10 Easy Ways to Rejuvenate Your Focus at Work

10 Easy Ways to Rejuvenate Your Focus at Work

When the afternoon rolls around at work, our brains often just don’t want to focus. Our eyes are automatically drawn to any slight distraction we detect, losing any momentum we had just gained. Deciding to stay focused at work is hard, and knowing how to do it is even harder. Here are 10 ways to rejuvenate your brain and redirect your focus at work:

1. Get a standing desk.

Sitting for long hours in the day is not good for your health. Some studies have found a correlation between sedentary time and heart disease, diabetes, and even longevity. Standing burns more calories, lowers blood sugar levels and your risk of heart disease, and reduces back pain. People who have used standing desks at work have reported that it has not only boosted their mood and energy, but also contributes to increased productivity.

2. Focus on one task at a time. 

You may think that you are good at multitasking, but scientists actually found that the brain is not able to multitask. Instead, you are splitting your attention back and forth between different projects fighting for your attention. “Multitaskers” are actually less likely to perform well when it comes to task-switching and safe driving.

3. Engage your senses. 

Your brain is more alert when you are providing more sensory input. Use colored sticky notes or pens. Finally try out those essential oils everybody is obsessed with. Play background music or white noise.

4. Turn off your notifications. 

Nothing pulls your attention away easier than a flashing screen or vibration from your phone. Place it on silent and do not look at it until it is time to take a break. You won’t believe the productivity you have when you are no longer a slave to your phone. If you find yourself still hovering toward that bright little screen, binge on it during your breaks so you are less tempted while working.

5. Go outside. 

Take a walk and get your blood flowing. One study found that taking a walk in nature can improve short-term memory. While natural environments modestly attract your attention, urban environments dramatically capture it, making it less restorative to your brain’s ability to focus.

6. Organize your workspace.

A cluttered desk can make your mind feel cluttered as well. Organize your space to minimize the things on your desk that may be distracting you. Make a to-do list. Creating a to-do list helps to free your mind from having to worry about remembering something. Prioritize the projects on your to-do list and keep a record of things you have accomplished throughout each day. This can help you feel in control and focus on one task at a time.

7. Change your environment.

Leave your home or office and go to a coffee shop. For some, just the smell can help them be more productive. Change the light that shines into your workspace – natural lighting is best, but lighting with a blueish hue can improve cognitive function.

8. Take more breaks.

Figure out how long it takes for you to stop being productive, and take a break every time that occurs. For example, at the end of every hour you can feel your energy drifting. Create a cycle where you work for 55 minutes and take a break for the last 5 of every hour.

9. Bring brain food for afternoon snacks.

You know that, come the middle of the afternoon, you are going to get the munchies and be reaching for those snacks inside your desk drawer. Why not supply yourself with food that will actually help your brain function and give you the reboot you are looking for? This article highlights brain foods such as blueberries, nuts, seeds, avocados, whole grains, beans, tea, and dark chocolate that will increase your brain health now and in the future.

10. Utilize mindful breathing.

Research shows that exercising mindfulness such as deep breathing or meditation decreases the amount of cortisol you produce, the stress hormone. It also increases the size of the attention, deep thought and memory regions in the brain. Dr. Herbert Benson’s Relaxation Response suggests sitting quietly in a comfortable position, closing your eyes, relaxing all of your muscles, and focusing on breathing through your nose.

So, the next time you are feeling distracted and unproductive at work, choose just one of these strategies to try. Your brain, your to-do list, and your boss will thank you.

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