Every time we start the day, we feel ready to conquer the world (armed with a giant cup of coffee or a strong cuppa tea, of course). But it doesn’t take long for that fierce energy and motivation to turn into… fierce distraction.
Whether it be kids running around, a playful puppy, a pile of laundry, or the ever-familiar couch and remote begging for our attention, there are endless factors that cause us to lose focus on the task at hand. So how do we do it? How do we harness our focus and keep tapping into it throughout the day when we need it most?
We have the answers for you! Here are five ways to get your focus back — and keep it all day long.
1. Get enough sleep.
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First and foremost, we all have to catch enough Zs. We know life can be crazy, and sometimes it is simply not possible to get over seven hours of sleep. That’s OK every now and then, but try to prioritize getting that much sleep at least most nights of the week.
Research shows that a consistent amount of good sleep has major positive effects on our memory comprehension and retention, motivation, mood, and level of focus. To get started on the right foot each day, it’s exponentially easier when it begins with a great night’s rest.
2. Set yourself up for success.
Set up an environment for yourself that automatically removes the temptation of distractions. Move away from the TV, silence your phone, and ask the people in your house (if possible) to give you a bit of space.
And, we know this is a tricky one, but remove the urge to engage in household tasks. Clearing out the sink, deep-cleaning the bathroom, or doing all the laundry is never more appealing than when we’re trying to procrastinate. Don’t give in! Those chores will surely still be there later.
Bonus tip: Make a to-do list or determine a prioritized set of goals for the day and refer back to it each hour. This will help you remain on task and stay motivated to reach that satisfying moment when you can check another item off.
3. Stay off social media.
Often, our intentions of avoiding social media are good and admirable. But the minute that phone buzzes and a notification appears on our screen, it can become all too tempting to “just browse for a minute.”
As we all know, those are famous last words.
Tuck that phone away so that not even notifications can catch your eye, and save those social apps as a little treat for your next break.
4. Fuel up.
Hunger is the enemy of productivity. Keep yourself fueled up throughout the day so that those “hangry” moments don’t interrupt your workday at inconvenient times or slow your brain down while you’re on task.
Stay hydrated and motivated with key nutrients like proteins, vitamins, and that good, good H2O. Keep snacks like fruit, nuts, yogurt, and veggies on hand to maintain your energy as you work.
We’ll even let you in on a little secret — some studies say that a bit of coffee, in small doses, can boost your focus, too. But only consume enough to pick up your energy; we don’t want anyone getting to that “shaky and buzzed” level of caffeination.
5. Build in breaks.
Taking breaks is not only a relief from your to-do list, but it’s actually better for your productivity, too.
Some suggest a method called the Pomodoro technique. This involves breaking up your day into distinct 25-30 minute intervals where you stay on task for a full interval, take a five-minute break, and then jump into the next interval. After maintaining this rhythm for about four full sets of intervals, you can release yourself to take a longer break, about 30 minutes or so.
This helps your day stay interesting and active and keeps those juices flowing in a healthy way, helping you avoid burnout.
As far as the breaks go, keep it exciting! Go outside, get yourself some fresh air, boost yourself with a vitamin-packed smoothie, or fit in a quick call with a friend. Do whatever it takes to keep your spirits lifted and your energy high.
We know that being intentional with your day is usually easier said than done, and most days, life seems to catapult us into action and keep us at that pace until we collapse onto our pillow at night.
But if we’re able to set aside a couple minutes to map out our day and put some guidelines and helpful checkpoints in place, it’s amazing how much more we’re able to accomplish — and how much better our mood will be as we go!
So what do you have to lose? Give these tips a try, and share them with a friend or two.
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