• Danielle Ibelema, MD

5 Ways to Improve Your Focus

Here are 5 tips to improve your focus when you're feeling distracted or struggling to concentrate.





#1 - Remove distractions


The endless stream of content pouring into your feed may add to your overwhelm.

Be intentional about the amount of time you spend on social media each day. Consider setting a timer and limiting your daily use or taking a few days off social media platforms.


Also clear up your physical space. You want your work area to be organized and free of objects that will pull your attention.


#2 - Take a break

Consider stepping away from your desk or the task at hand. A break can help clear your mind a realign your focus. This might seem counterproductive, but this will actually help you focus and think clearly. Research shows that planned, short breaks can actually improve memory and recall while studying.



#3 - Move your body


In moments where you are unfocused, try to engage in a few minutes of exercise. Even a 5-15 minute short activity can help boost concentration. The activity can be quick and basic. You can take a 5 or 10 minute walk or find a quiet space and practice a few yoga poses. The intention is to move your body and to connect with your body.


Physical activity boosts certain neurochemicals that affect focus and attention. And if you can add an element of mindfulness to the activity, your brain will be very happy.



#4 - Lean on your planner


If you don't have a planner, stop reading this, and buy one now. Try to find a planner that suites your needs, and will actually entice you to use it. There are planners that are very detailed that prompt you to account for every hour of your day. There are those that are more general, and some that encourage a reflection on intention and goals and not just the scheduling and task list aspect.


If you find your mind wandering, divert it to your planner. Remind your wandering mind of the task or goal of that that particular block of time. Any thoughts about task that do not relate that can be written done to be addressed another time, or mentally pushed to the side.



#5 - Practice Mindfulness


Lastly, engaging in a regular mindfulness routine can help with concentration. The reality is that mindfulness seems to help with many aspects of health. Mindfulness promotes stillness, and a focus on the present movement. When you feel distracted or unfocused, taking a few moments to engage in deep breathing or a short meditation can help you feel more settled and clear headed.



Putting it all together


It's normal to be unfocused or unmotivated at times. It's unavoidable. Yet, try to manage the nuances that are within your influence by organizing your internal and external environment in a healthy way. If you have concerns that your concentration difficulties deviate from the norm, or if they're causing a big impairment in your life, please seek out the help of a psychiatrist, therapist or other mental health clinician.