Five ways to help you stay focused

·3-min read

With the fast pace of modern life, it can often be difficult to stay focused on the task at hand.

But while it may be easy to get distracted thinking about topics as big as world events or as small as what you are having for lunch, Karen Mack of U.K. wellness firm Well lab (welllab.co.uk) is adamant there are some simple techniques to adopt whenever you are falling behind your schedule. Read on for details.

Daydream

Though it may seem counterproductive, some scientists believe allowing a specific time for daydreaming is good for our health and can even help us to pay attention when required. "The mind wanders automatically, so giving it an allotted time to do just that should help you focus when you need," noted Karen.

Laugh

While it's probably not wise to goof-off when you're on a tight deadline, it's totally fine to have a laugh with colleagues whenever the moment arises.

"Our brains are naturally drawn towards fun activities and some scientific studies have shown that by allowing ourselves to have fun, we can potentially concentrate better for longer. In one report, those who were shown a funny video then asked to do an activity, tried harder and were focused on the task for longer than those that simply sat straight down to work," she shared.

Get a playlist

If the sound of silence only encourages your mind to fill the gap with daydreams and procrastination, then playing some background music could be a good way to combat this.

"A word of warning though, it needs to be the right kind of tune," the expert advised. "Some types of music provide non-invasive noise and evoke pleasurable feelings which temper our subconscious ability to get distracted. A surprising choice might be video game music, which is specifically produced to keep our minds focused on what we're doing. Another option would be low fi music which is widely thought to aid concentration."

Stop scrolling

It's an obvious one, but mobile phones provide a constant source of distraction.

"There are apps that you can use to mute social media for allotted periods of time. The most popular being Freedom," said Karen. "Another tip is to not install apps like WhatsApp and Facebook on your desktop and remove your email notifications in favour of giving yourself an allocated time to go and check them."

Try a 'power five minutes' each hour

Whenever possible, try to fit in a little exercise.

"Sessions of physical activity such as walking or jogging are well known to aid concentration. However, because the effect only lasts about an hour, scheduling regular opportunities to be active during the day could benefit you more," she explained. "Studies have also shown that just five minutes of intense activity can also impact obesity levels and BMI. So, even if it's just five minutes every hour, it can all add up to being more productive, with a healthier body and mind."

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