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9 Tips On How To Focus Better And Skyrocket Productivity
Aug 10, 23
This article has been vetted by the Onnit Advisory Board. Read more about our editorial process.
Author: Sony Sherpa

9 Tips On How To Focus Better And Skyrocket Productivity

  • by Sony Sherpa

    Medically reviewed by

    Sony Sherpa

    Dr. Sony Sherpa is a board-certified Clinical Doctor and dedicated advocate for holistic medicine, specializing in functional mushrooms. Her blend of medical expertise and passion for alternative wellness lends authenticity to her role as a contributor for Natures Rise.

  • |
  • 17 min read
9 Tips On How To Focus Better And Skyrocket Productivity

Staying focused can seem complicated in a world full of distractions. However, maintaining optimal concentration is still doable—but only when you have the right strategy. 

First up, 'find your why.' Identifying the deeper purpose behind what you're doing can dramatically sharpen your focus. Next, embrace the 'golden rule of 25'—a simple technique to break your goals into manageable chunks, making them less daunting and more achievable.

Creating an ideal workspace is crucial—a well-organized, distraction-free environment can significantly boost your concentration. And don't overlook the power of 'do not disturb.' Sometimes, shutting out interruptions is the best way to stay on track.

Remember, your brain needs breaks. Regular, short pauses, known as 'mini breaks,' can refresh your mind and improve focus. Equally important is what you eat. Choosing the right foods fuels your brain for better concentration.

Never underestimate the power of high-quality sleep. It's essential for cognitive function and focus. And here's a key tip: avoid multitasking. Focusing on one task at a time is far more effective.

Last but not least, exercise regularly. Physical activity is good for your body and enhances your brain's focusing capabilities.

Now that we've laid out these strategies, let's delve into each one and help you sharpen your focus like never before!

1. Find Your 'Why'

Ever wondered how to focus in a world that constantly tries to pull your attention in a million directions? The secret lies not just in techniques on how to improve focus but also in understanding the bigger picture of why you want to focus in the first place. When juggling multiple tasks, losing sight of your primary focus is easy.

How do you avoid losing focus? Easy: find your why: 

  • Pause for a few minutes. 
  • Think about the one task that matters most right now—got it? 
  • Now, dive deeper. Why is this task essential? 

Pinning down your core motivation behind tasks can be a game-changer. When you allocate your mental resources to that singular goal, your cognitive abilities rise to the occasion, making it easier to stay focused.

2. Break Down Your Tasks

Break Down Your Tasks

We've all had those moments where hours fly by, and we're left wondering, "Where did the time go?" 

That's where the Golden Rule of 25 comes into play. Break things down instead of getting lost in the abyss of endless work. 

Commit to 25 minutes of unadulterated, pure focus on one task. Wondering how to focus more during these precious minutes?

  • First, eliminate distractions. That buzzing phone? Put it on airplane mode or, better yet, in another room. Those noisy notifications? Silence them. It's surprising how much attention span we regain by simply cutting out the digital noise. 
  • Next, declutter your workspace. A clear desk mirrors a clear mind, making improving focus and completing tasks easier.

But it's not just about the external environment. Your brain health plays a pivotal role, too. Think of these 25 minutes as a gym session for your mental muscle. Every dedicated session is an exercise on how to increase concentration and how to stay focused.

3. Craft an Ideal Workspace

Imagine, just for a few minutes, walking into a space that instantly amplifies your mental energy in the morning. A place where every element beckons and shows you how to concentrate and magnify your focus. 

That's the power of your surroundings—they can either propel or deter your mental health and productivity. Organizing your workspace is a productivity hack

Crafting this oasis starts with the basics:

  • First, personalize your space. Whether it's a cherished photo, a motivational quote, or a soothing color palette, these details can steer your mind toward a specific task. 
  • Then, maintain an organized desk. Just as clutter can muddle our thoughts, a neat workspace can drastically improve focus.

Want to kick it up a notch? 

Introduce scents known to enhance focus, like peppermint. Some people find nature sounds or certain background music to be the backdrop they need when planning how to improve focus and concentration. 

4. Eliminate Digital Distractions

Eliminate Digital Distractions

In today's hyper-connected world, finding ways to focus better at work isn't just nice—it's necessary. Surprisingly, about half of our distractions aren't external; they're internal. 

That momentary urge to check your phone during a meeting or the wandering mind during a crucial presentation—sound familiar?

This is where the art of 'Do Not Disturb' shines. It's about using tech to combat the downsides of, well, tech. 

Harnessing the power of specific apps can enhance your focus and concentration: 

  • Forest: Plant a virtual tree and watch it grow as you focus, but if you check your phone, it withers—a fun way to keep you off your phone!
  • Freedom: Freedom lets you block distracting websites and apps so that you can focus without those pesky digital interruptions.
  • Focus@Will: Need a musical boost for your concentration? Focus@Will offers tunes scientifically designed to improve your focus.
  • RescueTime: RescueTime tracks your time on devices, giving you the insights to reduce distractions and up your focus game.
  • Pop on some headphones and let's AI-generated music help you focus, relax, or even fall asleep faster.

These apps are like training (yes, you read that right!) for your brain, sharpening your brain's ability to zone in on single tasks and ignore other tasks that beckon. They are tools that can guide you into the flow state, where you focus fully on the task.

5. Utilize 'Mini-Breaks'

Here's an irony: One of the best ways to focus might be to... stop focusing. Briefly, at least. 

In a world teeming with constant distractions, pushing ourselves relentlessly can hamper our ability to focus. That's where the magic of 'mini-breaks' comes into play.

Think about it. If you've ever hit a wall with a single task, a 5-minute walk can spark your problem-solving skills. Or perhaps, after hours of demanding brain training, some quick stretches reinvigorate your mind, preparing you to improve focus once more.

But mindfulness meditation is another tool in the arsenal of improving focus. Practicing mindfulness offers a break from the digital buzz, anchoring you in the present, even if it's just for a few minutes. 

It's a technique scientifically backed (1) to improve concentration and strengthen your focus muscles. Moreover, meditation helps you increase energy and handle tasks more efficiently.

6. Eat the Right Foods

Eat the Right Foods

Have you ever wondered how what's on your plate might be the key to focusing more? It's not just about chugging a cup of mushroom coffee or reaching for that energy bar; it's about embracing foods that nurture our brains and sustain our energy.

For starters, hydration is an unsung hero in improving your focus. According to research (2), a mere 2% drop in hydration can significantly affect our memory capacity and ability to boost concentration. 

That sudden urge to take a short break or the onset of a mental fog? It might just be your body asking for water.

Beyond liquids, there's a banquet of foods known to elevate cognitive functions, making it easier to stay focused. Some foods you may want to consider include: 

  • Blueberries: Often referred to as 'brain food', they are rich in antioxidants which may delay brain aging and improve memory.
  • Leafy Green Vegetables: Spinach, kale, and other greens contain vitamins and minerals like vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene, which may support brain health.
  • Fatty Fish: Salmon, trout, and sardines are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, essential for brain health and cognitive function.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Especially walnuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds, which contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals beneficial for brain health.
  • Whole Grains: Such as oats, barley, and quinoa. They are rich in fiber and glucose, providing a steady energy source for the brain.
  • Avocados: High in healthy unsaturated fats, they support brain health and may aid in maintaining healthy blood flow.
  • Dark Chocolate: Contains flavonoids, caffeine, and antioxidants. Dark chocolate may enhance memory and slow down age-related mental decline.
  • Eggs: A great source of several nutrients tied to brain health, including vitamins B6 and B12, folate, and choline.

These food choices are pivotal in enhancing focus and boosting your energy in the morning and beyond.

7. Move Your Body

Move Your Body

It's not just a saying; there's genuine science (3) behind the claim that movement is an integral part of how to concentrate better. While we often associate work with staying put, the body thrives on movement to revitalize the mind.

Ever found your attention waning after spending time on a task for a certain time? A simple stretch or a few desk exercises can act like a fresh gust of wind, clearing away the cobwebs and allowing you to focus better at work. It's this incredible mind-body connection that enhances our ability to concentrate.

Not sure where to start? Well, we've got your back: 

  • Desk Push-Ups: Stand a few feet from your desk or a sturdy table, place your hands on the edge, and perform push-ups. This exercise can strengthen your upper body and get your blood flowing, all without leaving your workspace.
  • Chair Squats: Stand in front of your chair and perform squats, lowering yourself until you're just above the seat before standing back up. This is a great way to engage your leg and core muscles and can be done almost anywhere.
  • Seated Leg Lifts: While sitting in your chair, straighten one or both legs and hold them in place for a few seconds, then lower them back down without touching the floor. This exercise helps to strengthen your leg muscles and can be done discreetly under your desk.
  • Wall Sit: Find an empty wall and sit against it in an invisible chair, with your legs at a 90-degree angle. Hold this position for as long as you can. This exercise is excellent for building strength and endurance in your lower body.
  • Stretching: Incorporate a series of stretches such as neck rolls, shoulder shrugs, arm stretches, and ankle rotations. These can be done standing or sitting and are crucial for relieving tension, improving circulation, and maintaining flexibility.

From boosting brain health to releasing endorphins that elevate mood, these activities are a magic potion for staying focused.

8. Invest in High-Quality Sleep

Invest in High-Quality Sleep

You might be scouring books and blogs to learn how to focus, but here's a twist: The secret might lie beneath your sheets. A good night's sleep is the unsung hero of cognitive excellence, and understanding its importance is the cornerstone of genuine productivity.

Did you know there are different stages of sleep, each serving a unique purpose? While some deepen your rest, others play a pivotal role in brain rejuvenation. 

In these cycles, our brains process the day, making sense of new information and restoring their ability to concentrate on a certain task the next day.

But how do you ensure you get enough sleep and not just lie in bed counting the minutes or checking social media notifications? 

The answer lies in crafting a sleep-friendly environment and routine. This means:

  • Eliminating distractions
  • Optimizing air quality
  • Getting rid of screens (blue light) at least an hour or two before bed
  • Avoiding heavy meals just before bed
  • Embracing a relaxing routine that slowly lulls you to sleep  

The dividends of high-quality sleep are grand! Apart from skyrocketing workplace satisfaction, adequate sleep shields you from numerous health issues, including sleep deprivation and its cascade of consequences like high blood pressure.

9. Avoid Multitasking

Avoid Multitasking

Remember when multitasking was all the rage? Many believed it was the key to enhanced productivity. But recent studies (4) bring a fresh perspective: trying to juggle multiple tasks doesn't necessarily mean you're more productive.

In reality, there's a switching cost each time you switch between tasks. This isn't about money but the mental price your brain pays. 

This constant flip-flopping exhausts cognitive resources, leading to more difficulty in maintaining quality work. Instead of enhancing attention spans, multitasking shatters them.

But fear not! There are proven ways to stay focused when you have multiple tasks at hand: 

  • First,embrace single-tasking. Dive into one task and give it your undivided attention. It's called focused work, and it's where magic happens. 
  • Thepower of time blocking can also supercharge productivity. Designate specific times for specific tasks and take a break when that time ends. This could be a short physical activity, a few deep breaths, or anything to reduce stress and reset.

So, if you're looking for ways to increase concentration, the answer might be simpler than you think. Prioritize, block your time, and focus solely on one task.

FAQs About How to Focus Better

How Can I Create A Distraction-Free Workspace At Home Or In The Office?

Creating a distraction-free workspace boils down to a few essentials. First, pick a quiet spot, whether at home or the office. Keep your desk clutter-free—a tidy space equals a focused mind. Silence those tech notifications; they're focus-breakers. 

Opt for natural light when possible, but ensure you've got good lighting overall. If noise gets to you, consider noise-canceling headphones. Finish by adding a personal touch, like a plant, but keep it minimal. 

Is Multitasking An Effective Way To Get More Done?

No, multitasking is often a misconception when it comes to productivity. While it might seem like you're achieving more by juggling multiple tasks, you're often draining your cognitive resources, leading to more mistakes and longer task completion times. 

Research indicates that our brains aren't designed for multiple attention-diverting tasks.Instead of multitasking, focusing on one task at a time—single-tasking—can improve accuracy, reduce stress, and enhance overall productivity. In essence, doing one thing well is more effective than doing many things subpar.

Do I Have ADHD Or Lack Focus?

Determining if you have ADHD or a temporary lack of focus isn't always straightforward. ADHD is a consistent pattern of inattention or hyperactivity that's been present since childhood. On the other hand, occasional distractions can stem from stress, sleep deprivation, or environmental factors. 

While everyone has off days where concentration is elusive, it's worth consulting a professional if these moments feel persistent and overwhelming. They can differentiate between a potential ADHD diagnosis and typical, everyday distractions. Remember, a diagnosis isn't a label but a guide to better understanding and managing your unique brain.

Key Takeaways

In this digital age, mastering the art of focus is more than a skill—it's a superpower. Each strategy we've explored isn't just about ticking tasks off a list; it's about reclaiming your time and mind. 

Whether battling tech distractions or discerning between ADHD and fleeting inattentiveness, remember that the path to laser-sharp focus is a journey, not a destination. Armed with these tools, you're well on your way to transforming fleeting moments of concentration into lasting, impactful productivity.

Now, we want to hear from you! Which strategy resonated the most? Are there any focus hacks you swear by? Drop a comment below and join the conversation. Your insights could be the golden nugget someone else needs to harness their focus. Let's learn and grow together!🔍💡👇🏼

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  1. Meditation: Process and effects, (1),
  2. Narrative Review of Hydration and Selected Health Outcomes in the General Population, (2),
  3. Health Benefits of Exercise, (3),
  4. Multicosts of Multitasking, (4),

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