10 Things You Can Do To Help You Stay Focused During The Day

stressed woman at desk

Do you find your mind wandering frequently throughout the day? Is it hard to stay focused on the tasks ahead of you? Many adults diagnose themselves with ADHD and assume they need medication to overcome this adversity — but we live in an age where our minds have been trained to quickly skip from one thing to the next. Technology teaches us to move from one shiny thing to the next without thoroughly vetting them. Trying to overcome our short attention spans naturally is important before we jump to the conclusion that we need medication, and we have just the tips for you to help you concentrate during the day.

Make sure only the tabs you need are open, if you're working on a computer. Close any program, Google Chrome tab or app that isn't vital to the task ahead of you. If you need something running, but don't want to be distracted by it, put it in another window or square so you can't see it. Remember: out of sight, out of mind. (via Monk Mind)

Turn off all notifications. That includes putting your smartphone on silent! Better yet, shove it in a drawer. You definitely don't need the distraction of an email or Tweet to interrupt you while you're in the middle of an important task. (via Monk Mind)

Have a very important task to do. Speaking of important tasks, make sure that your to-do list is full of significant things to do, rather than checkpoints like "check email" or "update calendar." When you want to sit down and do something, having an important task ahead of you places more pressure on you to get it done. (via Monk Mind)

writing in notebook

Clear your desk. A cluttered desk signifies a cluttered mind. Don't spend half an hour cleaning and organizing — just throw everything into a drawer or box under your desk and worry about it later, after you've completed your task. (via Monk Mind)

Start small. If you're working on a particularly lengthy project, complete it in small increments. For example, work for five minutes, then reward yourself by checking your Twitter, Facebook or email for one minute. Increase your work increments in small doses until you're on a roll and in the mindset to complete your project. There are few better feelings than when you're in the zone, enjoying your work and getting it done. (via Monk Mind)

Swap caffeine for cardio. According to the Huffington Post, if you drink caffeine every day, your brain will begin to think that it needs caffeine to operate — that's why you might feel groggy without your morning coffee. Instead, do some cardio when you wake up or before you being working. Physical activity has been shown to sharpen focus, in people with ADHD and without, possibly because it can help trigger the release of chemicals in the brain that are thought to affect learning and memory. Need some help choosing what exercise you want to do? We've got you covered.

catching breath

Drink more water. Did you know that mild dehydration can lead to inattention? Plus, your body can be dehydrated before you're even thirsty, so you might not realize when you're dehydrated. Even the smallest changes in physiology can signal your brain to focus on that dehydration instead of your work. Having a water bottle on hand throughout the day will reduce on your risk of dehydration. (via Huffington Post)

Get more sleep. This might seem like a no-brainer, but many people operate on small amounts of sleep, which contributes to inattention. Think of sleeping as recharging your batteries; your brain needs to reset and strengthen for the work ahead of it. Try to rearrange your schedule so you get a full night's sleep. (via Huffington Post)

>>Read more: 5 Ways To Get A Better Night's Sleep


Wiggle your toes. In an age where we are constantly distracted by notifications and alerts, our brains expect new distractions every so often. So, every time you feel the urge to get off track, wiggle your toes! It will act as a stimulation to distract your brain for a while so you can get right back to work. (via Huffington Post)

Employ the "five more" rule. Work five more minutes, read or write five more pages, finish five more math problems. Whatever you're doing, working through the distraction and frustration will have its rewards. It's too bad that this rule doesn't apply to your alarm clock every morning. (via About Health)