How to improve focus when it matters most
The productivity problem
You have a list of 100 items you didn’t finish last week…but you’re scrolling through Instagram.
You should be preparing for your big interview tomorrow, but your thoughts keep circling back to that weird conversation you had with your friend yesterday.
Your editor is pushing you to meet your next deadline, but you find yourself gazing into the distance and pondering the meaning of life.
When did productivity become so elusive? Why is it so difficult to discover how to improve focus?
You might blame the fact that you’re newly working from home, but studies show those who work from home have a 13% higher productivity rate than those in the office.
Here’s the truth: the average person is distracted at least 56 times per day and requires a total of about two hours a day to recover from those distractions.
Our society is collectively suffering from a productivity problem. Stress, social media, and anxiety have teamed up to make it almost impossible for us to stay focused on what we need to accomplish.
Trust me, I’m right there with you. I get so frustrated when I can’t focus on work.
I’ve tried using coffee, energy drinks, and just plain willpower–but none of those things worked for me. I just couldn’t seem to figure out how to focus better at work…until I found these tricks.
Try them for yourself and see which ones make a difference for you.
7 tips for how to improve focus
- Get the deep sleep you need
We’ve all had those days when we can’t seem to focus no matter how hard we try…and those days often correspond to the nights we don’t sleep well. There’s simply no way to concentrate if you are not regularly getting a good night’s sleep.
Although it may seem like staying up late is necessary to make sure your projects get done on time, a lack of sleep will likely affect the quality of your work since it will prevent you from being able to focus. Prioritize sleep and you’ll see how a whole host of problems get erased.
The most important type of sleep is deep sleep. If you’re not getting enough deep sleep, your ability to focus is probably suffering. Find out how to increase deep sleep here.
- Exercise daily
When you have a lot to do, it can seem impossible to find time to exercise every day. Once you make it a part of your routine, however, you’ll see how it improves your focus in an irreplaceable way. If you can swing it, go outside for your daily workout. Studies show that spending just two hours a week in nature improves overall health and well-being.
You don’t have to go out and run 15 miles every day…unless that’s your thing. Sometimes all you need is a short walk. In fact, I was having trouble focusing on writing this article (go figure) so I went out for a brief walk. Now I’m perfectly concentrated (and writing a kick-ass article, if I do say so myself).
- Manage your time effectively
There’s nothing that will kill your ability to focus faster than an unprioritized, overwhelming to-do list. That only invites procrastination. Trust me, it’s way easier to boost your productivity if you have a clear plan for the workday.
Before you sit down to work (or stand up to work if you have one of those cool standing desks), spend a few minutes determining which tasks absolutely must get finished that day. Then finish those tasks first, or schedule them for the time of day when you typically have the most energy.
Discover other useful time management tips here.
- Stop multitasking
Are you someone who prides yourself on your ability to multitask? Well, it might not actually be the skill that was primarily responsible for your rise to greatness. In fact, studies show that people have a slower response time to specific tasks when they are switching between multiple tasks instead of focusing on one task at a time.
Instead of trying to multitask, give yourself the mental gift of working on one task at a time. Not only will your productivity increase, but you’ll feel less anxious as well. Sometimes this means designating specific times of day to check email and then turning off your email notifications for the rest of the day. That constant pinging is sure to distract you and throw off your focus.
- Practice mindfulness
Meditation and other mindfulness practices are all the rage right now…and for good reason. Mindfulness, otherwise known as focusing on what you’re doing in the present moment, expands your attention span so you can focus better even when you’re not conscientiously being mindful.
Incorporate mindfulness into each day in whatever way works best for you. Maybe this means savoring each bite of your breakfast or feeling the texture of the leaves you pass on your morning walk. It can be as simple as taking a few minutes to sit down and feel the ground beneath your feet.
For tips on how to meditate when you’re feeling stressed, go here.
- Play games that keep you mentally sharp
In order to improve your ability to focus, it’s important to sharpen your mind. Rather than spending all of your off-time watching Netflix, consider spending some time doing one or more of the following mind-building activities:
- Crossword puzzles
- Word searches
- Memory games
- Jigsaw puzzles
This may come as a surprise to you, but video games also have the potential to increase your focus and attention. Some studies suggest that playing video games for one hour per day can improve visual selective attention, which is your ability to concentrate on a specific task and ignore the distractions around you.
- Listen to the sounds of nature
What do you listen to while you work? You might listen to classical music…or nothing at all. While both of these options are considered good for boosting productivity, research shows that listening to nature sounds can also optimize your ability to concentrate.
It’s incredibly convenient to find nature sounds to listen to. Right now, I’m listening to a YouTube video called “Relaxing River Sounds.” Besides having a soothing effect, listening to the sounds of nature can also help you focus when you’re struggling to concentrate.
The secret that showed me how to focus better at work
While the above tips certainly helped me improve my focus, there’s one tool that surpassed them all. It’s called Hapbee.
Hapbee is a wellness wearable that allows you to choose how you feel. It uses groundbreaking ulRFE technology to send safe signals to your brain that affect your mood–no substances required.
The two Hapbee signals that are most helpful for boosting productivity are Alert and Focus. Turning on one of these signals clears my brain fog and enhances my ability to concentrate on work or whatever I’m doing.
Hapbee is a shortcut to focusing better at work and a great way to avoid relying too much on caffeine or energy drinks. I can’t imagine what my work life would look like without Hapbee.
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