. Not to mention, you feel a lot better. We’ve put together 7 quick tips to help you focus better throughout your day.
It’s not just about getting the blood flowing. Physical activity actually increases your brain waves. Finding time each and every day for exercise can be a chore in and of itself, but try finding unique ways to work it in. Have a walking lunch at work, where you bring your lunch and then go for a walk as you eat it. Instead of coffee with friends, try a bike ride around a local scenic place. Exercising will also help you sleep better, which brings us to point #2.
2. Don’t Get Tired
We all get it – you’re not going to get eight hours every night. But, instead of viewing sleep as what you need to feel rested, try flipping the equation, and determine how much sleep you need to not be tired. This number might be more like five or six hours. While the goal should be to get enough sleep to be rested, you really want to focus on getting enough sleep to ensure you’re not tired.
Being exhausted kills your focus the next day, and it can actually take your body several days to recover. Identify the patterns in what leads up to the nights where you don’t get enough sleep, and start to work at eliminating the common denominators that lead to them.
3. Eat Right
So often, people say “eat healthy.” However, a better way to say that is to eat right. Put good foods in your body, and watch your body start to reward you with increased focus.
Raw foods have an almost immediate effect on your energy and focus levels. Introducing them into your diet might feel a bit strange, but fully commit for a period of time and watch the impact it has on your focus. You’ll be amazed.
4. Stay Hydrated
A study by the University of Barcelona found that even mild dehydration can negatively affect your ability to focus. Mind you, this isn’t the kind of dehydration where you are dying of thirst, but even the mildest forms will have an effect on your focus.
It’s easy to forget to drink liquids throughout the day, so create habits by setting hourly alarms. Drink liquids before you’re thirsty, and set a goal for the amount of water you want to consume every day. Be careful of drinking too many diuretics, as they can reverse the hydration process.
5. Control your environment
Don’t try to focus in a messy environment. Whether dirty or cluttered, your brain will have a harder time focusing if everything around is a disaster. Make your life easier and take advantage of efficient cleaning techniques to keep you ahead. From short cycle dishwashers to lightweight stick vacuums, there are a plethora of tools to help you keep your environment clean and tidy.
6. Do One Thing At A Time
This is as much a productivity tip as it is a focus tip, but the increase in productivity comes directly from the fact that you have better focus. While many have learned how to multi-task, that doesn’t mean that it is good for their focus. Doing one singular thing at a time allows for you (and your brain) to put all of your attention in one direction, blocking out all other distractions. The results will speak for themselves.
7. Take Short Breaks
Rather than trying to stay focused all day long, try embracing the fact that your brain gets distracted from time to time. Taking short breaks, while it feels counterproductive, actually allows the brain to decompress and refocus. If you can combine this with switching tasks every hour or two, your brain will see increases in its ability to focus.
Bonus: Drink Tea
If you get tired of water, try tea. While some teas do contain caffeine (which gives you an energy jolt), the real value of tea for your focus lies in the amino acid L-theanine, which positively affects the attention portion of the brain.
Increasing your focus starts with you. By putting a focus on it each and every day, you can quickly realize the effects of a life better focused.