The Best ways to increase your focus
Focusing is one of the master skills of life. No matter what you want to achieve, you’re going to have to focus. With focus, almost anything is possible.
To benefit from focus, you have to balance and optimize several factors in your life that affect your ability to focus. These factors range from your diet and sleep to your environment and mental skills. Once you have all the factors in balance, you’ll be much more capable of achieving your goals.
Until the factors are under control, focus may be elusive. Focus is like the miners’ canary that used to give early warning of air problems down in a mine. Focus is fragile – when anything in your life is less than optimum, focus is the first thing that suffers. It depends on several factors including sleep, exercise, food, environment, and the level of stress, among other things.
Moreover, a healthy life balance, while important, is only part of maintaining your sharpest focus. You may also need to learn some new skills, including the art and discipline of making the best choice in each situation, as well as arranging circumstances to support and not block your efforts. Other skills you’ll need are concentration, goal setting, and visualizing positive outcomes.
One overlooked skill is arranging your circumstances. This involves knowing your own limits and characteristics, such as how long you can concentrate, how often you need a break, and the particular environment that helps you focus the most.
If you find yourself having trouble focusing, you need to find out why. Look at the details of your situation and analyze it as well as your overall lifestyle to identify the factors you need to eliminate or add.
The first common problem area in maintaining focus is sleep. Most of us need 7-8 hours per night. New research suggests that those 8 or so hours can be enjoyed in more than one sleep period during the night. Waking up partway through the night may in fact be the pattern we are designed to follow.
In any case, though, whether you take naps during the day or sleep like a log at night, you need to have enough sleep to repair and heal, clear the decks, and be ready for the next day’s work.
How you eat is another highly important influence on your ability to focus. Keeping your best edge requires a healthy diet that provides a full complement of vitamins and minerals. Among them are
- vitamin E – linked with memory
- lecithin – helps prevent neurological disorders and depression
- omega-3 fatty acids – supports the production of neurotransmitters
- gingko biloba – helps get oxygen to the brain
- magnesium – relaxes blood vessels and calms the nervous system
- vitamin B12 – keeps brain function in balance
- vitamin D – necessary for all aspects of health, especially a strong immune system
Another essential for a healthy mind is exercise. Good for more than just a strong heart, regular exercise also triggers nerve cell production in the brain and faster building of nerve connections. Any activity that raises the pulse and strengthens muscles is good.
The remaining factors are mostly mental. Focus depends partly on setting up your environment and routines for success, as when you go to the library or a quiet cafe to study instead of attempting to read in front of the TV. As another example, a habitual routine of working on your business every morning will condition your mind to focus on demand.
As mentioned already, it also helps to know what your goals are. After that, you need to visualize success and make good choices. A good goal is specific enough that you would know it if you reached it. Along the way, you need to prime your mind to focus with conviction by visualizing a successful outcome.
If focus is a master skill for success, then the key to making it pay off is making good choices. Make your choices support your focus by taking a moment to remind yourself of what you want and why you want it. If you really want to achieve a goal, you can use that desire to orient your mind toward the goal. Then all the best ways to increase focus will activate and start to work for you.
Focus depends on all of these factors working together. Physical considerations like food and rest have to support mental approaches and habits to make focus strong and sharp. With focus as your ally, you can accomplish goals far beyond what you may have reached before. Life is just waiting for you to use that almost magical tool.