There are times when all of us find it difficult to concentrate. Whether it’s tiredness, boredom, distractions or stress causing your lack of focus, there are ways to improve concentration. Following our 10 tips for improving concentration will help you to get your work done effectively, fit more into your day and feel more alert.
Our Top 10 Concentration Improving Tips
Our tips will help you to improve your concentration levels and feel more focused in day-to-day life.
1. Eat Well
Eating well helps to improve your concentration for a variety of reasons. The first being that hunger is extremely distracting! You can’t focus on work, a problem or a task you need to complete while your stomach is rumbling; we’re biologically programmed to pay attention to that instead.
It can swing the other way though; eating too much can also impact your concentration. Having a very full stomach can trigger a ‘rest and digest’ response in which your body would prefer to nap than concentrate on the task at hand.
A Healthy Snack
If you’re hungry when you need to concentrate, try a healthy snack. There’s a lot of food that is good for your brain and helps concentration, such as blueberries. These are packed with antioxidants that increase the oxygen that reaches your brain for up to five hours after eating, helping you to focus.
A few squares of dark chocolate can also be a good choice. It contains a small amount of caffeine which can boost your focus, and doesn’t have a lot of sugar like milk chocolate which would cause you to crash and lose concentration. It also contains magnesium, which helps your brain process and reduce stress chemicals. Dark chocolate also stimulates the release of endorphins and serotonin, which heighten your mood and therefore helps you to concentrate.
Vitamins & Nutrients for Concentration
It’s not just being hungry that can impact concentration. The long-term effect of your diet plays a big part in your day-to-day focus because it influences the chemicals and hormones in your brain.
There are loads of vitamins, oils and nutrients our bodies need. A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids (found in oily fish) are really good for concentration. They also help with coordination, memory and improving mental well-being. Having a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of variety will improve your ability to concentrate in the long-run.
Along a similar line, supplements are a fantastic way to improve both long and short-term concentration. Eating well is great on paper, but it can be hard to get a balanced diet. Most people in the Western world are deficient in omega-3, for example, because western diets are often lacking in fish and other sources of fatty acids. Supplements help you to get all the vitamins you need even when you struggle to get them into your diet.
CBD oil is a health supplement that boosts concentration levels, both short term and long term. Add CBD drops to your water and sip while you work. It improves your alertness and focus in the moment and throughout the day.
CBD also helps to improve your sleep pattern, decreasing tiredness and therefore helping you to focus during the day. It also decreases stress and anxiety, which can cause problems with concentration.
Read more about CBD oil with our ultimate guide to CBD.
3. Set Goals
Set both short and long term goals to help you concentrate. It’s great to have a long term goal in mind, such as ‘prepare for the exam in order to qualify for a new role’ as this can provide motivation to sit down and get going.
However, long-term goals are easy to put off and the final result can seem very distant. Breaking the task down into smaller, short term goals helps you to focus and concentrate hour-by-hour. It’s most effective to keep these goals simple. For example, a goal could be to work for an hour or to read ten pages.
Completing a goal stimulates the reward centre of the brain, releasing endorphins and serotonin which improves your mood and therefore will help you feel good about the next task.
It can be beneficial to write a list of goals and cross them off when complete. This increases satisfaction, which is a great way to push you to complete the next goal.
4. Take Breaks
Alongside setting goals, it’s important to take breaks. If your goal is to work for an hour, having a set break at the end of that time will help you to work effectively throughout your time.
Don’t necessarily just take a break when you need one. That will cause productivity to decrease dramatically in the lead up to your break. The best way to ensure you retain high levels of concentration is to have set breaks. It will depend on your levels of concentration and work load as to how often these breaks should be for you.
As a teenager revising for an exam, you might want to take two minute break every twenty minutes to walk around the room and look away from your textbook, and a ten minute break every hour.
As an adult looking to complete a task, a two minute break every half hour can help you to concentrate for an extended period of time, with a longer break every couple of hours.
5. Work Through Frustration
If you hit a wall, a difficult problem or are simply tired, it can be extremely difficult to keep concentrating on the task. However, it’s really important that you don’t give up. Pushing through the difficulties trains your brain to concentrate better in the future. In the same way that an athlete has to push through physical tiredness in order to get stronger, improving your mental strength is the same process.
Telling yourself ‘just five more’ can be a fantastic way to push through the frustration. This could be reading five more pages, writing five more paragraphs (or sentences if the going’s really tough!), completing five more sums and then stopping for a break. Whatever it is, pushing on trains your brain and helps to improve your concentration.
6. Procrastination Lists
Most people struggle with procrastination at some point. A great way to combat this is to write a to-do list or a distraction list. Write down all the jobs you need to do, no matter how big or small, then you can come back to them later and won’t be distracted with them when you ought to be focusing on your task.
Distractions work in a similar way. Before you start on a task, write down all the things in your brain that are distracting you. Acknowledging them on paper helps your brain to dismiss them and know that you can come back to important things once your task is complete.
7. Space & Environment
The space and environment you’re working in can have a big impact upon your concentration. If it’s too cold, hot, loud, dark or uncomfortable, then it can distract you from your work
Try to find a space with good lighting, that isn’t too hot and doesn’t have lots of people talking and moving around in.
Learn the environment and conditions in which you work best. Some people find it difficult to work in silence and prefer background noise, such as music, while others need quiet in order to concentrate.
It can also really help to have a specific space dedicated to your task. For example, working in your living room can make it difficult to switch between work and relaxing. It makes concentration more difficult while you’re working, as well as making it harder to switch off when the task is complete. If you can have a space that is dedicated to work, it can make it easier to concentrate.
Exercise stimulates blood flow and increases oxygen to the brain. It improves memory and focus, making it much easier to concentrate. It’s a fantastic way to improve concentration levels.
An hour or so before sitting down to concentrate, try going for a run or doing some pilates in your living room. Stretching or going on two minutes walks during your rest breaks has a similar effect (although not as much as a longer exercise session does!).
Exercise also uses up excess physical energy that otherwise can make you fidgety and disrupt concentration.
9. Drink Water
Keeping hydrated is one of the key ways you can improve your concentration. Water doesn’t just make sure you’re not distracted by thirst; it is also the most important thing for your brain and body. It helps you to feel more alert, sleep better at night and focus on tasks during the day.
Adding some drops of CBD into your glass of water only improves the effects!
10. Mobile Phones
There’s a lot of scientific research and theories exploring the effects of mobile phones upon our concentration levels -- especially for Gen Z who have grown up with smartphones and tablets beside them 24/7. There’s growing evidence to suggest that the ability to concentrate has reduced dramatically in teenagers and young adults now compared to just a couple of decades before.
There’s nothing wrong with mobile phones -- in fact, quite the opposite -- but when it comes to improving concentration, they’re not that helpful. Put your mobile phone across the room and on silent. This is likely to improve your levels of concentration significantly.
There are apps for phones, as well as programmes for laptops, designed to block access to Instagram, facebook or games for a set period of time to help you concentrate without getting distracted!
Tips for Improving Concentration
Following our Top 10 tips for improving concentration will help you focus on tasks and feel more alert. A lot of our tips don’t just improve your focus in the moment, but also help train your brain to get better at concentrating in the long run.
We have a huge amount of tips and tricks on our blog, as well as more information about CBD oil. Check out our previous blog on handling sport inflammation or read about how CBD can help with those suffering from addiction.