Updated: Oct 14
The short answer is: Yes, it can. But that’s probably not why you’re coming to a blog post. You want the hows and the tips and tricks and you’ll be happy to know you’ve come to the right place for that. 😊
There are many ways you can improve your focus. They can be roughly divided into two groups – all you can do so your brain works better (lifestyle, nutrition, etc.) and all you can do to change your environment, so your brain doesn’t have to work quite as hard to focus.
Let’s start with how we can improve our brain health so that it can function at peak capacity.
Brain Health Tips
Improving your sleep can make the biggest difference to your focus, especially if you’re currently not getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep is connected to not only loss of concentration, but also impaired memory and overall lower brain function.
What can you do to improve your sleep? Turning off any blue light devices such as mobile phones, tablets or the TV at least an hour before going to bed is a good start. Blue light will mess with your brain chemistry to make good sleep much harder.
Creating the perfect conditions for a good night’s sleep is called Sleep Hygiene (click the link to the Sleep Foundation to find out more).
We’re constantly being told to exercise and for good reason. Getting enough exercise, especially the aerobic kind can work wonders. It not only helps you sleep better at night (see above) and improves our overall health, it is also beneficial for our ability to concentrate. You don’t have to join a gym, simply adding a brisk walk to your daily schedule will do the trick.
Food & Drink
Getting the right nutrients will boost your memory and your ability to focus. Cut down on greasy processed foods that are rich in sugar and you will not only improve your brain but your overall health. Try incorporating foods such as fish, eggs, nuts and seeds as well as lots of fruits and vegetables. For a whole list of “brain foods” check out this post from the Healthline Blog.
Mindfulness & Meditation
Mindfulness is quite a buzzword these days and for good reasons. Studies have shown that a regular practice of mindfulness (or meditation for that matter) can increase your ability to focus and deal better with the stresses of everyday life.
It only takes a few minutes of practice each day to make a difference and be as simple as focussing on your breathing for a few minutes.
If you feel you’re doing everything you can but still find you can’t concentrate properly, it might be worth getting a health check. Many underlying conditions can cause a lack of focus or brain fog, so it’s worth finding out by getting a thorough medical check-up.
How to improve your environment
Being constantly surrounded by unfinished tasks, sticky notes with reminders and piles of unrelated work can wreak havoc with your concentration and focus. Only have the task you’re working on in your line of sight, whether that’s on your desk or even on your screen.
For screen related work, only keep the programmes and tabs open that you need or at least have them in the background with no notifications pinging in. Trust me, you’ll get more done this way.