Do you often find yourself sitting at work unable to focus on whatever task you’re supposed to be doing? Well, you’re not alone.
The inability to concentrate on the task at hand has been described as one of the worst diseases of our time.
Think about it. We live in a high-tech age where information can be accessed with the click of a button. That’s supposed to be a good thing. Yet, the way it bombards our senses all the time, dragging our time and attention with it.
Researchers tell us that this modern lifestyle is breaking down neural pathways. As a result, we’re becoming less and less capable of creative thought.
The good news is we can reverse these negative effects. Focus is like a mental muscle. The more you work on it, the stronger it’ll be.
So, we scoured the net in search of five habits that negatively affect your focus and concentration. By knowing what not to do, you can reclaim your brain health once again. You’ll be able to focus better and get more done in the fraction of time it used to take you.
Keep reading to find out which of these five habits you’re guilty of doing. Then, take the necessary steps to eliminate them.
1.Not Getting Enough Sleep
Staying up late to watch a movie or finish a book sounds like a good idea at the time. But you’ll pay for it dearly come morning.
Lack of sleep leads to a lack of concentration. It also makes you unable to complete almost any task within its allotted time. It also has a negative impact on our short-term memory and our attention spans.
In fact, studies show that not getting enough sleep can cause our brains to shrink. Scary, huh?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need an average of seven to nine hours of sleep every night. So, if you’re hoping to boost your focus and concentration during the day, then sleep should be a top priority.
The Fix: Set up a bedtime routine and be consistent with it. Also, avoid eating heavy foods or consuming any stimulants at least two hours before bedtime.
2.Lack of Proper Exercise
A study published in the Journal of Comparative Neurology links inactivity with cognitive decline. It also affects the ability of certain neurons in the brain to take in information.
Not getting enough exercise also results in a pile-up of stress. Being highly stressed and anxious all the time can result in chronic diseases, like heart failure and dementia.
On the flip side, just a couple of months of regular exercising can create new neurons with deeper interconnections between them. This increases your ability to focus more and concentrate better.
The Fix: Aim to work out three to five times a week. They don’t all have to be high-intensity workouts. Even a 15-minute walk can help improve your cognitive functions.
- Eating the Wrong Kinds of Foods
Eating foods high in sugars, carbs, and trans fats can impair your memory and attention spans. At the same time, not getting enough proteins, vitamins, and minerals can also negatively impact your ability to concentrate. They also help safeguard brain function while slowing down mental decline.
Not drinking enough water during the day can also have a negative effect on brain function. It reduces our energy levels, as well as causing brain fogginess and fatigue.
The Fix: Eat foods rich in proteins, antioxidants, and vitamins (especially D and B vitamins).
Also, keep a water bottle beside you at all times. It’ll help remind you to drink enough water throughout the day.
- Sitting Somewhere with Too Many Distractions
Are you trying to concentrate in a room that’s too loud or too quiet? Too hot or too cold? Too bright or too dark?
Extreme factors can create discomfort and impact your ability to focus on the task at hand.
One of these distractions is definitely your cell phone. You know it and we know it.
The problem is just taking one second to look at a meme your friend sent you can cost you 30 minutes of lost time. All the notifications and emails can be overwhelming
What’s even worse is that it takes us a couple of seconds to get distracted. Yet, it takes over 20 minutes to regain your train of thought and be able to fully focus on what you were doing.
The Fix: Log off your social media accounts while you’re working. Or at the very least, place your phone in a desk drawer where you can’t get to it every five seconds.
When it comes to room settings, make sure you limit distractions and set up a comfortable environment. Doing that before you start working can significantly boost your focus and improve your attention span.
While multitasking may sound like a good idea, trust us, it’s not. It just robs you of the ability to do any one thing while focusing on it 100%.
Not only that but doing several things at once causes stress and anxiety, which leads to even more mental fogginess. In a nutshell, multitasking is the antithesis of being productive.
Rather than doing five things at once using only a quarter of your mental capacity, try focusing on only one. This will help you get things done more smoothly and efficiently. Plus, you’ll be able to manage your time better.
The Fix: To avoid multitasking, try doing this instead:
- Pick one task to focus on.
- Set a time for said task between 10 to 15 minutes.
- If something comes up during that time, write it down.
- When time’s up, look at your list to help you determine your priorities.