Being able to focus is a talent too few possess in a day and age where everything is a distraction. It can be hard to stay focused between constant Zoom meetings, robocalls, and family group texts, and that lack of tunnel vision can be the difference between failure and success. The good news is, that you won’t need a miracle drug to get your mind back on track. Here are ten simple ways you can enhance your focus.
1. Increase Your Concentration Through Puzzles And Brain Games
Puzzles and other mind-stimulating games are great for focus; they strengthen the mind and require concentration. By conquering daily brain teasers, word searches, riddles, and search and finds, you’re not only testing your brain’s ability to solve problems, you’re also working on your attention to detail which is a natural effect of sharpening your focus. Start off simple by playing a board game like Scrabble or downloading Elevate-Brain Training, a free award-winning app.
2. Drown Out Distractions With Music
If you find yourself in the middle of work, unable to focus, try adding some music to the mix. Background music helps drown out surrounding noise and is a giant DND sign for pesky, distracting coworkers. Plus, it can give you the surge of energy you need to double down and get your work done. When selecting a soundtrack, upbeat instrumentals are usually recommended; genres like lo-fi, trance, or hip-hop are great for those. You can try listening to music with lyrics, but you may be tempted to join in on those high notes, which would be counterproductive to focusing.
3. Eliminate Distractions With Your Phone’s Settings
I know you’re thinking this is easier said than done but, really, ignoring your phone is one of the simplest, most effective ways to enhance your focus; the same can be said for any electronic device. Focusing requires us to shut the world out and in 2022, our phones are the holy grail of our fun and communication, making them one of our biggest distractions.
I know it’s tempting to check your phone every time you see it light up or buzz, but luckily there are settings on our phones that can help with that.
- Update your phone’s settings so that calls, texts, and other notifications don’t appear as a banner on your phone’s screen.
- Disable notifications on your downloaded apps, emails, and social media.
- Place your phone on DND, which completely silences your phone. With iOs 15, you can take this feature a step further by putting your phone on “focus,” which will also alert people that you’re away and can’t be reached.
- Remove yourself from unwanted newsletters, group chats, and texting chains.
4. Clear Your Mind With Some Fresh Air
Sometimes we can’t focus because we’re stressed out and overworked; other times, it can be fatigue. Taking a walk will help with both of those things. Being in open, fresh air helps with mental clarity, allowing you to free your mind from mental prisons like stress and anxiety. Plus, nature tends to be one of the only spaces we can go and truly be alone, escaping from a distracting world.
5. Sharpen Your Focus By Writing In A Journal
Writing is another simple way to increase your focus; like puzzles, it requires you to concentrate. To translate your thoughts from your mind onto paper, you have to be attuned to your brain, which demands focus.
Each time you shut out the world, sit down, and write out your thoughts and feelings, you’re not only enhancing your focus, but you’re also practicing a mind clarifying activity that’s recommended by many therapists. If aimlessly writing isn’t your style, look for a journal with writing prompts that’ll give you a question to answer or a topic to write about.
6. Increase Your Brain Function By Reading
Reading is a great way to increase your focus; it improves your cognitive function, which is a fancy way of saying it’ll make you smarter. Reading literally demands your time and attention, a key component of focusing. Reading is a challenge for some; however, not only does it come with great mind-enhancing benefits, but it can be fun, too!
These days, there are so many ways you can consume words that the writing world is your oyster! You could try reading a column in a newspaper, digesting an interview in a magazine, browsing through your favorite blog (it’s this one, I’m sure), or challenging yourself to read a few pages from a book at a time. If you need inspiration, try visiting a local library and enjoy the thrill of the anticipation of getting lost in a new story while also staying distraction-free.
7. Recharge Your Mind By Catching Up On Z’s
Sleeping is a simple step that’s often overlooked and taken for granted, with people opting to fill the void of rest with short-term solutions like caffeine. Taking several shots of espresso may be enough to keep you awake, but it won’t help you focus as much as proper rest can.
Sleeping is helpful for focus because it allows your mind to rest and recharge, giving it the power it needs to keep you on the straight and narrow path to success. However, when it comes to sleep, make sure you’re focusing on quality as much as quantity and taking steps to get peaceful, restful sleep. To help, try establishing a bedtime routine through simple habits like limiting screen time before bed and experimenting with de-stressors like herbal teas and aromatherapy.
8. Keep Yourself Focused By Cleaning Your Work Space
Working in a messy space is not only distracting, but it also triggers anxiety disorders making you feel confused and overwhelmed. To enhance your focus, you’ll need to keep a tidy workspace which will naturally help in eliminating distractions. You can do this simply through routine maintenance and organization like labeling, storage, and tossing things you don’t need. This will make navigation easier and help you focus on your task instead of fighting the urge to clean every five minutes.
9. Take A Moment To Catch Your Breath
When our minds are feeling overworked, it causes stress, making it hard to think, let alone focus. If you find yourself failing at trying to push past your brain’s fatigue, just take a step back and breathe for a second. Breathing exercises like meditation are a great way to re-calibrate your mind and get your attention back on track.
Breathing will also help decrease your heart rate and release tension, helping you to feel more at ease which is a natural remedy for focus. To ease into it, try a guided meditation on Youtube, which is usually recommended for meditating beginners. Or, try a simple exercise like breathing in through your nose for four seconds, holding, and then releasing the breath slowly through your mouth. That ought to do the trick!
10. Physical Activity Gives You A Surge Of Focus And Energy
Exercise is not only good for the body, but it’s great for the mind too. Studies have shown that exercise has long-lasting effects on the mind, including increasing your ability to think and concentrate. Experts at CNBC claim that exercising can improve your ability to focus naturally for up to two hours after physical activity, giving us all the new inspiration we need to hit the gym before work. Scientists suggest doing exercises that increase your heart rate, like dancing, running, or playing sports.
If you’re having trouble focusing, try one of these simple fixes. What have you got to lose (except maybe the distractions).