The Best Life Hacks For Staying Focused

It’s hard to stay focused in a digital world that’s teeming with distractions. As a result, many of us end up spending a large portion of the day with our heads in the clouds. But if you’re serious about improving your sense of focus, a few simple life hacks can help. Here are some of the best ideas out there to help get you started. Hopefully you can stay focused long enough to read it.

Let Your Mind Wander When It Needs To 

It might sound counterintuitive, but letting your mind wander is an integral part of its ability to focus efficiently on what’s important. Everyone, even the most put-together, focused, and mindful person you know, has a finite store of mental energy that they use to focus and complete tasks. To avoid tapping out your supply of mental energy, it’s imperative that you do a little daydreaming when you feel your attention span is nearing its breaking point. That way, you’ll be able to stay focused when you really need to. 

But Don’t Get Carried Away

If you’re interested in life hacks for staying focused, it’s probably a safe bet that you already have the “mind-wandering” thing covered. So if you’ve got a big task ahead of you that you need to stay focused on, it is acceptable, and even necessary, to let your mind wander (as detailed above). But don’t take that as an excuse to go nuts. Keep the day dreams to a minimum.

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Take Breaks 

If you’re getting into a good groove at work, the last thing you want to do is break your concentration by taking a smoke, snack, or yack break. But if you’re feeling your concentration starting to dissolve, that might mean it’s time to hit pause. Short breaks are necessary and important to maintaining focus in the long term -- and it’s a mistake to think that you’re beyond such needs. 

Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Sleep 

Sleep problems can negatively affect a lot more than just your concentration. Your mood, your ability to handle stress, and your general health are all tied to the quality of your sleep, which is why it’s such a shame that so few of us are getting our recommended eight hours a night. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. If you can manage to make quality sleep a priority, you can improve your life in many ways, not to mention improving your concentration and focus. 

Make Sure You Have a Dedicated Workspace 

This doesn’t apply to you if you’re still going into the office every day. But if you’re one of the millions of people who are working from home, it’s important to have a dedicated space your brain knows is for work, and only for work. The science on this is very clear: if you’re working in the same place you eat or watch TV, your brain just isn’t as capable of focusing on the task at hand. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to construct your own home office -- although that’s not a bad idea if you can afford it -- but at least carve out a corner where you can concentrate on work and (this is crucial) also leave work at work when you’re done. Improvement in your sense of focus will likely follow. 

Bonus Tip: Declutter Your Workspace 

If work is where you find yourself most distracted, some spring (or anytime) cleaning might give your brain the clarity it needs to concentrate on the task at hand. A cluttered workspace can lead to a cluttered mind. So a tidy workspace can help you focus on what’s actually important. 

Exercise Your Mind 

Just like the muscles in your body respond to physical exercise, the brain responds to mental exercise. So if you are looking for a little extra brain power to improve your focus and concentration, take heart. By doing some plain old brain exercise, you might find yourself with better focus than you would have thought possible. There’s no limit to the brain teasers out there, but one classic that’s backed by science is the crossword puzzle, which has known benefits for concentration and focus. Just make sure you’re doing crossword puzzles that challenge you, and not easy ones. That’s the only way your brain will benefit from the exercise. 

Get Some Physical Exercise, Too

Mental exercises are great. But physical exercise can also help improve your focus. Even just a brisk walk or some moderate yoga a few times a week can do wonders for improving your mind as well as your body, and you may find yourself with better concentration when you need it most. Science has already demonstrated the focus-improving qualities of regular exercise, so try it for yourself if your attention span needs a little stretching. 

So if you’re interested in improving your concentration, try a few ideas listed above. You just might find yourself with the improved clarity and focus you need.

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