Every one of us, most probably, had some issues with concentration in one way or another. With all the distractions around us, trying to stay focused seems to be hard work.
This digital era has prompted our brains to be bombarded with countless thoughts and information and it is our responsibility to be selective of which thought we should give utmost attention to. It may be easy for us to blame our distractions for not being able to focus but our lack of discipline plays a huge part in it. Whether the culprits may be social media, video games or the clouded thoughts of ‘what if’ and ‘what could have been’, mastering your focus is a sure way ticket to greatness and getting ahead in life.
While frequent distractions affect our productivity, here are some tips to improve concentration in order to take back control of your life and get things done.
1. Eradicate distractions
Though it may be easier said than done, we have to find within us the will to eliminate those distractions that hinder our productivity. It is only you who can determine these unnecessary things that take your attention from the more important ones. If your distractions include social media and television, you can either take a break or limit your screen time. You can turn off your phone notifications as well while doing an important task or even declutter your workspace. If people are the ones that seem to disturb your peace, try to move in a quiet area. Your commitment to choosing discipline will determine how bad you wanted to focus on your goal. You better keep your eyes on the prize, anyway.
2. Exercise regularly
Exercising does not only affect our physical body. It has tremendous effects on our mind as well. Intense physical activities have been known to cause more blood flow to the brain, boosting your attention and focus. Your brain’s dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin levels increase which aids you in added concentration. After all, both your mind and body have to be in sync in order to get things done.
3. Don’t forget to eat
Focusing is an extremely hard task to do with an empty stomach and your brain needs its fuel to be able to function properly. Keep your energy levels up but remember to consume foods that are healthy to your mind and body. Green, leafy vegetables, salmon, berries and walnuts are considered as some of the “brain foods”. As much as possible, try to avoid consuming junk foods as they do more harm than good to our body.
4. Get enough sleep
While many people are used to having fewer hours of sleep, it is worthy to note that sleep does play a huge role in our overall well being. Having enough sleep and rest will benefit both your mind and body and will give you an increase in concentration as well. Sleep deprivation often has a great impact on our focus and cognitive performance, therefore leading to lower alertness and difficulty in learning.
5. Try practicing mindfulness and meditation
As often as we hear it, practicing mindfulness meditation can improve your focus and attention. Meditating, even just for a few minutes per day, has been proven to reduce stress and increase levels of concentration. This can bring relaxation to the brain, improve your memory and help you focus in the present. Dwelling in the past and worrying about the future are distractions that need to be eliminated in order to stay focused and you can do it through mindfulness and meditation.
6. Use the SMART formula
Information overload can be overwhelming so try to break things down in order to see the important tasks and information to attain direction. This goal-setting technique will help you gain more focus and achieve success. The SMART formula should answer the following:
Specific – What is it that needs to be done?
Measurable – How do you track your progress?
Achievable – How can you accomplish it?
Realistic – Can you realistically achieve it?
Timely – When do you have to finish it?
While focus may be the hidden driver to one’s success, it is important to note that discipline is as important as focus is. These two go hand in hand and you should learn how to take control of your life to ladder up to your bigger goals.