Everyone knows the feeling: it’s three o’clock, and you feel like you can’t get a single thing done. It’s impossible to focus, and everything keeps flying around in your brain until you don’t even know what you should be doing.
Aside from healthy living, one of the most important aspects of harnessing your concentration power is understanding what being 'concentrated' is.
Concentrating on your work involves equal parts focusing on what it is you’re doing without distraction, as well as prioritising what it is you need to do. This means that laying out your daily tasks into a schedule, in order of importance and time required, is already half the battle.
When you’ve completed your priority-adjusted to-do list, next comes the doing. Follow the tips for increasing mental focus below and experience a huge surge in both your concentration ability and productivity, and a boost in your brain power and quality of life.
1. Practice yoga
Yoga has plenty of physical health benefits, and it can also increase your capacity to concentrate. Like meditation, yoga encourages you to focus carefully on how you breathe and position your body.
By practicing just a few different yoga poses everyday, you can learn how to clear your mind of distraction, and centre your thoughts on accomplishing anything.
2. Eat consciously
Concentration is all about gaining control over your brain and thoughts. Nourishing the brain with healthy, wholesome foods helps you get the essential vitamins and minerals needed to keep yourself functioning properly.
Skipping breakfast causes you to quickly lose focus during the day. Similarly, eating greasy fast food for lunch gums up your productivity as much as it clogs your arteries.
Try brain-boosting foods like oatmeal and fresh fruit for breakfast so you feel fuller and focused for longer. You can also try eggs for breakfast; the omega-3 fatty acid DHA found in the yolks helps repair brain cells, maintain memory, and improve your mood.
When lunchtime rolls around, consider fish. Fish like salmon, albacore tuna, and mackerel are rich in omega-3s and protein, keeping your brain in fighting form.
3. Sleep well
Just like your diet, the times and lengths you sleep profoundly affects your ability to concentrate. Sleep deprivation negatively impacts your brain’s performance; it slows your reaction times, your ability to process information, and even your logic and reasoning.
Try sleeping seven to eight hours each night to feel more refreshed and energised everyday. If you find that you can’t sleep for that long in one night, find time during the day to take a nap. Even a 30-minute nap after work or on your lunch break greatly enhances your mental focus.
Coupling good sleep with eating healthy improves your concentration and quality of life immensely.
Another way to increase mental focus is to meditate regularly. Meditating for five to 10 minutes each day can augment your concentration power and let you process information more effectively.
Meditation teaches you to observe without judgment, to slow down and control your breathing, and to handle life’s challenges one task at a time. These skills improve your performance capacity, allowing you to deal with any situation mindfully and efficiently.
Regular meditation also helps reduce moments of worrying and confusion, making you a happier and more peaceful person over time.
5. Solve puzzles
Like meditating, mental exercises such as puzzles train your mind and help you stay focused in the face of distraction. Many of these puzzles are small and simple, and can be kept at your desk or by the couch in your own home.
Exercising your brain is every bit as important as exercising your body. By solving a Rubik’s cube, doing some brain training apps, or completing a serpent cube puzzle, you can increase your brain power and keep yourself focused for longer periods of time.
After exercising your brain, consider hitting the gym or going for a quick run. With proper nutrition and exercise, you increase blood flow to all parts of your body, encouraging your brain to release the chemicals that put you in a good mood and keep you focused at work.
An important relation between diet, exercise, and sleep can be seen here. As you eat healthier, you can exercise longer. As you exercise longer, you can sleep better. A daily routine involving these elements improves the overall health of your mind and body, giving you more energy and optimising your concentration.
Try it out
Though that 3 o’clock slump almost seems impossible to beat, following the tips listed above for at least one month can help you stay focused, healthy, and immensely productive.
That said, which one of these mental focus tips are you trying first? And for any conscious individuals out there who already enjoy a focused, productive life, leave your mental concentration tips in the comments!