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Focus. We all need it to stay productive, to perform demanding tasks, and above all, we need focus to succeed. But every time we get in the groove, our focus can quickly slip through our grasp.
The problem is, in today’s world it’s harder than ever to maintain focus. Our attention is constantly pulled in multiple directions due to:
The list goes on and on.
The lack of focus from overstimulation can take a huge toll on productivity, induce fatigue, and cause you to lose a significant amount of time throughout the day.
That’s why it’s important to take back our ability to focus rather than have it be hijacked by external influences. This 3-step process will help you do just that.
That way you can regain your focus, motivation, and feel more energized throughout the day.
Getting more focus is like changing a behavior. And behaviors are heavily influenced by our environment (external factors).
For example, if you serve your dinners on big plates, you’ll likely eat more food. Or if you move the community bowl of candy at work out of your sight, you’ll eat less candy.
The same principle can be applied to your workspace to promote focus. When a workspace doesn’t have a proper design, it can sabotage your focus rather than cultivate it.
Simply put, your work environment is the foundation of a focused mind.
Here are some ways you can modify your workspace to promote focus…
This one may seem a little obvious, but distractions interfere with your ability to focus and cripple your productivity much more than you may think. Every time you’re distracted, you lose precious time and energy.
When you focus on completing a task, whether it’s writing an email or completing a report, it takes time to get into the “zone.” The moment your attention is directed to something else, it takes time to readjust and focus once again.
A team of researchers at George Mason University also found that people who are interrupted while writing produce lower-quality essays compared to those who are not interrupted.
While it’s near impossible to eliminate everything, the idea here is to do your best. So the next time you must focus on completing a task:
A messy work environment can destroy your ability to focus. Clutter limits your brain’s ability to process information by competing for your attention (whether you are aware of it or not).
In fact, according to a study conducted at Princeton Neuroscience Institute, a cluttered environment can significantly restrict your ability to focus.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are some tips to de-clutter your workspace:
Try using empty (open) space. Some of the best photographers (and photographs) use the power of empty space to create a focal point and a sense of balance. Ideally this helps you become more relaxed and focused.
Many of us have jobs that require us to stare at a computer all day, which is hard on the eyes.
Prolonged exposure to computers, tablets, or even cell-phones can lead to what’s called computer vision syndrome. Those troubled with computer vision syndrome can experience:
Any of these symptoms can make it nearly impossible to focus, so it’s best to avoid computer vision syndrome by following the 20/20 rule.
This means, for every 20 minutes you spend looking at a digital screen, take a 20 second break to look at something 20 feet away. Ideally walk around for a minute or two so you can also get out of a sitting position and feel more energized.
Once you have your workspace set up to help you focus, it’s time to take things to the next level with natural focus-enhancing substances.
Substances that enhance cognition, memory, focus, or motivation are called nootropics. In this section, we explore scientifically supported nootropics specifically for improving focus.
Caffeine alone doesn’t appear to directly boost cognitive function, but it can help you focus if you’re feeling fatigued.
But when caffeine is combined with other compounds, such as L-theanine (an amino acid found in green tea), that’s when caffeine really shines.
When consumed in conjunction with L-theanine, caffeine can boost working memory, information processing speed, and help reduce distractibility.
The reason this combo works so well is because L-theanine can cross the blood-brain barrier where it can counteract the negative effects of caffeine (such as anxiety).
Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogen herb that grows in artic regions. It’s a well-studied herb that has been shown to help with stress and positively affect serotonin and dopamine levels.
Rhodiola rosea is a superior herb for focus and energy when fatigue is getting in the way.
The cocoa in dark chocolate contains a class of phytochemicals called flavanols, which have been shown to positively affect a person’s mood and cognitive functioning.
One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, evaluated the brains of people who consumed cocoa (with a controlled amount of flavanols) each day for 8 weeks.
Compared to people who had a small amount of cocoa flavanols, the study participants made significant improvements in memory and cognitive function.
In short, cocoa flavanols have been shown to improve focus, planning, and impulse control-meaning you can more easily resist distractions. Less distractions results in more focus.
Avoid chocolate with high levels of sugar as it can counter the many cognitive benefits of cocoa flavanols. Stick with 70% dark chocolate or higher.
There aren’t many substances out there that have been scientifically shown to improve focus. The ones that are scientifically supported were listed above (with a few exceptions).
You could buy each one individually and hope you’re getting the right dosages.
Or you can try the Boost Focus Fuel supplement which contains all of the above plants plus a few more.
Boost Focus Fuel naturally enhances your ability to focus with cocoa flavanols, L-theanine (from green tea extract), rhodiola rosea extract, a modest dose of caffeine, and eleuthero root.
All the plants are certified organic, of the highest quality, and together can provide a considerable boost in your ability to focus.
And it’s not just the science that speaks for the effectiveness of Boost Focus Fuel. People use it on a regular basis to enhance their focus and productivity. Check out what’s being said about it:
“Boost gave me my most productive post-holiday week at work ever!!! I’m thrilled.” -Leila S.
“I am not trying to lose weight but I thought I’d try the Boost Focus Fuel rather than a happy cup of coffee today. I feel great! Lots of FOCUSED energy, my mind is sharper, palpable contentedness, definitely feeling extra optimistic and cheerful! LOVE IT!!”-Cheryl M.
Once you have steps 1 and 2 under control, try these “hacks” to get a Jedi-like focus.
Fatigue is closely (but not always) tied to your ability to focus. By far, one of the most effective behavioral ways to gain more focus is to eliminate what’s called decision fatigue.
Decisions take a lot of effort and mental processing. Every decision we make takes a toll and contributes to mental fatigue.
While decision making is part of life, it is possible to eliminate unnecessary decisions to conserve energy and thus, improve the ability to focus on the things that matter.
Here are some ways to prevent decision fatigue:
At the start of every morning (or the night before), create a list of tasks you need to get done that day. Then organize these tasks by difficulty and importance.
It’s best to tackle the more difficult problems first. This will allow you to get your most difficult tasks done first while you’re at your best.
Furthermore, when you cross off completed items from your to-do list, it actually gives you a dopamine boost. Spikes in dopamine can increase motivation, intrinsic satisfaction, curiosity, and even memory.
By physically crossing off to-do items, you will also create a positive association with being productive. As a result, you can more easily become focused.
We all need focus to complete difficult tasks, perform well, and succeed in life.
Unfortunately, our focus is constantly undermined by phone notifications, email, procrastination, social media, and much more. That’s why it’s more important than ever to take steps to stay focused.
To achieve a high level of focus throughout the day, you simply need to take three steps: