Table of Contents
- The Importance of Staying Focused
- How to Have More Energy
- Tips on How to Be More Focused
- Focusing Your Energy Toward a More Successful Life
Almost three out of four workers admitted to feeling distracted when they’re at work. These distractions were often due to the lack of private workspaces especially at offices with open floor plans.
Distractions affect focus which leads to lower productivity. This can cost companies millions every year. It can also affect employee motivation as tasks become more difficult to complete.
The paradigm shifted last year and forced workers into new work environments at home. They had to figure out how to be more focused despite the new distractions that included less than ideal home workspaces, dealing with kids while working, and screen time replacing physical interaction with coworkers.
Having a daily routine helps. But if even after a year, you’re still struggling with staying focused, here are a few things that may help. These will also help when you get back to your office, if you aren’t already.
The Importance of Staying Focused
“If you can’t focus effectively, you can’t think effectively.”
Dr. Jim Taylor
Focus is the foundation of all thinking. It’s how you start to get your brain functioning and your thought processes moving. Focus or lack of it, affects your decision-making and problem-solving skills, perception, memory, and your ability to reason and learn.
- Your ability to think clearly lessens
- You’ll be ineffective at work
- You’ll be less efficient and waste time
- You’ll be less productive and your quality of work will suffer
Your ability to focus is, therefore, essential if you want to be successful. Success takes energy and drive and you lose these when you lose focus.
How to Have More Energy
Energy flows where attention goes. This is according to motivational speaker Tony Robbins. So which comes first? Does focus give you energy? Or does energy give you more focus? They actually work hand in hand.
Focus and energy are two of the three components of productivity. The third is time. If you manage all three well, you’re on your way to being more successful at what you do.
Time Management – It’s important to work on your high priority tasks when you have the most energy and focus. It means knowing yourself well enough to know when it’s the right time to work on the important things.
Managing Your Focus – Don’t waste that period of optimal energy and focus. Remove all distractions so that you effectively use this time to be as productive as possible.
Managing Your Energy – The onus is on you to find the motivation to get your tasks done.
Unfortunately finding the motivation can be difficult no matter how much you try. So in addition to the tips below, there are also some natural herbs you can use to help increase your energy levels.
- Ginseng – has energy-boosting properties that help stimulate brain function resulting in higher levels of alertness and concentration
- Rosemary – as an essential oil, when inhaled, helps to improve cognitive performance
- Sage – has cognitive-enhancing effects mainly in adults that helps to reduce tiredness, improve mood, attention span, and alertness
- Peppermint – simply inhaling this essential oil improves alertness, energy levels, and memory
- Guarana – used in supplements and energy drinks to help boost memory performance, alertness, attention, and helps brain function
- Bacopa Monnieri – boosts brain function and is used to treat various ailments including memory loss, insomnia, and anxiety
- Rhodiola Rosea – boosts your mood and energy levels while improving concentration
- Maca – as a supplement it improves energy levels, mood and athletic performance
- Ashwagandha – used as a dietary supplement it improves athletic performance, mental alertness, and sleep quality
- Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola) – when taken as a supplement it improves mood, alertness and memory and can enhance physical function and strength in older adults
More recently, Delta-8 THC has been shown to improve focus, alertness as well as boost energy. It also helps with sleep and has other benefits. For more information click here.
Tips on How to Be More Focused
Almost everyone strives to be successful at something in life. If your ability to attain success is dependent on your focus, you might be wondering how to be more alert. Here are a few tips that may help.
It’s important that you find what works for you — your lifestyle, your work habits, and your schedule. You are the only one who knows exactly what it will take for you to stay focused and alert, and therefore more successful.
You must get enough sleep to stay focused and alert. Lack of sleep can affect your concentration as well as both your short- and long-term memory.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends seven or more hours of sleep for adults 18 to 60 years old and nine hours for older adults. Many people don’t get the hours needed because they have trouble falling asleep. Here are a few things that may help you fall asleep faster:
- A quiet and cool bedroom, ideally between 60° to 67° Fahrenheit
- After lunch, avoid caffeinated beverages
- Start winding down before your bedtime by taking a warm bath, reading a book, or listening to calming music
- Turn off electronic devices an hour before you go to bed and remove them from your bedroom, if possible.
The light can be distracting and can prevent you from sleeping as it stimulates your brain.
Start Your Day Off Right
It’s important to have a daily/morning routine as you wake up. It sets the tone for the day. There are certain activities that Brain Coack Jim Kwik recommends to jumpstart your brain as well as your day. Here are a few:
- Make your bed
- Drink water and take vitamins
- Focus on breathing
- Take a cold shower
- Create a to-do-list
- Start with your most important tasks
Many people have found it beneficial to wake up early and use these hours to do some of these things. This might also include exercising. Find a routine that works for you.
Early morning exercise can help you to feel energized for the rest of your day. You’re also able to concentrate a lot better right after exercising. But it’s also beneficial if you prefer exercising later in the day.
Exercise improves your cognitive function as well as your physical and mental health. It helps to calm your body because it metabolizes your adrenaline, cortisol, and stress hormones. It also helps you to sleep better.
Eat Well and On Time
Hunger can be distracting. Don’t skip or delay your meals. It’s best to consume a balanced diet that’s rich in lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. These will help you stay energized.
Your snacks between meals should also provide nutritional value and should include nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fresh fruit.
Staying hydrated is important. You should also consider consuming more brain foods such as:
- Green, leafy vegetables including broccoli, kale, and spinach
- Small doses of coffee and tea
- Fatty fish like salmon
- Various types of berries including strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries
A good diet will give you the nutrition needed to keep your brain and body energized. It will also keep you well-fed so that hunger won’t be a distraction.
Try to reduce as many distractions as possible by going to a quiet area. Ensure your workspace is comfortable, close the door, and let your family know that there should be no disturbances for at least one hour unless there’s an emergency. You might even have to define what constitutes an emergency so that it’s clear.
The biggest distraction for many is the phone. It’s easy for alerts to be distracting and just checking one can lead to hours of scrolling through social media or responding to messages. Turn off your phone or put it in another room. If you can’t do this, at least turn off notifications so that you’re not distracted by the sound of the alerts.
Finally, close off non-essential applications on your computer and completely focus on the job at hand. Noise-canceling headphones may also help to tune out the noises around you, especially if a quiet spot isn’t available.
Coffee and other caffeinated drinks in small doses can help you focus. But moderation is the key to getting the benefits of the cognitive-enhancing properties of caffeine. Drinking too much to stay alert may only result in you becoming nervous or anxious which will negatively impact your ability to focus.
Take a Social Media Break
As mentioned before, your phone can be a source of major distraction. One of the main reasons is the countless social media apps that constantly notify you of new posts and activities.
If you don’t trust yourself to just shut off notifications, and you tend to get caught up on social media during breaks, then it may be best to block the social media apps on your computer as well.
This should also include games and other sites with the potential to distract such as Amazon, Netflix, YouTube, and others. Ironically, there are specific apps you can use to block these.
Set SMART Goals
This is especially useful when you have extensive projects to complete. It helps to break it down into manageable parts, so it’s less overwhelming. SMART goals are:
- Specific – Exactly what you need to do
- Measurable – A way to track your progress
- Attainable – It should be realistic and you should be able to complete it by the deadline
- Relevant – How it fits into the overall plan or goal
- Timely – When do you need to have it completed
Focusing on smaller parts of your project will help you maintain focus as you concentrate on the specific tasks. Your motivation will also increase as you achieve each goal.
List Your Daily Tasks
A written plan such as a to-do list can improve your productivity. Choose two or three major tasks from your list, then rank the rest in order of importance. You’ll be able to focus on the more important tasks when your energy level is at its highest and your brain at its freshest.
Focus on Similar Tasks
Multitasking doesn’t work for everyone and may even decrease productivity by 40%. Sometimes it’s best to focus on similar tasks so that transitioning from one to the other is easier.
Try the Pomodoro Technique
Many people swear by this technique which was created in the 80s by Francesco Cirillo. It’s a time management method designed to help you do more in a shorter period of time. It uses the following steps:
- Work for 25 minutes (ensure you set a timer)
- When the time is up, take a break for five minutes
- Set the timer again for 25 minutes and go back to work
- Then break again for five minutes
Repeat this four times then take a longer break of about 20 to 30 minutes. You’ll find that with 25-minute work increments, you’re able to focus and get more done than you did before using the technique.
Mindfulness suggests that your mind should be fully attentive to what’s happening, focused on what you’re doing, and aware of the space you’re moving in.
Mindfulness allows you to stay in the moment. Practicing mindfulness is key when you start to feel your mind wandering. Yoga, meditation, and breathing techniques can all help to train your brain to be more mindful.
Some other things that may help you to focus better include decluttering your home, mental exercise by doing puzzles, meditation, and other forms of brain stimulation as well as active listening, which is a great way to practice staying in the moment.
Focusing Your Energy Toward a More Successful Life
Completing tasks to meet a specific deadline with little or no distractions is basically a fantasy. There will always be distractions and things will always come up that may threaten to affect your progress.
These things may be out of your control, but there are many other things that are. It’s essential that you find a routine that works for you. More importantly, you need to know the tools or methods you can use to get you back on track if you do become distracted.
Biid gives you advice on how to be more focused and so much more. Visit our site for more tips on improving your health, fitness, diet, and nutrition, as well as the most recent advancements in medical technology.