You have to complete the work on a specific deadline and your mind is wandering from one thought to another. Your motivation level is up, but your work can’t seem to be going anywhere because of the limited focus. Today, we’ll discuss how to improve focus and concentration.
The distraction level is very high in the world of social media and technology. Our mind has to deal with a plethora of information all the time, and it distracts our attention now and then. Focusing our attention on one task at a time is one of the biggest challenges of our time.
What is Focus/Concentration?
Focus or concentration is the capability of a person to control one’s attention. It means focusing your attention on one particular thought, object, or subject at one time by excluding all the irrelevant sensations, feelings, ideas, and thoughts.
The difficult part is excluding and not allowing your attention diverted into irrelevant sensations, feelings, ideas, and thoughts. It means that you shouldn’t pay attention every time you receive a notification, alert, or message.
Distractions impact your productivity. You won’t complete the task on time, can’t listen, or understand whatever your friends/colleagues are saying or have said. It results in the form of conflicts, misinterpretation, and misunderstanding. When you can’t remember things on time, then it jeopardizes your personal and professional reputation.
Factors Impacting your Focus
Before discussing how to improve focus and concentration; it’s important to mention that there are many internal and external factor factors that impact your attention, some of them are as follows;
The environment could impact your focus depending on your mood and the activity you’re doing. For instance, some people can’t work when it’s loud and noisy, and others can’t focus when there’s so much quietness. Coffee shops, high-energy places, light instrumental music, or gathering of friends help some people to focus on their work. The light setting could also affect your attention, either too dim or too bright.
The food you eat would impacts your mood and how you feel. If you don’t eat the right food that your body needs, then you would feel symptoms like low focus, fatigue, and memory loss. For instance, low-fat-based food could badly impact your focus, because our brain needs certain types of fatty acid to function properly. Some food items that you should avoid; and would impact your focus and cause unwell feelings, craving, and hungry.
Limited Physical Activity
If you perform a light exercise in the morning, then it would make you feel enthusiastic throughout the whole day. When you don’t perform any physical activity, then it would tense your muscles, discomfort, and tightness in your chest, shoulder, and neck.
Insufficient sleep would slow down your thought processing speed. Resultantly, you would feel confused and it would become difficult for you to focus your attention.
Our brain has to process and deal with a plethora of information in today’s world. Studies have found that looking at the smartphone impacts our capability to focus. Intentionally or unintentionally, our mind is always processing information whatever it perceives it.
How to Improve Focus and Concentration – Tips
Let’s discuss how to improve focus and concentration; some of the main tips are as follows;
If you want to keep your mind focused, then you should keep on switching various tasks, instead of getting your mind stuck on one task for a very long time. When you switch tasks, then do the things that you love to do? It would help to remain alert and productive in your work.
When you’re working on a certain project, then set the timing for your mind to be attentive for 20 or 30 minutes. It’s a good practice of your mind to be attentive. However, when the time is up, then you should take a break for 5 minutes, stretch your legs and arms in order to refresh your mind.
Space for Work
You should create a calm and quiet workspace. I understand that not everyone has the luxury of an office-type workspace. What you can do is to adjust the light of your monitor/LED screen and put on the noise-canceling headphone. You should keep your space as energetic and comfortable as possible, keep it clean.
You should create a list of activities that you should perform in a day, and select one task that needs your attention the most. It would keep your mind focused on the main task, and the other small tasks you can do it later. If the task is big, then you should break it down into smaller parts to avoid overwhelming feelings. When you achieve your daily target, then feel good and consider it a success.
In order to fuel your brain, you should eat high fibrous food, vegetable, and fruits. Low sugary food items would make you feel dizzy and drowsy. Coconut oil, avocados, berries, and nuts are the healthy fats that would help your body to perform various functions smoothly. Studies have found that food like blueberries could improve your memory and focus for five hours.
Listen to Music
Music is a very good therapeutic approach for your brain. It is important to keep in mind that music has two effects; it could either calm down your brain or distract your attention. Researchers said that classical music, solo instrumental music, water flowing music, and other natural music help you to focus your attention.
A study conducted by Harvard Men’s Health Watch in 2013 showed that performing exercise regularly releases a chemical that improves your mental sharpness, concentration, and memory. Studies have also found that exercises improve the serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine level of your brain. In short, physical movement removes the tension in your body and relaxes your muscles.
Train your Brain
Research studies have shown that training your brain into performing various activities improves your focus and cognitive capabilities. Brain games improve your problem-solving skills, processing, and short-term memory. Some of the main brain games are chess, skudo, jigsaw puzzles, and much more.
Spend Time in Nature
Studies have shown that having plants in the office and at home have a great impact on your productivity and concentration level. Plants also amplify the air quality and workplace satisfaction level. Therefore, you should take some time off to walk in the country in order to refresh your mood and mind.
When you concentrate on something for a very long time, then your attention would start fading away. You won’t be able to put all of your focus on the main point. Therefore, you should take a break and shift your attention to the other tasks, and it would improve your focus. When you feel stuck while working on the project, then you should have some walk, talk to friends, and divert your attention to other things.
Live in the Moment
When you can’t concentrate on a particular project, then you should remind yourself that focusing your attention is always your choice. It’s difficult to focus when your mind is either worrying about the past or the future. Therefore, you should acknowledge the impact, learn from the mistakes, and let it go. You should develop a habit and train your mind to live in the moment.
Many factors disturb your sleep schedules like watching TV at bedtime and electronic devices like tablets, smartphones, and computers. If you’re exposed to the LED screen often, then you should consider using blue light glasses or avoid them before going to bed.
Mindfulness meditation is a very good exercise to improve your focus and mental well-being. Meditation calms down your mind and relaxes your body. However, when you focus on breathing and don’t allow your attention to get distracted. It is a very good practice and it teaches you to bring your attention back to the main work.
There is a misconception that multitasking is a good skill for productivity. In fact, the reality is it lowers your productivity and focusing level. Lower productivity could lead to physical exhaustion and burnout. For instance, multitasking means that you’re writing a report, talking to someone over the phone, and sending orders. It comprises the quality of your work and lowers productivity.
You can’t focus on your work if your attention is distracted by social media, notifications, ringing, and vibrations of your phone. You should turn off the notifications on your phone and keep your phone out of your sight. According to a study conducted by HBR, the cognitive capability of your mind would be better when your phone is away.
Conclusion: How to Improve Focus and Concentration
After an in-depth study of how to improve focus and concentration; we’ve realized that focusing your attention on work plays a significant role in your life. If you want to increase productivity in your life, then you should follow and practice the abovementioned suggestions in your life.
Ahsan is an accomplished researcher and has a deep insight in worldly life affairs. He goes Live 3 days a week on various social media platforms. Other than research writing, he’s a very interesting person.