Our generation has been privileged enough to get access to super-fast internet which opens a host of opportunities to succeed in life. Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and other social media platforms keep us connected and have made communication efficient. However, just like everything, it has its flaws. Similarly the internet also has its shortcomings. It can be a huge distraction and can take our focus away from the task at hand. In this article we take a look at how to focus better and give our top tips so you can boost your productivity.
Have you found yourself scrolling through countless Instagram Reels and Tiktoks, only to realise that an hour has passed by? Well, you are not alone. In this world full of attention-hogging media, it is not unusual for us to fall prey to the dreaded doom scroll. What’s worse is when it happens during work hours and hampers your productivity.
Tiktok, Instagram Reels, YouTube and a bunch of other apps have become an addiction for many users. People are known to criticise these platforms for ruining their concentration, but still use them due to the dopamine hit.
Factors that affect focus and concentration
The ability to focus is subjective. For some people, focusing in chaotic environments may be easy, but for others it can feel impossible. Let’s take a quick look at what impacts our ability to focus:
It’s not unusual to have a a sleepless night. And we are sure that you are familiar with the groggy mood and decreased concentration that comes the next day. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation has a significant impact on our cognitive function, and this can disturb our focus. You can improve your sleep by taking time to wind down before bed without screens and ensuring your bedroom is a comfortable 18c.
Our eating habits can impact our moods, clarity of thought and other cognitive functions of the brain. Memory loss, weariness, and lack of attention are just a few of the symptoms we may face if our bodies don’t get the right nutrition. The brain requires a well balanced diet to function at its best- – that means plenty of fruit and vegetables and healthy fats (think salmon and leafy green vegetables). Some restrictive diets may also decrease focus by depriving the brain of nutrients or by causing hunger, which is distracting in itself.
3. Environmental factors
Sometimes things in our environment can disrupt our focus. Loud noises, people chatting, kids or pets running around can affect our focus quite significantly without us even realising it. Got a song stuck in your head from Tiktok? There you go! Distraction. Most of us are used to being distracted by our smartphones and this hampers our productivity levels.
How to focus – top tips for improving your focus and concentration
Unsure how to focus? You can avoid online distractions easily by keeping your devices away at all times, but we all know that’s impractical. From our work to our personal lives, we are surrounded with gadgets that demand our attention. However, we still can avoid online distractions by the following ways:
As tough as it may be, removing devices from your routine can be a great start. This doesn’t mean to go absolutely cold turkey on gadgets, but simply eliminate them from a few parts of your life. For example, not using your phone in the bathroom, while walking, or for 30 minutes before sleep can quickly make a difference in focus levels. Another good tip could be to limit social media interaction throughout the day. Alternatively, if you cannot live without your phone, try silencing app notifications for an hour at a time to prevent yourself from reaching for the phone so frequently.
Meditation and mindfulness
Meditation can help you focus. It puts the brain and body in a relaxed state. Meditation isn’t only for Instagrammers overlooking beautiful sunrises. It can take place at any time to help you feel more relaxed and focussed. Some people meditate by walking through a park, others practice it while driving and some meditate by just doing nothing. Every person’s way of practising mindfulness is different. Try it now! Focus on your breathing and observe how your body feels. Every time a thought pops into your head, refocus on yourself and how your body feels. Whether you try it for one minute or 10, you should quickly notice the benefits.
Multitasking sounds great – you get multiple tasks completed at one! But our human brains are not designed to do this indefinitely. Multiple studies have shown that the human brain is not designed to multitask. A “switch cost” is associated with multitasking which is the amount of time your brain takes to switch focus from one task to another. Some may argue that it is in milliseconds, but as the complexity of the tasks increase, the switch costs add quite rapidly. Focusing on one task at a time can give better results and may even save time compared to multitasking.
Sleep is hugely underrated. Having a good quality night’s sleep can not only help your good concentration, but also provides your body with more energy to execute tasks. Studies have shown that our gadgets emit a blue light, invisible to the naked eye, which blocks melatonin – the sleep hormone – in our body. Using blue light filters can help throughout the day, but avoiding devices an hour before sleep can do wonders for sleep quality.
Take more breaks
Though it may seem counterintuitive, taking a break when you are unable to focus can help reset your mind. Perhaps taking a short nap, a stroll in the park, or even a snack break can help you take your mind off the task at hand and come back to it refreshed. This acts as a buffer where your brain can recover from exhaustion. You can then revisit your task with improved focus and higher energy.
What if I cannot stay focussed?
Losing focus is not always in our control – it is dependent on multiple external factors. So next time you lose focus, don’t overstress yourself, as it is human nature to get distracted. What you can control are the things we have mentioned above. So practise these strategies and let us know how you go on, on our social media channels!