Are you finding it hard to concentrate on everyday tasks? Do distractions seem to get the best of you? Don’t worry; we’ve got your back. In this blog we will dive into the most common factors that can cause poor focus, and also different ways to improve it. Let’s jump right in and reclaim your focus!
5 common factors that cause poor focus
1. Anxiety and stress
Feelings of fear, stress and excessive worry can all be symptoms of anxiety. When we feel these things, it can take us away from the present moment, which makes it harder for us to focus on the task in hand. When we are stressed or anxious, our brain enters a state of heightened alertness, preparing us for a ‘flight’ or ‘fight’ mode. The stress hormone cortisol will be released and it can impair our cognitive functions, which includes our memory and focus.
2. Insufficient sleep
If you’re finding it hard to sleep, you might notice that you’re feeling sluggish, and you’re not as alert as you normally are. When you don’t sleep enough, your brain cannot function properly. The neurons in your brain will become overworked, impairing their ability to function at their best. All of these factors can result in a lack of concentration and focus.
3. Insufficient physical activity
When you hit the gym, take part in an exercise class or even go on a longer walk, you might notice that you feel more energised and relaxed. Exercise improves our cognitive function, which includes your attention span, problem-solving skills and information processing. Therefore, when you don’t move your body, your cognitive functions decrease and you might find it harder to concentrate day to day.
4. Poor eating habits
If your diet is lacking in essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, then you’re not nourishing your brain. People whose diets are high in sugar might notice that they feel sluggish not only in their physical health, but also their mental health. Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between a diet high in refined sugar and impaired brain function, which will cause you to lose focus and can result in low mood swings. If you change your diet so it becomes more balanced, the vitamins you consume will help to protect your brain and make it work optimally.
5. Environmental factors
Your concentration levels can be highly influenced by your environment. These environmental hinderances could be factors such as noise, light, location, temperature and the list can go on and on. You will have to find out what works for you. Some people will focus better when they are in a silent space by themselves, whereas other people might find it easier to concentrate when they are in a coffee shop with a gentle background noise. If you’re finding it hard to focus where you’re working, try and change up the environment you’re in and see if it makes a difference.
Ways to improve your focus
Mindfulness & meditation
Mindfulness practices such as meditation involve training your attention to stay in the present moment. If you have a few techniques that can help you to relax, and bring you back to the task in hand, then you might find it easier to focus. Morphée Zen is our pocket-sized meditation and relaxation device that can be used on the go. Each session lasts for 5-minutes and there are 72 sessions to choose from, if you’re at work and you cannot focus - take a short break and practice mindfulness meditation to help you get back into the swing of your work.
Take a break
We know that taking a break from something you need to focus on can seem counterintuitive, but it can actually help to increase your concentration. If you find yourself re-reading the same sentence again and again and your mind is wandering all over the place, you should take a short break. Refresh your brain by listening to a Morphée session, go outside and get some fresh air, eat a nutritious snack or complete a short workout. Trust us, taking breaks can actually help you finish your task quicker.
Multitasking has become the norm. You might be picking up your children from school whilst on the phone, or you might be cooking dinner whilst trying to finish off your work, in this day and age we are always multitasking. It might seem like a good way to get more done in a shorter time frame, but we might not be as good at doing it as we think we are. The brain isn’t designed to focus on more than one thing at a time, what we are actually doing is switching from one of the tasks to the other. If you have the chance to do one thing at a time, you might just find that you can concentrate better on the task in hand and do it better.
Improving your sleep
Experts recommend that adults should aim to sleep for 7-8 hours a night to help your brain recuperate from the day. If you are finding it hard to sleep then here are some tips and tricks to help you get more sleep and improve your focus.
- Turn off all screens an hour or so before bedtime, the blue lights emitted will delay your body in releasing melatonin which tells your body it’s time to go to sleep.
- Wind down before bed with a relaxing task such as reading a book or having a warm bath or shower.
- Aim to get up and go to sleep at the same time everyday, this will help your body get into a sleeping pattern.
- Use a Morphée
Morphée is our sleep and relaxation device that contains over 200 guided-sessions for you to listen to as part of your bedtime routine. You could listen to a few Morphée sessions whilst you’re soaking in the bath, or you could wait until you're in bed with the lights off. Our sleep aid has been created by sleep professionals and sophrologist experts to help you fall asleep quicker and deeper. P.S. We have a 100-night trial, you can try out our device for 100-night’s and if you don’t love it as much as we would hope, you can return the product and get a full refund.
Train your brain
Studies have shown that brain training activities can help to enhance cognitive abilities such as concentration. These training activities can include chess, crosswords, puzzles, meditation, sudoku and so many more. These activities can help with short-term memory and can help you to process and find solutions to problems quicker. So next time you’re bored, why don’t you try out a brain-training game or activity to help improve your focus.
Use a timer
Some of you may already do this, but you actually train your brain to hyper-focus on a task by using a timer. When you have a task to do, set your timer for 20-30 minutes and then do the activity during this time. When the alarm goes off, you can take a 5 minute break - you could make yourself a cup of tea during this time or stand up and stretch. When the 5 minutes are up, you reset the time and go again.
Create to do lists
No one can remember everything that they have to do, and relying on just your mind to remember all the tasks you need to do can just cause unnecessary stress. Keeping a track of all the tasks you need to do each day and ticking them off as you go along can help you to stay focused on what you need to do that day.
Everyone will be different and you might need to try a few different techniques to help improve your focus and concentration. If you have any more useful tips and tricks that help you, you can leave them written down in the comments below.