How to Improve Your Focus for Better Productivity: Part 3

 Photo Credit: Bruce Mars

Photo Credit: Bruce Mars

Exercises to Improve Focus

When TV newscaster Diane Sawyer was asked the secret to her success, she said, "I think the one lesson I've learned is there is no substitute for paying attention."

Did you know improving your focus can be done with different types of simple exercises? It’s true. Something as simple as getting exercise on a daily basis or chewing gum can improve your brain function, which leads to better focus. Most of the time, focus exercises take less than ten minutes to do.

Check out these to get you started

Mutter to yourself. It might seem like you’re crazy but talking to yourself either out loud or not, helps you pay attention, calms you emotionally and tells you to act. 

Bonus: Check out the 8 ways to make your brain smarter

Trade your caffeine for cardio. Caffeine gives you a boost, which makes it easier to concentrate. But you might find it harder to focus when you’re not buzzed. A better way to keep your mind stimulated is with physical exercise. Exercise triggers the release of chemicals in the brain that affect our learning and memory, which in the end are what help us focus. 

Drink more water. Mild dehydration can lead to distraction. Being even as little as 2 percent dehydrated can affect your ability to concentrate on cognitive activities. 

Get plenty of shut-eye. Getting at least seven hours of good quality sleep each night helps your body and mind rejuvenate and leads to better concentration and focus during the day. 

Bonus: Here are some Concentration exercises taken from the Success Consciousness website

Exercise 1 

  1. Count the words in any paragraph from a book. Count them again. Repeat until it’s easy. 
  2. Now count the words in two paragraphs. Repeat until it becomes easy.
  3. Finally count all the words on the page. Count mentally and with your eyes only. Don’t use your finger to point to each word.

Exercise 2

Count from one hundred backwards to one.

Exercise 3

Count backwards from one hundred, by threes, for example 100, 97, 94 and so on.

Exercise 4

  1. Pick an inspiring word or simple sound.
  2. Repeat it silently for five minutes.
  3. When this becomes easy, try doing it for ten minutes continually.

Exercise 5

  1. Hold a piece of fruit in your hands.
  2. Examine it, keeping your entire attention focused on the fruit. Just focus on the fruit, ignoring other thoughts.
  3. Examine its shape, the smell of it, how it’s texture feels when you touch it and how it tastes.

Exercise 6

  1. Visualize a piece of fruit. First, examine a piece of fruit for 2 minutes. Then close your eyes and visualize how it feels, looks and smells. Try to visualize a clear image.
  2. If the image gets blurry, look at the fruit again for a few seconds then close your eyes and try to visualize it again.

How'd that feel? Seemed simple when you read it, right? But, if you're like me, it was difficult to do at first. You had to concentrate and put in some effort to get focused. Well, you're not alone! It’s never been harder to stay focused than at this time in history. We are distracted by technology and everything happening around us. You can regain focus though by doing these different exercises often to help you build your concentration.

 Photo Credit: Manuel Moreno

Photo Credit: Manuel Moreno

How to deal with focus issues

You probably now know how hard it is to focus on something. Focus issues are often the result of different things like boredom, lack of interest or even fatigue. Concentration can often be attributed to how motivated and interested we are in a task. 

There are ways to deal with focus issues

Supplements can help you when you are having focus issues. Vitamins like the B complex group, Biotin or vitamin H and lecithin all help improve your memory.

Eating the right foods can help you better focus as well since you will be getting the supplements from the foods to help with brain health. Foods like lean meat, beans, oranges, peanut butter and oysters.

Consult with your physician if you find you can’t focus on any one thing for any length of time. Lack of focus can be a symptom of several different conditions, including depression. Get a thorough checkup to rule out any physical causes of your lack of focus issues.

When working on projects on your computer and online, make sure you only have tabs open that are relevant to what you are doing. This keeps you from getting distracted by all that fun information floating around the Internet. 

Make your tasks routine. Set up a routine for tasks that you do every day. For example, check your email and social media at the same time every day. Just like you probably have a routine when you wake up, you should also have a routine when working. 

Separate your day into a time for creating, time for work and communication, and time for yourself.  Split the day up in whatever way works best for you. 

Dealing with focus issues causes your productivity to drop. By learning how to take care of your focus issues through your diet, exercise and routines, you can be more productive.

Applied Focus

You can increase your productivity and accomplish more in less time by using a technique called applied focus. Applied focus can help you avoid the little distractions that can derail your efforts at productivity.

How applied focus increases productivity

Applied focus is a strategy that helps you multiply your productivity. Each session is 45 minutes long, with a 15 minute shift in focus. Or you can do 90 minutes followed by 30 minute shift in focus. In other words, you stop focusing intentionally on your task and do something completely different in the shift focus period. During the focused session, though, you don’t allow anything to distract you (except a dire emergency). Phone calls are out, email is off, texting and Facebook are off limits. 

Bonus Apps: Forest

Here are some guidelines (be sure to adjust them as necessary to fit your individual situation):

1. Open only one browser or application window at a time. So if you’re writing a blog post, only your word processor or text pad is open. 

2. Keep your sessions timed. Don’t go past your 45 or 90 minute session, no matter how focused you are. You need the break.

3. Get away from your task. Get up from your desk, walk around, get a drink or snack. Give your mind a break.

4. Be prepared ahead of time. Do your research during a different applied focus session then from the writing session.  That way you’re able to concentrate on the writing alone.

5. Have a session set up for email, telephone and social media time. 

Applied focus sessions can increase your productivity but it will take some getting used to. Start slowly by scheduling one or two sessions a day. Once you become used to the routine, you will notice an improvement in your concentration and productivity.

What’s next?

Learning how to focus on one task at a time takes time and commitment. In our busy lives, we are pulled in many directions at one time. It’s best to begin your journey on a more focused life gradually by implementing the tips and strategies found in this post. 

Focus is such an important part of how productive you are. If you can focus on one task for a set amount of time you will be more productive in a shorter amount of time than you have been. Putting aside your tendency to multitask will improve your productivity as well, since you will be able to finish one task before you move on. 

Removing distractions can help you focus as well. Create an environment that you feel comfortable in, and that fits with how you work. If you’re a morning person, then focus on your work tasks in the morning when you are fresh, and vice versa for night owls. 

Eat healthy and nutritious foods to keep your brain strong and able to concentrate. Exercise daily, meditate daily and take time to enjoy nature and your family.

 
 I prefer to be known as the Mini  Jessica Pearson . But, I'm the Founder and CEO of FCO, LLC, and the Founder and President of  Studio 351 . I coach leaders and management professionals to excel at work, become great leaders, and create a winner's mindset. I work with the lions, the wolves, the sharks, and the eagles---the hungry, hustling, go-getters! I've worked in financial services and healthcare. Live in NYC.   Find out more...

I prefer to be known as the Mini Jessica Pearson. But, I'm the Founder and CEO of FCO, LLC, and the Founder and President of Studio 351. I coach leaders and management professionals to excel at work, become great leaders, and create a winner's mindset. I work with the lions, the wolves, the sharks, and the eagles---the hungry, hustling, go-getters! I've worked in financial services and healthcare. Live in NYC. 

Find out more...


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