*Let’s talk about focus during an afternoon concentration slump.
We live in the age of the monkey brain. Our minds are constantly stimulated by information from our phones, TVs, ads, and anything else we see in the course of a day. So when the time comes to sit and work, be it homework, a college thesis, work, an email to someone you don’t like, or a blog after missing a week of posting (I’m sorry!), something shuts off in our brain.
Picture a toddler that needs to be put to bed. He will scream and run in every direction, except the bedroom. There will be a hundred and one things the kid must do before he even says goodnight. There’s the repetition of “One more bedtime story… One more snack… One more video… One more scroll through social media…” There’s always something.
Today, we end all that. Here are the top tricks for eliminating distractions and improving your focus.
Before I get to the list, here’s a truth bomb: Concentration is one you. Yes, we all have days when the monkey in our brain is throwing a rave, or there is an overwhelming about of things to accomplish. Yes, some days are harder than others. Yet no one else can make your life productive.
People hate this truth. I have no idea why.
Elie Venezky, author of Hack Your Brain says, “Focus is a muscle, and you can build it. Too many people labor under the idea that they’re just not focused, and this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Once you drop this mistaken belief, you can take a much more realistic approach to building focus.”
Once you create the correct mindset that focus is something you can control and improve, here are some tips on how to create the perfect environment to foster better focus.
Remember, using all of these tricks won’t guarantee productivity. The only hack to get something done is to do it. This only helps.
Top 5 Ways to Improve Focus
- Take a moment to breathe before you begin. Sit in a comfortable position and allow your body to calm itself before you approach the task.
- Choose a task to focus on. Know what is worthy of distracting you and what isn’t. Write it down and keep it near your workstation.
- Unplug. Turn off the internet if you are not using it. If you are, log out of social media and email, and close all unnecessary tabs. Google Chrome has a fantastic extension called “Forest.” You can create a list of websites to blacklist and whitelist while you are working.
- Background music. This is a personal favorite of mine. Although too much background noise can distracting, enjoyable music can help you focus. Everyone has different preferences for music, so find a playlist that works for you.
- Take short breaks. Instead of feeling guilty every time you get distracted, set time for goofing off and reenergizing the brain. A study found people who took short breaks during a 50-minute task performed better than those working straight through.
So get productive! Right after you make these delicious muffins.
Gluten-Free Zucchini Muffins
- 3 cup shredded zucchini
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup coconut flour + 2 tbsp
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix the zucchini, eggs, olive oil and maple syrup until combined; then gently incorporate the dry ingredients.
- Spoon the batter into lined muffins about three-quarters full.
- Bake for about 30 minutes.
- Store in the fridge.
Makes 20 muffins