5 Simple Ways to Stay Focused

Friends sitting at a table getting work done.

With everything from emails and text messages to Facebook and Instagram fighting for your attention, it’s only natural that you’ll have a little trouble keeping your brain power focused on a single task from time to time. But when “time to time” becomes “literally always,” you might want to start rethinking your approach to getting things done. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with some simple hacks that can help you refresh and revive your concentration in no time.

Take a Break

Taking a break may seem counterproductive when your goal is to remain on task and to work efficiently. But in reality, taking a breather in between tasks, or stepping away from your desk for a second when you’re feeling blocked, can be a super effective way to keep your mind focused when you are working. Plus, taking a break from your work, even if only briefly, allows you to look at a task with fresh eyes when you do come back to pick up where you left off. This can, in turn, get you finishing things faster in the long run than you would have by just trying to power through a loss of concentration at your desk.

Hit the Gym

Your primary reason for hitting the gym may be to keep your body in shape, but fitting a workout into your day can be just as important when it comes to keeping your mind in shape, too. And by keeping your brain healthy, exercise not only boosts your ability to concentrate, but it helps keep improve your memory, as well.

Make a To-Do List

Even if you know well enough what you need to get done, take the time at the start of your day to write everything down in an itemized to-do list. By getting everything down on paper, you effectively relieve a little bit of stress on your mind by letting go of the need to keep everything prioritized in your head – and less stress on your mind means more energy that your brain can use to keep you on task. Plus, a to-do list gives you a visual way of monitoring your work, which also helps motivate you to work more efficiently as you work your way down the list.

Start with Creative Work

If your first instinct when you sit down at your desk in the morning is to get menial tasks out of the way right off the bat, then you might be going about your work the wrong way. In fact, your best bet early in the day is to start with any tasks that require the most creativity. This is because you’re most likely to think imaginatively before you’ve worn your brain out with hours of smaller tasks, no matter how mindlessly you can perform them.

Embrace Boredom

A lack of stimulation in your downtime may not be something you’re used to – what’s the point of having an hour free if it’s void of Netflix? – but letting yourself actually be bored every now and then could help your brain stay on track when it needs to. After all, listening to music or watching TV in your free time still requires some level of mental attention, which means that these activities don’t really give your brain a chance to recuperate in your time off.

About Tamara Rahoumi

Tamara Rahoumi is a writer on The Path Editorial Team. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in magazine journalism at NYU. Her passion for wellness always has her researching the latest fitness trends, experimenting with recipes from superfood cookbooks, and working towards an overall healthier and happier lifestyle. In addition to reading her articles on The Path, you can follow her adventures on her lifestyle blog, The Curly Nomad.