In my previous article on ways to improve our focus, I shared some insights on how we can use specific dietary adjustments, for a brain that’s better equipped against the daily bombardment of technology and distractions. However, that’s not the only thing we can do.
There are physical and mental strategies to improve focus and achieve personal goals. And by combining these actions with good nutritional habits, we can achieve a higher focus and productivity. Yes, you read that right; it is possible to overcome distractions and reach your goals, and this article aims to help you with that!
There are several ways to improve focus in your work by using physical and mental exercises.
Let’s start with your work environment
We often underestimate the influence of our environment. For years, we all got used to the open plan office while taking the many disadvantages for granted. Then, however, we suddenly had to work from home in the past few years. And now, it’s hard to even imagine going back to that noisy, stressful environment where we never get the privacy that each of us needs from time to time.
These constant noise levels, lack of privacy, and stressful work environments have historically led to many health problems, such as headaches, eye strain, and neck and back pain. Time to turn the page!
If you are lucky enough to be in control of your own surroundings, now is the time to take advantage of that. Here are some tips for creating a calm and less distracting work environment:
💡 Declutter: A cluttered environment can be distracting and stressful, so let’s deal with that. You’ll be amazed by the effects of a clean and organized work area. No more distractions sneaking up on you!
💡 Minimize the noise: If there’s no way to eliminate disturbing noise by closing a door, there are always noise-cancelling headphones or white noise machines.
💡 Choose the proper lighting: Opt for bright, natural light during the day and dimmer, warmer light in the evenings. This can help regulate your circadian rhythm and improve your focus.
💡 Personalize your space: Of course, we’re not going to ban personalization! Make your work area your own with items that bring you comfort and calm. Think of green plants, photos, or some artwork with special meaning.
Speaking of plants, you might want to consider the Spathiphyllum. This plant is one of the most air-purifying plants in the world. Now that’s killing two birds with one stone!
💡 Minimize distractions: Turn off your phone, close unnecessary tabs on your computer, and create a quiet and comfortable work environment. I know this is a hard one. Luckily, you’re not alone in this. A simple search on Google should point you toward some excellent pause software.
💡 Use aromatherapy: Essential oils are potent extracts from plants. We shouldn’t underestimate their benefits, aside from their calming and stress-reducing scents. Consider using essential oils, candles, or diffusers to create a relaxing atmosphere.
Now that your environment won’t distract you anymore let’s work on some exercises to keep us focused.
Next stop: your eyes, they are two of our greatest assets
Especially when you work long hours on your pc or laptop, your eyes deserve special attention. With the below eye exercises, you can reduce eye strain and improve your vision during computer work. And they have a tremendous long-term effect! Try some of the following tips:
👁 Blink regularly: Blinking helps to moisturize your eyes and reduce eye strain. Blink frequently, especially when looking at a screen for long periods.
👁 Focus shift: Shift your focus between the screen and distant objects every 20 minutes. This helps to reduce eye strain and gives your eyes a break.
👁 Palming: Rub your hands together until they feel warm, then cup them over your closed eyes for a few moments. This helps to relax your eye muscles and reduce stress.
👁 Eye rotations: Look up, down, and side to side, and roll your eyes in a complete circle. This helps to loosen up your eye muscles and improve circulation.
👁 Zooming: Hold your thumb about an arm’s length away from your face and slowly move it towards your face. As you do, focus on your thumb until it is about 6 inches from your face. This helps to strengthen your eye muscles and improve focus.
👁 Visualization: Close your eyes and visualize a peaceful scene, such as a beach or a forest. This helps to reduce eye strain and stress at the same time!
Incorporating these eye exercises into your routine can reduce eye strain and improve your vision during computer work. It is also essential to take breaks and give your eyes a rest whenever possible.
Ready for some more great exercising and mindful tips to improve your focus?
We’ve gathered some great ways to optimize your brain. It will make improving your focus a piece of cake. And they’re fun to do too! Here they come:
💪 Physical exercise: There are many short workout programs on the internet, both paid and free. Especially if you have a sedentary profession, these breaks are badly needed to keep your blood flowing.
🙏 Yoga and meditation: Yoga and meditation help improve focus by training the mind to become more aware of the present moment and reduce distractions. Don’t worry if that sounds impossibly complicated and time-consuming; Even a short meditation of 5 minutes will give your brain a well-earned boost.
🧩 Brain training exercises: Puzzles, memory games, and the like challenge your brain to stay on task and pay attention. An easy and short uplift, and better than a cup-a-soup!
🖋 Prioritize your tasks: Make a to-do list and prioritize the most critical tasks first. This will help you stay focused on one task at a time and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed by multiple tasks.
And as a bonus, dopamine is released every time you mark a task as done, providing you with a sense of satisfaction and motivation. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is associated with feelings of pleasure and reward. This is your body, being your very own cheerleader!
🍵 Take breaks: Taking regular intervals can help refresh your mind and improve your ability to focus. Did you know that taking short breaks throughout the day can increase productivity by as much as 13%? Brew yourself a nice cup of (herbal) tea while you’re at it. It’s what you deserve!
🛌 Get enough sleep: Sleep is essential for cognitive function, and lack of sleep can negatively impact your ability to focus.
Try combining these physical exercises, mindful practices, and some environmental adjustments. They will bring you more productiveness, focus and motivation to tackle any task that comes your way. Let’s see the difference it makes in your work and life!
Up for a challenge? Here are some unexpected and surprising ideas!
🌲 Take a break and get back to nature! A simple walk in the park or forest can do wonders for your focus and stress levels. The fresh air, calming sounds of nature, and change of scenery can lower cortisol levels and stimulate endorphin release, leaving you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
Research has shown that spending time in nature can lower cortisol levels and stimulate the release of endorphins, leaving you feeling relaxed and happy. It also improves attention and focuses by reducing distractions, enhancing cognitive function, and restoring mental fatigue.
🚿 Take a cold shower. Cold showers have been shown to increase alertness and focus, making them an effective way to refocus and recharge throughout the day. Although I must admit, I’ll have a lot of respect for you if you do this!
🌗 Step up your focus game with alternating light and dark surroundings. This technique reduces eye strain and promotes relaxation, helping you refocus and tackle tasks with renewed energy.
🎧 Get techy with brainwave entrainment. This is a pretty cool and relatively new technique that uses sound or light to train your brain to enter specific states of consciousness. The goal is to influence your brain waves, making you more relaxed or focused, depending on your needs.
Think of it like a personal DJ for your brain – it uses different beats and sounds to get you in the zone. There are a few types, like binaural beats, monaural beats, and isochronic tones. Binaural beats use different sounds in each ear to create a pulsing effect in your brain. In contrast, monaural and isochronic tones use a single sound that changes frequency over time.
🙏 Try holistic practices like acupuncture, aromatherapy, and reflexology. These ancient practices balance your body’s energy, reducing stress and improving focus.
🌬 Mindful breathing: By focusing on your breath, you can calm your mind, reduce stress, and increase focus. Deep breathing sends more oxygen to the brain, reducing stress and improving focus.
Useful exercises are the 4-7-8 technique (inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds) and breathing from your diaphragm, filling your lungs completely and then exhaling slowly. These exercises can be done anytime, anywhere, making them a convenient tool for a better, more focused you.
To wrap it up, taking a break from our daily routines and incorporating techniques like the above can hugely impact our focus and well-being. By taking a step back from the distractions and chaos of our lives, we can give our minds the space and stimulation to recharge and perform at their best. So let’s try these techniques and see how they can help you improve your focus and tackle whatever challenges come your way! 💪