Focusing on Focus – A Quickie Primer
We don’t need to tell you that distractions are everywhere. By the time you finished reading that first sentence, you probably already had the urge to check your phone, open your email, or scroll on Insta – and that’s not your fault!
We live in a world of constant stimulation, and science has proven that it’s taking a toll on our brains and bodies.
Studies show that the average human attention span is 8.25 seconds, down 4.25 seconds from 2000 (no thanks to the boom of smartphones and increased screen time). So how do we drown out the noise and get our focus back? First, take our Focus Quiz to determine your level of focus, and which areas could use some work. Then, check out our Focusing on Focus Quickie Primer below, where we’ve compiled a list of realistic, attainable hacks that you can use to refocus your mind and body whenever you feel distraction rearing its unproductive head.
Utilize Time Blocking
If you don’t control your schedule, it will control you! Time blocking is a time management technique that divides your day into blocks of time; each block is dedicated to accomplishing a specific task, and that task only. Time blocking allows you to truly focus on the task at hand, without being tempted to switch tasks or jump from project to project. Try out time blocking if you:
- Juggle many different projects or responsibilities
- Find your day chopped up by meetings
- Battle constant interruptions throughout the day
- Spend too much time in “reactive mode”, responding to emails, messages, and Slacks (the worst!)
An easy way to start time blocking is by using a Pomodoro Timer, which schedules time blocks of 25 minutes each, followed by a 5 minute break (use this time to get up and walk around, fold some laundry or drink a glass of water). After completing four of these blocks, take a more extended break of 15 minutes. This method is helpful as it minimizes distractions for set periods and helps you become more aware of how you use your time and schedules in breaks. You can download a Pomodoro Timer HERE, and dive deeper into the benefits of monotasking HERE.
Give Your Brain a Boost with Equilibria’s (NEW!) Focus Gummy
A natural focus enhancer, EQ’s newest functional (non-CBD!) release increases focus and supports mental endurance. These hibiscus-watermelon flavored gummies are packed with brain boosting mushrooms, nutrients and vitamins to keep you alert and on-task. Take one when you’re having trouble concentrating, battling brain fog or need to really hone in on a specific task or project. Try our one-of-a-kind concentration hack HERE.
Create a Healthy Workspace
A clean, healthy workspace is crucial to staying focused and in the zone. A 2011 study that monitored the brain’s reaction to organized and disorganized stimuli concluded that clutter significantly decreases your ability to concentrate. Try out these tips for creating a work environment that will make you feel ~zen~:
- Set the mood: proper lighting and temperature is proven to help concentration. Too little sunlight also tends to decrease focus, so try to sit near a window or take your work outside whenever possible.
- Reduce clutter and organize your workspace: simply having clutter in plain sight overstimulates the brain.
- Adopt a “less is more” attitude and try to avoid purchasing unnecessary items.
- Give your things a specific place to live by investing in a desk organizer, or labeling specific drawers or folders to give things a place to go.
- Do your best to maintain your space and have a 5 minute clean up period at the beginning or end of each work day.
Feel the Music
While this one can vary from person to person, many people find that music helps them concentrate while studying, working, or completing household tasks. Listening to music has been shown to improve mood, increase motivation and concentration, and improve memory and brain stimulation. According to a 2007 study, music can help your brain absorb and interpret information more easily. Check out our EQ Playlist for Focus HERE, or create your own with music that helps you focus best.
We all know that exercise is crucial to our long-term physical and mental health, but exercise can also offer immediate benefits to help our concentration and focus. Physical activity immediately boosts the brain’s dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels – all of which affect focus and attention. Try taking short breaks throughout the day to move your body and see how it brings your focus back – have a 5 minute dance party sesh in your living room, walk to the top of your street and back, or get up and stretch at the water cooler. You can also try this 10 minute yoga flow for focus and productivity.
Have Fun With It
Just like our bodies need frequent exercise, so do our brains. Exercising your brain regularly can improve concentration and memory recall, and prevent memory loss. Try implementing some fun brain exercises in your daily routine to help build your mental muscle:
- Pick up a Sudoko or crossword puzzle (remember those?!) to work on while you have your morning coffee.
- Play a fun online brain game, like Wordle or Qwordle instead of scrolling on TikTok
- Use your non-dominant hand to write or use your computer mouse.
- Close your eyes while brushing your teeth or washing your hands (this helps to build new neural pathways).
- Choose a new path to work, whether you’re walking, driving, or biking (this activates the frontal cortex and hippocampus).
Staying hydrated is crucial to keeping us focused – after all, our brain is 75% water, and it can be challenging to concentrate when you have too little. As a general rule, you should try to drink about an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day. If you’re worried you aren’t drinking enough, try using a fun app like Plant Nanny. Plant Nanny is a cute way to track your daily water intake – each glass of water you drink throughout the day will water your plants in the app, so you can both thrive!
Speaking of drinking – make sure to be aware of caffeine consumption. While we would never tell you to ditch your morning coffee (how cruel!), too much caffeine can lead to disruptions in focus, irritability, and insomnia. Try swapping your afternoon Americano for a cup of tea, a square of dark chocolate, or one of our Energy Capsules (these have a small amount of caffeine combined with L-Theanine which helps to keep your systems calm and balanced, even while boosting your energy levels).
Hunger can sneak up on you during a busy day – when you notice difficulty concentrating, think of the last time you ate. If it’s been a while, grabbing a quick, healthy snack to munch on while you work can help bring you back to Earth – because when our brains aren’t fueled with the proper nutrients, we can begin to experience issues with concentration, focus, and fatigue. Try choosing a snack that is low in processed sugar, and preferably with a combination of healthy fats, protein, or complex carbs.
- Handful of nuts (contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital for cognitive function)
- Apple (packed with quercetin, an antioxidant that helps reduce oxidation and inflammation of neurons)
- Carrot sticks with hummus (full of protein, healthy fats and fiber)
- Hard boiled egg (one of the richest sources of dietary choline, a nutrient that strengthens crucial neurotransmitters for memory-related brain functions)
- Banana and peanut butter (bananas are filled with vitamins crucial to brain health, and peanut butter is a great protein packed add-on)
Find Your Zen
We get it – meditation can seem like a hassle, and these days we rarely have time to sit still and just be. However, research has shown that meditation can actually change the structure and function of the brain through relaxation, which can increase focus, and improve memory and attention span. The good thing is, meditation can be done anywhere that feels safe and comfortable – while sitting at your desk, in your car, or during a walk. Try this 3 minute body scan to bring your attention to yourself and how you’re feeling, or this breathing exercise to improve concentration. You can also try this 10 minute mindfulness meditation for calmness and stress relief in conjunction with our Stress Gummies, which are packed with adaptogenic, mood-boosting functional mushrooms to keep stress levels in check.
There you have it – our fave focus hacks for staying concentrated and in the zone all day long.
Pick out one or two hacks to try alongside our Focus Gummies when you’re really feeling foggy and unproductive, and see things come back into focus.
Learn more about how multitasking is bad for your health HERE, and why monotasking is the way of the future HERE.