How to Hack Your Mind For Increased Concentration, Productivity, and Focus
By Dan Scalco
How often do you find yourself getting distracted from the work you should be doing?
Whether you’re guilty of always dropping everything to check your emails, respond to text messages, or to scroll through Instagram, you need to stop giving into these distractions because they’re killing your productivity. That’s obviously easier said than done since we’re surrounded by distractions all day long. With all those temptations that pull us away from the task at hand, it can be difficult to get anything done.
The good news is, there are things you can do that will increase your focus and ultimately boost your productivity during those work hours. With these five tips, you’ll learn how to focus, concentrate your mind, and increase your productivity throughout the day.
If you find that you’re lacking focus throughout the day, you should consider trying meditation. A morning meditation session is perfect for gearing you up for the day ahead. The reason for this is because meditation can help quiet your mind and stimulate certain areas of the brain that help with creativity, focus, and attention. In fact, a study that was published in the Psychological Science journal shows that intensive meditation can help people focus their attention and also maintain it.
In order for meditation to work for you, you need to truly want to meditate and incorporate it into your regular routine. That’s when you’re going to notice the most benefits. There are plenty of meditation apps (one of my favorites is Headspace) and audio tracks that can help you achieve this state of mindfulness.
It’s also important to note that it’ll take a while to truly get into meditation, as opposed to feeling like you’re just sitting there while nothing happens. Over time, you’ll notice that you learn how to focus because the practice requires you to quiet the mind and bring your attention to your breath. It’s truly powerful once you’ve mastered it. Not only will meditation help with increasing your focus, but it’s great for relieving stress as well.
For those wondering how to focus better while working and performing daily tasks, nootropics just might be the answer. Nootropics are designed to be cognitive enhancers that can provide a boost in brain function. The key to getting results with nootropics is to find the one that works best for you, as they all contain different ingredients and make different promises.
Many of the nootropics on the market promise to improve your memory and aim to provide both short-term and long-term benefits. They may even be able to boost your mood since many can increase chemicals within the brain that promote feelings of happiness. Some nootropics (such as ashwaganda) can even lower the effects of anxiety. And of course, nootropics are also great for teaching your brain how to focus. Supplements that contain caffeine or L-theanine (or a combination of both) are perfect for this.
Have you ever heard of a coffee nap? If not, this is one trick you’ll want to try if you’re aiming to figure out how to focus. And considering it combines two of the most loved things, coffee and naps, how could it not work?
A coffee nap requires you to drink a cup of coffee and then follow that with a 20-minute rest. It sounds a little silly, especially since the coffee is designed to increase alertness instead of putting you to sleep. However, this idea is actually backed by science. Here’s how it works:
When you drink caffeine, it gets absorbed into your bloodstream. It then works to block the receptors in your brain that typically get filled with molecules of Adenosine. Adenosine is known for causing drowsiness, so this is why caffeine is great for keeping you alert. However, sleeping naturally clears the Adenosine molecule from your brain. So, resting following your cup of coffee gives your body time to open up the receptors to the caffeine you’ve consumed.
A deep sleep isn’t necessary to reap the benefits of a coffee nap either. Just 20 minutes will have you feeling refreshed and you’re sure to love the impact it has on your focus as you move forward with your day.
Use the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique has been specifically designed to help you beat the distractions and get focused on whatever you’re trying to get done. It’s effective no matter if you’re working on administrative tasks, writing, or studying. It can help you power through your to-do list, thus increasing your productivity.
This particular technique requires you to work in short sprints that are broken up by regular breaks. All you have to do is choose a task you want to accomplish, set a timer for 25 minutes, and begin working. You are to remain focused on the task for those 25 minutes. Once the time is up, you take a five-minute break. This continues throughout your day, but the break time can be increased. It’s all about figuring out what recharges you and leaves you feeling ready to work in another sprint.
Listen to the right music.
Have you ever heard of the “Mozart effect”? It’s the idea that listening to Mozart’s music can actually provide a short-term enhancement of some mental tasks, also known as spatial-temporal reasoning. While studies have often debated whether or not music directly relates to productivity and focus, many have experienced positive results with the right music.
Having a subtle music playing in the background just might be the key to helping you focus on your work. brain.fm is a fantastic tool for this and provides the ideal type of music that isn’t too distracting.
Each of these tips are perfect for boosting your concentration and helping you learn how to focus better on the task at hand. Give them a try and find the ones that work best for you. Once you do, you can incorporate them into your daily life!