Get your day started right by getting the blood flowing. In Japan, companies used to have their employees start their mornings with some light exercise.
According to the Harvard Medical School, exercise “reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators.”
Multitasking was a cute catchphrase that sounded as if you were able to get more done in less time. Science says that’s dead wrong. By jumping from one task to another, our brain needs time to restart.
“multitasking is shifting focus from one task to another in rapid succession. It gives the illusion that we’re simultaneously tasking, but we’re really not. It’s like playing tennis with three balls.”
While we might not be able to multitask, we can do two activities simultaneously if they use different parts of our brain. That’s why we can drive and listen to podcasts at the same time and keep control of our cars—driving has become internalized. Watching TV while doing your exercise routine is another prime example.
You might not think music can increase our focus, but you’d be wrong. A study from the Stanford University School of Medicine, done in 2007, states that music, specifically classical music, can help your brain absorb and interpret new information more easily.
If you’re looking for an easy way on how to increase focus, Mozart or Beethoven have got you covered.
David Strayer is a cognitive psychologist at the University of Utah who specializes in attention. He’s also an avid backpacker, and he talks about something called the “3-day effect.” He demonstrated with a group of Outward Bound participants that after three days of a wilderness backpacking adventure, they performed 50 percent better on creative problem-solving tasks.
The effects the lockdowns have had on our mental health have been severe. Isolating people isn’t good for us. We’re social animals. We need to get out and mingle. While we often view chit-chat as a mindless, time-wasting activity, it does have its benefits. Talking to different people exposes our minds to new and fresh ideas as well as alleviate stress. The less stress we have, the more we can focus.
The simplest and easiest way to increase focus is having good old-fashioned sleep.
None of us can operate at optimum levels for long periods of time without a good night’s rest. Short term, we might be able to get away with it, but over time the effects add up. In essence, by denying yourself sleep , you are denying your body the rest it needs to realign itself.
The food we eat is the fuel for our bodies. A Ferrari can only perform its best with quality gasoline. The same can be said for our bodies, yet it seems too many people don’t connect the two.
While the vegetarian diet is certainly healthy, you may prefer to take a more balanced approach. Fish, meat, and pork all provide us with amino acids essential for health.
It sounds rather silly until you’ve tried it, but force yourself to work on one task for a solid 30 minutes—no interruptions of any kind. You’ll be amazed at how hard it is for us to do that. A cooking timer or pomodoro technique is your commitment to give a single task your undivided attention.
There are days when our creative juices just aren’t flowing. At times like this, it’s better to just get your mind completely off what you’re doing. Clear your mind by doing something completely different. That breather will give your mind time to reboot itself.
Playing a video game, reading a book, or doing something completely different from what you usually do can work. It’s amazing how, by simply switching things up, we can increase our focus.
Something as simple as going for a walk can be just what the doctor ordered. In fact, under the current circumstances of work-from-home, it’s something we all need to do more of.
Going for a walk—away from technology—and breathing in the fresh air can make a world of difference to someone stuck at home.
Parkinson’s Law states that work expands to fill the time allotted. Put simply, we adjust our work to the time available for its completion.
Don’t allow yourself to put things off and instead, attack them head-on. Combined with the other techniques and strategies outlined so far, you’ll be able to rip right through things.
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