Blinkers On! 5 Tips To Help You Focus
One of the biggest problems for students, graduates and people of all ages is a lack of focus. It’s so easy to get distracted from work, particularly if a new episode of Game of Thrones has just been released and you still haven’t caught up.
Focus is a skill that can be applied to assignments at university, to roles within the workplace and to job applications themselves. The ability to concentrate solely on one job will improve the quality of your work, as well as making you more productive.
Want to improve your flow? Here are some tips and tricks to try.
Listen to music before you start working
Many people opt to listen to music whilst they work. But an interview with Business Insider Daniel Levitin, a cognitive neuroscientist and the author of “This is Your Brain on Music“, shows that listening to music while working in fact decreases your productivity. Simply put, your attention is being divided between two things: the work and the tunes in your head.
Instead, Levitin suggests listening to music before you begin work. Listening to music you enjoy allows your brain to release dopamine, which provides you with a feeling of enjoyment and pleasure. Action stations, everyone!
Obviously water is a necessity for all of us, but it actually has been proven to increase focus and test scores as well.
Research shows that students who take water into an exam hall are likely to produce a better grade than those who don’t. A popular theory is that information flows more freely between brain cells when they are hydrated.
Researchers also state that drinking water may help in calming the nerves of participants, while those who became thirsty would become more distracted.
Eat brain food
The brain needs glucose in order to function, so providing it with enough fuel when studying is a way to naturally increase brain function. A key way to obtain this glucose fuel is through carbohydrates, preferably complex carbohydrates – or so an article on the Writer’s Bureau suggests.
Foods such as grains (oats, brown rice, barley), fruits, vegetables and legumes (chickpeas, butterbeans, lentils, black-eyed beans and kidney beans) are all key ways of gaining the fuel required to excel in your studying/work. So plan your meals accordingly!
Have a break (kiwis, not KitKats!)
Having regular, short breaks from work or studying has been proven to release procrastinating urges/thoughts and thus improve focus on the task at hand.
In a study by the University of Illinois, subjects were asked to participate in a 50 minute task. Separate groups were permitted to either take breaks or continue working. Those that received two short breaks during the 50 minutes were able to stay focused during the entire experiment, and therefore performed better.
Step away from the phone! In this day and age, it’s easy to be distracted by social media and our mobiles. That one quick reply to your best friend about where you’re going out tonight quickly turns into a whole conversation about what you’ll wear/drink/eat etc.
Switch off your phone (or put it on airplane mode) and disconnect from the technological world. Because yes, that Snapchat can wait.
Looking to increase your productivity with small but serious tweaks? You could do worse than giving these a go. And who knows? You might find that boring assignment becomes more interesting than you thought.