Every person who wants to succeed in life must have rituals and follow some techniques to Focus, stay sharp, and alert for being productive and achieve in life. The average person, across the globe, consumes three cups of coffee daily. In Fact in my surroundings (in Sindh) people consumes more than 3 cups, on average. If you’re anything like me, your brain’s “on button” is that morning (and afternoon) pick-me-up. Perhaps tea is more than just a cup of tea for these people.
Techniques to Focus and Be Productive
You’re unsure about where to start. Here are 16 science-based techniques to focus, stay sharp and alert and be productive, to help you turn your “on” switch in professional and personal life, stay focused, and maintain it that way.
1. Allow Your Mind to Wander
For tasks to be completed and done properly, one must maintain attention. Why then would you let your thoughts wander?
Despite what it may seem like, periodically allowing oneself to stray from the path can increase awareness and, as a consequence, productivity.
All our daily tasks require mental effort, but “an intense focus” requires a lot of headspaces to get the results.
Consider this warning before deciding what to have for dinner tonight. According to psychologists, although deliberate, planned daydreaming might increase one’s capacity to stay attentive, unintentional daydreaming can have the opposite effect.
Therefore, making strategic use of a wandering mind is the greatest way to benefit from it.
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2. Take a Break
How might a break from your job or schoolwork help you focus more? Although it may seem illogical, experts claim that this concept actually works.
Imagine you’ve been working on the same project for a few hours when all of a sudden, your focus wanders. You force yourself to stay at your desk even if it’s difficult to stay focused on the work at hand. But your inability to concentrate just increases your tension and worry that you won’t finish your assignment in time.
Most likely, you’ve been there before. Next time, when you first notice your focus waning, take a little mental break. Take a little stroll, get some sun, or rehydrate with a cold beverage or a portion of healthy food.
The truth is that working continuously for a lengthy period of time isn’t necessarily as fruitful as it seems. To stay sharp, your brain needs to rest for a short period, maybe for seconds.
Of course, this does not mean that you may leave the office whenever the need comes. What that implies is that you may significantly increase your alertness and attention by being deliberate about when and how you take breaks.
According to studies, awareness comes in cycles, and the majority of individuals can’t focus for more than 90-minute blocks without needing a 15-minute break. Scientists have found that restarting the task can improve your productivity level.
Don’t be shocked if you feel more driven, focused, or even creative when you go back to work. Breaks can improve all of these processes.
3. Spend some time in nature
Try to spend time outside every day, even for a short while, if you want to improve your attention organically. Consider taking a little stroll around a park. Sitting on your lawn or garden may also be beneficial. Every natural setting offers advantages.
The American Psychological Association (APA) asserts that spending time outdoors can benefit one’s physical and mental health.
According to 2014 research, having plants around the office may improve the air quality, boost productivity, and improve worker happiness.
For a variety of advantageous effects, consider adding a few plants to your house or office. If you don’t have a green thumb, succulents are excellent low-maintenance plants to choose from.
Natural environments are good for kids too. Over 1,000 children were tracked from birth to age 7 in a study that was published in 2017. The goal of the study was to ascertain if a child’s attention may be impacted by growing up surrounded by trees and other vegetation at home or in the community.
According to the study, children’s attention spans may increase and their brains may grow more favorably in natural settings.
According to studies, spending time outdoors can:
- lift their spirits
- boost their social contacts, clear up their thinking, and
- decrease ADHD symptoms
4. Start Playing Games
There may be other types of games besides brain games that might enhance focus. Additionally, a more recent study shows that playing video games may improve attentiveness.
There is evidence that one hour of gaming might aid increase visual selective attention, according to 2018 research involving 29 adults (VSA). VSA is the capacity to focus while disregarding distractions in a particular job.
These results cannot be considered definitive due to the tiny sample size of this investigation. The duration of this rise in VSA was not also determined by the research.
The authors of the study advise more investigation into how playing video games might improve mental activity and focus.
A 2017 study examined 100 research that investigated the potential impact of video games on cognitive performance. The findings imply that playing video games may cause a variety of brain changes, including an increase in concentration and attention.
The research focus on such vastly disparate themes as video game addiction and the potential impacts of violent video games was one of the review’s many weaknesses. These conclusions may be supported by studies that are particularly intended to examine the advantages of video games.
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5. Train Your Brain
The good news is that you can change your brain. You may teach yourself to become more focused and attentive if they aren’t your natural traits.
One approach to achieve it is to concentrate on cognitively stimulating activities, such as playing games that need strategic thought.
One 2015 study found that persons who engaged in brain-training activities like crossword puzzles five days a week for 15 minutes had an increase in their ability to concentrate.
Increase your brain power with Exercises.
Certain game styles might aid in improving your ability to concentrate. Try:
- Puzzles like crossword and jigsaw
- word search or searches
- memory exercises
Spending 15 minutes a day, five days a week, on brain training exercises may help with focus, according to a 2015 study of 4,715 individuals.
Playing games that exercise your brain can also improve your processing and problem-solving abilities, working memory, and short-term memory.
Children’s brain training is also effective. Purchase a book of crossword puzzles, work on a jigsaw puzzle together, or engage in a memory game.
Even the act of coloring can help kids or adults focus better. Adult coloring books sometimes provide more intricate coloring sheets that older kids might like.
Since memory and focus frequently tend to deteriorate with age, the impacts of brain training games may be more significant for older persons.
2,832 older adults were the subject of a 2014 study, and participants were followed up ten years later. Cognitive training for older persons who completed 10 to 14 sessions led to improvements in thinking, remembering, and processing abilities.
Most research participants said they could perform daily tasks at least as well as they could at the start of the trial, if not better, after ten years.
6. Give meditation a try
The best strategy for teaching my brain to concentrate is practicing mindfulness and meditation. You may or may not agree with me that mindfulness has a long list of health advantages, according to 2011 studies, it can also enhance memory, focus, and attention besides other health benefits to our physical and mental state.
Start slow but deliberately if using a yoga mat for full-fledged meditation practice. At my work, I prefer to take a few slow, deep breaths and pay attention to how I feel and also my surroundings. Try to keep a smile through or after a session. You may also just use all five of your senses—smell, touch, sight, and so on—to feel it and observe your environment. Even brief mindfulness sessions like these can train your brain to get what you desire.
7. Try Music
Listening to music depending on the person, listening to music while working or studying may improve attention.
According to a study, employing natural sounds or white noise to block out background noise can also help you focus and perform other mental tasks better, even if you don’t like listening to music while you work.
Music is not universally regarded as beneficial, particularly when learning a difficult subject.
Here are some recommendations if you decide to listen to music:
- Stream instrumental music instead of lyrics-heavy tunes.
- Keep the music playing in the background.
- Elect for neutral music instead of songs you love or dislike.
- If not, listening to music could be more distracting than not.
8. Get Some Exercise
Because your brain and body are closely interconnected, what you do physically directly affects how you feel intellectually. Regular exercise is a quick and easy approach to enhancing your brain function so you can remain focused at work, even if it’s only a couple of times a week of yoga or a brisk walk.
Research repeatedly demonstrates that those who regularly work out and are physically fitter are also better at performing cognitive activities that call for prolonged attention. Another study showed that with higher weekly activity levels had a great and longer attentions duration and improved ability to focus in older persons.
Additionally, you’ll discover that remaining physically active increases your general vigor, helping you avoid dozing off at your desk.
Apart from the countless other advantages of regular exercise, attention will improve. Everyone benefits from exercise. After just 4 weeks, a 2018 study including 116 fifth-graders revealed evidence that daily physical activity may assist to increase both focus and attention.
A year of moderate aerobic physical exercise, according to another study on older persons, may be able to prevent or even restore memory loss brought on by age-related brain shrinkage.
Do your best.
Although aerobic exercise is advised by experts, making any effort is preferable to doing nothing at all. You could wish to exercise more or less depending on your own fitness and weight objectives.
The suggested quantity of exercise may not always be attainable, particularly if you have physical or mental health issues.
Try to come up with enjoyable methods to include exercise in your day if you struggle to find the time or don’t want to join a gym. You are exercising if your heart rate increases.
- Do you have the ability to walk your children to school?
- Can you get up 20 minutes earlier each day so you have time to jog around your neighborhood?
- Can you make two or three visits on your bike or on foot to the grocery store each week?
- Can you walk rather than drive to the coffee shop?
If at all possible, consider exercising just before you need to concentrate or when taking a mental break.
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9. Do a concentration workout
Children that struggle with concentration benefit greatly from the concentration exercises mentioned below. This mental exercise is giving something your entire attention for a predetermined amount of time.
Try the following things:
- Spend 15 minutes doodling or drawing.
- Throw a balloon or tiny ball around with a friend for a while.
- Set a 3 to 5-minute timer. Limit your blinking as much as you can.
- Avoid biting into hard candy or lollipop until it is completely gone. Pay attention to the taste, how the candy feels on your tongue, and how long it takes you to finish it.
Ask your kids to write a brief explanation or draw a picture of how they felt after doing one of the exercises. Young children can express their emotions verbally.
They may practice these abilities for use in daily work by discussing where they lost attention and how they were able to get it back.
Adults may also benefit from a focus exercise, so feel free to try it out for yourself.
10. Monitor your Meal
By sharpening your concentration first thing in the morning, breakfast can assist. Aim for a dinner that is heavy in protein and fiber and low in added sweets. Good breakfast options include whole-grain bread with eggs, plain yogurt with fruit, and oatmeal.
The meals you eat can have an impact on cognitive processes including memory and focus. Avoid processed meals, excessive amounts of sugar and extremely greasy or fatty foods to improve focus.
Try consuming more of the following foods instead:
- Fluffy fish (think salmon and trout)
- eggs (white and yolk both)
There are more foods for the brain on this list.
The ability to concentrate might benefit from maintaining hydration. Concentration and memory can both suffer from even minor dehydration.
11. Don’t Rush and Declutter Your Office Space
One of the first things I do when I’m struggling to focus and remain interested in a task at work is to glance at myself.
According to a scientific study, a few minutes spent organizing your environment may have a significant influence on your cognitive capacities. Having too much clutter in one’s environment reduces the brain’s ability to focus and digest information by adding another distraction, according to one group of experts.
All of us, including me, are guilty of rushing through our mountain of work. Rushing through your to-do list, though, won’t benefit you if you have a lot on your plate.
Neurobiology is at the foundation of the scientific case for slowing down. Our brains have two different ways of thinking: an instinctual, quick system and a slower, more deliberate system. As you might expect, going faster is associated with feeling more nervous.
That may or may not be a good thing for most people. When a saber-toothed tiger is after you, it’s adaptive to be frantic, yet running away from your attacker also impairs your concentration.
On the other side, slowing down causes your parasympathetic nervous system to become active, which reduces your anxiety and engages your rational brain.
So, when you deliberately slow your mind and body down, you’ll not only be able to focus on the work at hand, but you’ll also be better at coming up with original ideas and solving difficulties.
12. Avoid multitasking
Multitasking is becoming a common practice. Picking up children from school while talking on the phone and figuring out the best time to arrange an appointment is multitasking, even if you are unaware of it.
Although it appears like a productive strategy to accomplish a lot, several scientists have questioned this. According to studies, we are not as adept at multitasking as we want to believe. The brain is not built to handle performing two or more tasks at once, to start with. In reality, we are shifting from one duty to another. We are unable to focus entirely on any of those responsibilities as a result.
You could discover that you can focus better on each task if you have the opportunity to work on one at a time.
13. Improve Your Sleep
Lack of sleep may quickly impair memory, attention, and other cognitive processes, including focus.
Occasionally not getting enough sleep might not be that bad for you. However, consistently not getting enough sleep might impact your attitude and productivity at work.
Overexertion can even impair reflexes and impair your ability to drive or do other everyday duties.
It might be challenging to obtain enough sleep occasionally due to a busy schedule, health concerns, and other circumstances. However, it’s crucial to make an effort to eat around the suggested amount on most evenings.
No matter how much coffee you drink, a bad night’s sleep will always hinder your ability to stay aware and focused. One research found that even one night of sleep deprivation can affect one’s ability to maintain composure and pay attention.
Even while it may not seem like productivity to leave work early to rest, getting enough sleep will ultimately be good for your job and your brain. Keep in mind that a relaxed body equals a rested mind. Don’t overwork yourself by logging hours that interfere with your capacity to relax if you want to stay focused at work.
If getting eight hours of sleep isn’t possible, try getting some shut-eye throughout the day. According to studies, taking quick power naps might increase your energy and attention, which will help you stay alert.
Adults should seek 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, according to many experts.
The following advice can help you get a better night’s sleep:
An hour before going to bed, turn off the TV and put away screens.
Maintain a pleasant, cozy temperature in your space.
Relax before bed with calming music, a hot bath, or a good book.
Even on weekends, go to bed and rise at around the same hour every day.
Regular exercise is important, but avoid a strenuous activity right before night.
14. Drink caffeine
Caffeine is not required in your diet if you wish to avoid it, although studies do indicate that it may improve focus and attention.
Consider drinking some coffee or green tea if you notice your level of focus starting to wane. If you don’t drink coffee or tea, a portion of dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao can provide similar advantages.
Phytochemicals naturally present in matcha, a form of green tea, have been shown in a 2017 study to not only boost cognitive function but also support relaxation. So if coffee makes you nervous or on edge, matcha can be a decent alternative.
15. Set a timer
Setting aside time for particular chores will help you concentrate on one item at a time and reduce the chance of external distractions. Because you are aware of the time constraints, setting time limitations can also help you focus your energies on the work at hand.
The COVID-19 epidemic caused a large number of individuals to switch to working from home.
This resulted in:
- increased stress, distraction, and
- decreased productivity
The following advice has been put out by researchers who are looking for strategies to assist people in overcoming these obstacles:
Make a time window on your schedule to complete your to-do list, and stick to it.
Timeboxing has the following benefits for you:
Ensure that duties are completed and notify others when a meeting time is convenient for you separate work from personal life, if necessary.
Using a timer
For instance, the Marinara Timer suggests working for 25 minutes and then taking a 5-minute rest. The individual will take a 15-minute rest after four blocks of 25 minutes. In this manner, you may give a task your entire attention for the specified time and work on something else between breaks.
Time management apps
You may use these to set a phone-free goal. For instance, “Forest” instructs you to wait to use the gadget until a virtual tree has grown in size. The tree will perish if you use the phone too soon. You may create daily objectives for certain websites, such as the news or social media, using other programs.
16. Try supplements
Some medications may aid in enhancing brain function and attention.
People take the following supplements:
- Banister bacopa (Brahmi)
- fatty acids omega-3
- ginseng gingko biloba
- Rose rhodiola tyrosine
- rosemary root
The effectiveness and safety of these supplements for all people, however, have not been sufficiently shown by the study.
Additionally, supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As a result, you cannot be certain of the particular chemicals or the interactions these supplements will have with other medications.
Before attempting any supplements, always talk to your doctor, especially if you have any health issues or allergies. A doctor may discuss the potential advantages and disadvantages of supplements with you and suggest the one that will work best for you.
Try these techniques to focus and stay alert and be productive.
Other Possible Treatments with above Techniques to Focus
Consider seeking a professional opinion if these ideas prove ineffective. Even if you’re not aware of it, something more serious than common distractions can be interfering with your capacity to focus.
A therapist might be a good place to start, particularly if you’re stressed out or have seen changes in your mood. Sometimes a qualified specialist is required to identify these signs.
Untreated ADHD makes it difficult for many individuals to concentrate or pay attention for extended periods of time. An expert in mental health can assist with the diagnosis of this or any other issue and assist you in beginning therapy.
Once you receive a diagnosis, therapy, medication, and other treatment modalities can assist in reducing your symptoms.
To increase attention, some people utilize prescription medications or illicit substances like nootropics, some of which might have very negative side effects. Never take medication unless your doctor has prescribed it, and always adhere to their recommendations.
Final Thoughts of Techniques to Focus, being sharp and stay alert and be productive:
Don’t give up if you’re finding it difficult to remain vigilant, focused, and sharp; even the most successful individuals occasionally get stuck.
While some techniques for doing so could be effective, others might not seem to have much of an impact on you. Try a variety of strategies to determine what works best.
The advantages of specific techniques, including brain training, are still up for dispute among experts. However, the research that is now available indicates that many people can benefit from the majority of these suggestions, at least modestly.
Additionally, using these suggestions shouldn’t have any bad impacts because they are unlikely to impair focus or result in any other undesirable consequences.
Just be careful to consult your doctor if the concentration is really difficult. It’s crucial to rule out catastrophic conditions such as brain traumas since there could be an underlying cause. You’ll not only be more productive at work if you use science-based techniques to maintain mental acuity, but you’ll also benefit mentally and physically, which may enhance your quality of life overall.