Having the inability to focus can be very damaging to your career and personal life, regardless of whether you’re easily destructible on a daily basis or simply have too much on your plate right now to be able to concentrate on an important project. The good news is that you do not need to allow a lack of focus to derail your next important discussion or presentation. Instead, there are numerous steps that you can take to help you concentrate on the task at hand.
6 Ways to Improve Your Focus
1. Take Nootropics
If you stay abreast of current news and events, you have most likely heard of nootropics. These supplements are also commonly referred to as smart drugs, and they contain properties that are frequently found to provide a boost for a variety of cognitive functions. Although each nootropic may be beneficial, the supplements that are typically associated with offering a focus boost include Alpha GPC, L-Theanine, and Oxiracetam. As an added bonus, each of these nootropics has the potential to provide additional benefits as well. For example, one study indicated that Oxiracetam usage may lead to memory and learning improvements.
2. Get Enough Sleep
Some people look at sleep as a waste of time, but this could not possibly be further from the truth. In fact, if you do not regularly get the minimum recommended amount of sleep every night, you will end up developing concentration issues. To make matters even worse, a lack of sleep can eventually lead to serious medical problems. Adults who fail to get seven to nine hours of sleep will have a more difficult time learning tasks and retaining new information than those who do get seven to nine hours of sleep.
3. Embrace your computer free time
Most of our lives revolve around computers and smartphones, which means: you need to take intentional breaks on a daily basis. A study conducted in 2012 found that avoiding computers for one hour at the start and end of the day can make it easier to focus throughout the rest of your waking hours. If possible, reserve that last hour for unwinding so that it will be easier for you to fall asleep.
4. Prioritize every task
It is easier to tackle big tasks earlier in the day, so consider prioritizing your day accordingly. If you have one large project, and two smaller ones that you need to work on tomorrow, work on the the large project first and save the other two projects for the second half of the day. This will not only increase your ability to focus on each task, but it will also make the end of your day less stressful.
5. Exercise frequently
Working out at least three times per week will make you physically healthier, and it has also been shown to give you a cognitive boost. The reality is that stress is one of the main factors that makes it difficult to concentrate, but something as simple as walking for 20 minutes will reduce the amount of stress hormones that are in your body. As an added bonus, exercising can help you regulate your sleep cycles.
6. Utilize the Pomodoro Technique
Do you find your mind wandering frequently while you are trying to finish an important task? If so, you may be able to use the Pomodoro Technique to train your brain to stay on task. In a nutshell, this technique involves working for 25 minutes and then rewarding yourself with a five minute break. If you were to do this throughout an eight hour workday, you would end up actively working for six hours and 40 minutes. This might seem like a reduction in time, but odds are you aren't currently focusing intently on anything work related for that long of a time period on a daily basis anyway. Even if you currently stay at your desk for eight hours straight, the Pomodoro Technique should enable you to produce higher quality work while honoring your need for short mental breaks.
Ultimately, the best way to improve your focus is to recognize what your weaknesses are and provide yourself with the necessary tools to reach your goals. Getting enough sleep, steering clear of computers for two hours per day, taking nootropic supplements, exercising, prioritizing tasks and harnessing the productive power of the Pomodoro Technique are all proven ways for people to enhance their ability to concentrate. Therefore, combining two or more of these options together is a recipe for success.