Four Ways to Help You Stay Focused
Concentration. That one thing that you need to complete any task. If it is so vital, then why is it so hard to keep hold of?
When you can’t focus, you can’t get things done; your mind wanders and you get side-tracked and you waste your time. You’re easily distracted, and especially when you’re procrastinating doing something you like, such as watching youtube or reading, you want just one more; one more page, one more chapter, one more video.
There are a few simple things you can try to help you stay on task.
Your body temperature plays a big part in how well you can concentrate. Studies have shown that increased body temperature makes us perform better as working memory, alertness, visual attention, and reaction times all improve. When sitting at the computer for hours the cold creeps in especially in an air-conditioned office where the thermostat is always too low. An easy way to stay warm without piling on jumpers and jackets is by using a hot water bottle. It is very quick and easy to fill, use the leftover water when you make a cup of coffee. The direct and gentle heat on your lap or back warms you instantly, is comforting and it is also good to fiddle or fidget with when you’re thinking or have cold hands.
Cut out distracting noises
Noises generally attract your attention and distract you from your work. Some quick and straightforward ways to cut out the noises are earplugs, noise-cancelling headphones, music or just picking a quiet, solitary workplace.
When you do a big project, plan. Set a deadline for every aspect of it so that you know what you’re doing. Write a list so you can tick things off as you go to improve your motivation. If you don’t pre-plan, and you muddle your way through it, you generally get distracted as there is no set task. Make sure to take breaks, so you don’t lose concentration by sitting for extended periods of time.
It’s difficult to work when you are tired (make sure you get enough sleep), hungry (eat regular meals and have healthy snacks close at hand) and remember to drink plenty of water and take regular breaks. Your concentration levels easily slip when you aren’t well rested or your blood sugar level drops too low.
So, there you have it, four things to remember to help you stay focused. Stay warm with a hot water bottle, cut out distracting noises, plan and be healthy. Now to get back to work!
Wright KP Jr., Hull JT, Czeisler CA. (2002) Relationship between alertness, performance and body temperature in humans. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 283:R1370–R1377
, Enhanced mental performance at higher body temperature? Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol