15 ways to stay focused all day, according to scientists
One of the main symptoms of chronic sleep loss is poor concentration. Getting a solid seven to eight hours ahead of a busy work day could be the difference between being frazzled and being laser-focused.
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One study examined attention spans, memory capacity, and ability to switch from one task to the next and found multitaskers performed more poorly on each test.
It promotes brain health, which is important for memory capacity and concentration.
In particular, scientists think regular exercise may help stimulate the release of a chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which some research suggests helps rewire memory circuits to improve their functioning.
To-do lists not only help you prioritize what tasks you need to get done first, but they can also serve as a record of the loose ends.
Incomplete work could eat away at your concentration. This stems from something called the Zeigarnik Effect, which is the tendency to remember incomplete tasks instead of completed ones.
Whether it's watching cat videos, taking a walk, or closing your eyes for a few minutes at a time, it is critical to take the occasional break from work.
Newport recommends completely separating yourself after leaving the office and having a "long separation" before the next workday.
Apart from just giving your brain a break, some research suggests that having downtime away from a problem could help you solve it.
Ambient noise, like cars honking or kids screaming, can stimulate the release of the stress hormone cortisol.
Too much cortisol can impair function and hinder focus.
Experts think that every time you flip between tasks — whether it be responding to a friend on Facebook or checking your inbox — a little bit of your attention remains with the task you just left.
Eliminating those online distractions can keep you from finding tasks to flip between and help you focus.
Getting rid of excess variables that require you to make decisions, like choosing where to work. Try working from the same location whenever you need to focus, for example. That way, when it's time to get the work done, you won't have to waste time deciding where to go.
If you're used to needing multiple forms of stimulation while "relaxing," it may have a negative impact on your ability to focus. So instead of checking Facebook from your phone while watching Netflix, pick one of the two activities or taking a break from stimulation.
In small doses, boredom can be helpful, especially if it keeps you from multitasking overload.
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