Ahh, losing concentration. If you’re suffering with it, it can be hard to get back on track. I bet you’re even struggling to stay focused on this article right now, aren’t you?
But stay with me, as I know the feeling. And speaking from experience – both from slaving away over my dissertation to penning this article within my workplace – I’ve managed to find simple solutions that help sharpen the mind to get that extra task done. And to make it that little bit more fun, I’ve split these methods into evoking your five senses.
Let me help you get focused!
Listen to the appropriate sounds
What you can hear around you can have a massive impact on your ability to concentrate. It’s why silent study areas were invented, after all! Some people can work in a busy coffee shop with hustle and bustle, whilst others need to be locked away from all other sounds.
For me personally, I’ve found my earphones to be my new best friend. When I’m working on a straightforward task, podcasts are my saving grace. I can catch up on my favourite shows whilst checking off that to-do list that I would otherwise procrastinate on by making a million cups of tea.
If my project requires a bit more brain power or creativity, then I recommend study music. I’m personally a big advocate of the 24 hour YouTube playlists of LoFi Hip-hop/study beats. According to actual scientists, the frequency within this type of music improves concentration levels and allows your brain to process information much better. I’m even listening to it as I’m writing this… INCEPTION.
Rest your eyes when you need to
When we work, most of our sight will be trained on a screen. Whether it’s on a desktop for writing your essay or your mobile on the Debut app (cheeky cheeky). But the thing is, your eyes can only take so much straining on that fluorescent blue light.
If your sight is getting a bit wobbly and a headache is setting in, then maybe it’s time to give your eyes a break. Take a walk, grab a coffee and for god sake look at something that ISN’T your phone. Unplug from the digital world for a little bit. If that means having a short kip to be more alert (especially if you’re a night owl) then go ahead and do it! Your eyes can tell you a million things about your body, so be sure to listen to them.
Also, if you’re prescribed glasses, wear them. Seriously.
Dress to focus, not to relax
What you wear can really affect your energy levels. Whilst we all dream of working from home in our PJ’s, it’s not always the most productive thing to do, as it can make us feel sleepy and generally not in a good mental-state for work.
Really consider what puts you in the right headspace. Get ready as if it were a normal day; shower, dress accordingly and go through your normal routine. It doesn’t matter if you’re not leaving the house; the way you dress can actually have a significant impact on your direction of focus.
Also, if you’re going to the library or office, then you probably shouldn’t be in your pyjamas anyway. Not great social etiquette, my friend.
Get a nose for your environment
Alright, maybe I’m stretching it on the smell sense, but the meaning is no less impactful. Just as getting dressed can influence the way you work, so can what surrounds you. Everyone works differently, so test out a few methods to see what really gets your brain ticking.
Sitting in a straight back chair at a desk may be more productive than lying down on your bed, for example. You may work better in a room with natural light, or even somewhere that’s near greenery. At our old office, I used to work really well in these little isolation booths. As soon as I got in one of them, my fingers would fly across the keyboard. So do some recces to different areas of the library, office, home or even public spaces to see what suits you.
If you want to take the smell sense literally, then you can actually get room diffusers/candles in scents that are designed to have an emotional aura. If you’re a big believer of aromatherapy, then stick one of these in your home working space and see what happens!
Keep your appetite sated
The final sense – taste – is a big one. It may seem obvious to say “make sure you eat”, but you wouldn’t believe how common it is for students to forgo lunch for the sake of an extra hour of studying. Don’t let this be you. Hunger can distract your majorly from working, I should know.
Having a regular and balanced diet will not only help you regulate your schedule, but it should prevent you from snacking on unhealthy sweets and pouring gallons of caffeine straight down your throat. We all have days that need both of those things, but do your best to make sure that it’s not a regular occurrence.
If you’re not sure of what things to make, our wonderful contributors have a couple of quick and simple ideas to whip up in a matter of minutes. Be it lunches, dinners or even desserts, take a look and see if any of these can help you feel energised for the day (or night) ahead.