Do you ever feel like no matter how hard you push yourself you just can’t seem to focus and concentrate on the important things you need to do? It can be incredibly frustrating to lose focus for anyone. Especially when you have a deadline or something that just can’t be pushed to the side any longer.
It can also become stressful if your lack of focus starts to have a negative impact on your life. Like missing deadlines or feeling unaccomplished. These types of situations only seem to spiral and get worse the longer your mental concentration doesn’t want to cooperate.
When you think about how to improve focus, you might think it’s as simple as forcing yourself to concentrate. The truth is, there are many ways to help improve your focus and help you progress towards the ability to control your mental concentration. Once you do, you only benefit as these improvements start to have an effect on how you function on a daily basis.
Tips to Improve Mental Concentration
You’ll be happy to know that improving your focus is a lot more at reach than you might think. Even as our attention spans become shorter and distractions become more present in our day to day.
It might seem a bit crazy, but you can actually think of focus like a muscle you can build. With the right mind set, knowledge, and tools, you can set yourself up for success in an environment made to help you focus. These are our favorite ways for how to improve focus and help yourself get everything done in the process!
Tell Your Brain How to Focus
It might sound a little funny, but telling your brain what you need it to do is sometimes the key to gaining better focus. Before you sit down to complete a task, tell your brain to enter into a calm state. You might take a moment to breathe and get comfortable in order to help your mind and body calm down.
Helping yourself to get into a relaxed state by telling your brain what you want it to do can do wonders for your ability to concentrate.
Before you dive into whatever it is you need to get done, you may want to assess your awareness. Be aware of your current mental state and just how strong your focus is in the present moment.
Whether you’re in a good mental state or not to focus, sometimes just being aware of your current state and acknowledging it can help you to get a better understanding of yourself. This only helps you to understand what areas you need to improve on when it comes to focusing.
Unplug for a While
You might feel like your phone is your lifeline when it comes to communication and getting things done. While that may be true, it could also be the thing that’s holding you back from true concentration.
It can be beneficial to do yourself a favor and turn your phone off for a while. Even just 30 minutes at the beginning of the day or some time in the afternoon can help you to get things done. It eliminates the feeling of needing to answer each and every email or message as they come in, and takes away the distraction.
Grab an Attention Booster
You know your classic coffee as the magic liquid that helps you to wake up. But it could also be the attention booster you need to focus. A quick trip to the coffee shop in the afternoon can be great for getting a quick bit of caffeine into your system and therefore boosting your cognition.
Not only that, getting outside for a bit in order to retrieve your coffee can be a great reset for your mental health and your capacity to concentrate.
Adjust the Temperature
Did you know the temperature in the room could have an impact on your ability to focus? If it’s too hot or cold, your productivity could suffer as your body becomes distracted by its surroundings.
Those who work in a temperature around 71 degrees are often able to concentrate better and make fewer mistakes as they work. Try getting up and adjusting your thermostat to get the perfect concentration temperature!
Throw on Some Tunes
Music can do wonders for your ability to focus. Too much background noise can be distracting. But a little bit of music might just be the secret to helping you focus on the thoughts in your head.
Try choosing a song you like and seeing how it impacts your ability to focus. You can read a little bit more about music and its effects on our mental well-being here.
Take a Break
You’re thinking about getting things done, not about taking time off from getting them done!
The reality is that taking breaks can be incredible for helping you to focus better when you return to your work. That’s because after a while your focus will start to dissipate. It becomes more and more challenging to use your mental power on the tasks at hand.
Be sure to give yourself the occasional mental break as you go so you can recharge. Even just a short amount of time can help to sharpen your focus and improve your performance when you return.
Drawing and doodling isn’t probably something that first comes to mind when it comes to how to improve mental clarity and focus. However, if you’re taking part in a lengthy meeting it can help you to focus on whatever it might be that’s being discussed.
Doodling is known to help stabilize arousal and keep you on your toes. Instead of zoning out, you’re better able to zone in and listen to important conversations and information.
Focus on an Anchor Task
One of our favorite hacks for focusing is to choose one anchor task that you’re going to focus on for the day. Your goal should be to make that one anchor task a priority and make it a non-negotiable for completing.
That way you’ll be sure to get the job done on the day you choose as you’ve made it a priority rather than bouncing from task to task.
Understand Your Own Energy
Sometimes it’s not the task or the ability to concentrate, it’s just the amount of energy you have in that current moment. You might try scheduling tasks that need your undivided attention at a certain time of day when you know you’re going to have the most energy.
For some that may mean scheduling it for the morning and for others in the afternoon or evening. Be strategic about your timing and start to practice some awareness around when your energy is at its highest.
Leave Your Emails for the Afternoon
When you’re trying to focus, you have to make an effort to eliminate distractions. A lot of the time that means leaving your emails to the afternoon. Or a later time until you’ve accomplished your tasks and goals.
If you leave your email until a later time, you’ll be better able to focus on your own agenda rather than getting to the needs of others. You also put your energy towards your own tasks first.
Get a Full Screen
As you’re working away on your computer there’s tons of potential for messages, emails and more to pop up and distract you. Try working on full screen mode in order to keep the distractions away and help your focus.
When your tasks are the only things you can see on your screen, you’ll be better able to concentrate on them. It’s also helpful when you can’t see other icons on your desktop that may pull your attention and entice you to click on them.
Remove the Distractions from Early Morning Focus
In order to make sure you get your most important tasks done first, you should try to schedule them into your mornings. That way if there’s anything else urgent that pops up throughout the day, you’ll have already completed the most important thing on your plate. You’ll be able to be more flexible throughout the remainder of your day.
That means pushing off any distractions that could affect your morning.
Limit Your Focus
To get everything done, you may feel the need to multitask and balance all of your obligations at once. The best way to get things done quickly however, is to limit your focus to just one of those obligations.
You might try thinking about your focus as a valuable resource. If you try to spread that resource too thin, you won’t be able to get everything done to its best potential. Limit that resource to one thing and you’ll be much better off.
Live in the Moment
When you tune out of the present moment it can be difficult to stay mentally focused. Try to make a genuine effort towards being present and living in the moment as it can make a big difference when it comes to keeping your attention sharp.
Practicing being in the moment can take time and effort. However, it's sure to pay off in the long run!
Just like how you should try to live in the moment, it’s important to make an effort to be mindful whenever possible. Mindfulness comes with a lot of health benefits, one of them being improvement in concentration.
Those who practice mindfulness are often able to focus on a task for longer and switch between different tasks less frequently. You might try something like meditation to help you become more mindful.
The truth is that those who focus best are those who practice different techniques often and are dedicated to improving. Even those who are known for being great at focusing have to continue to improve their skills over time.
Be diligent about keeping distractions away when it’s time to focus and try to understand the value of your own time.
One of our favorite methods for improving focus is with vagus nerve stimulation using Xen. The vagus nerve is the longest in the autonomic nervous system. It extends to nearly every major system in the body. It's also the main component of the parasympathetic nervous system. That's why vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) can be a great way to trigger the parasympathetic nervous system to help you focus.
Xen by Neuvana can be used to help stimulate the vagus nerve as they deliver gentle micropulses directly to the vagus nerve located in your ear. It pairs wirelessly to your Neuvana app, where you can customize your sessions. This ultimately helps you to relax and focus on whatever task you may need to get done.
Taking Action Towards Improving Focus
At the end of the day no technique for improving your focus is going to be possible without the willingness to take action. Whether it’s getting rid of distractions, shifting from difficult to easy tasks or even trying out a new technology to help you, it’s up to you to take action and make improvements for yourself!
Your ability to implement change only means you benefit in the long run. Meeting deadlines and working towards your goals becomes a lot easier as you work yourself. Remember that improvement doesn’t usually happen overnight, so be sure to use trial and error, and practice patience when it comes to improving your mental concentration.
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