If you’re finding it hard to focus on your work these days, just know that you are not alone. In fact, writing this article took me about two days longer than usual because I’m struggling with focus right now. But, there are ways for us to improve our focus and get back to work. Here are some amazing ideas to help you improve focus and concentration in your life.
Time Your Concentration Time and Improve Your Focus
No one can be expected to be focused all day every day. In fact, studies have shown that we can stay focused on a task about 30 to 40 minutes at best. So is it any wonder why our concentration seems to be broken? So when you feel your focus is waning take a little break and then set yourself a timer for 40 minutes. In those 40 minutes work hard then when the alarm goes off, take a 5-10 minute break and let your head unwind.
Memory Improving Games
Crossword puzzles, sudoku, and other games have been proven to help your memory and improve your ability to focus. Just 15 minutes a day is all you need, but don’t do it during a break. This is an activity for winding down at the end of a hard day or something to occupy your mind with for a few minutes after dinner. Also, don’t think that video games aren’t included. Video games are actually more effective than many mind games.
Get in Touch With Nature
Getting out in nature, or even just having a houseplant on your desk will improve your focus. There’s something about seeing and feeling nature that helps ground you mentally. If you can take a break and go out to a park or dig around in your garden then that is ideal. But even just spending a couple of minutes looking at a houseplant in your office will leave you feeling refreshed and help you focus on your tasks for the rest of the day.
Is there anything more distracting than a cell phone sitting face-up on your desk? Unless you’re working from home and you have kids, there really isn’t. So why do so many of us leave our phones sitting there, begging to be used as a distraction? Put the phone in a drawer. If you find yourself getting distracted by things then get rid of whatever you can to help keep you focused on the task at hand. Another interesting trick you can do is turn off the lights in the room you’re in and just have a lamp lighting up your desk. Of course, this only works at night, but it makes it like the rest of the room doesn’t even exist, just you and your desk.
Improve Your Focus by Practicing Mindfulness
Practice being in the moment, not just while you’re at work, but in all things you do. Mindfulness is enjoying a huge boost in popularity right now and for a good reason! Being more present in the moment reduces stress and helps you get more in touch with your life so it feels less like you’re just on autopilot. Amazingly, this mindfulness also helps improve your focus. How? Well if you’re in the moment, tackling the task at hand, you aren’t worrying about what you’ll have for dinner or that deadline coming up on another project.
Do Something New
It might seem a little bit strange, but if you’re finding that you’re having trouble focusing then you might just need to do something new for a little while. This is part of what makes vacations so relaxing. Our brains crave new stimuli and if you’re doing the same thing day in and day out your mind will start to rebel. Your attention span will shorten and soon you’ll find yourself unable to get any work done, no matter how hard you try. So do something new. Go somewhere you’ve never been, rearrange your living room or office. Give your brain something new to look at and you will be rewarded.
Get More Sleep
Getting enough sleep is vital to keeping your mind sharp and the quality of that sleep is important too. This can be especially hard when you have children, but if you know your kids want to wake up at 6 every morning to watch some cartoons before school, not only should you be making sure they go to bed earlier, you need to be going to bed earlier too.
Take a Break
If you’ve been working for hours and you’ve got a deadline you’re rushing to meet but you find yourself hitting a mental block the best thing you can do is take a break. Take 10 minutes to stretch, get some fresh air, or even just rest your eyes. Set a timer if you’re worried about time. Just take some time for yourself, time where you aren’t thinking about work.
Meditate to Improve Your Focus
If a loss of focus is an ongoing issue for you then you might find some benefit in meditating. This isn’t for everyone and it certainly won’t give instant results. But for those who stick with it, they report having improved focus in all areas of their life after 3 months. You can do guided meditations or just find yourself a comfortable position where you can’t fall asleep and let your mind unwind.
Finally, are you getting enough exercise? It might not seem obvious but exercise can help you keep your mind focused. The great thing is that so long as it gets your heart rate up then it is working! So, yes, that means things like golf and archery don’t count. But swimming, lifting weights, doing CrossFit..all of that and much more can help you improve your focus.
It is my hope that you find these tips helpful. Please share them with your circle!