We all know the struggle of staying focused on your work in a world of nearly endless distractions. Working from home? It’s likely even more challenging. Your email inbox, social media feeds and text messages are calling...and your mental focus is slipping fast.
In fact, the average American checks their phone 96 times a day...checks their email inbox 15 times a day….and spends over two hours on social networking sites. The result? Unnecessarily long workdays and unmet goals – not to mention, more frustration and stress at the end of each workday.
All that being said, there are ways to naturally increase your mental clarity and level up your ability to stay focused on the task at hand (without popping a pill). In this article, we’ll take a look at three natural strategies to help you stay focused and slay your workday. But first….
Why Staying Focused Is So Dang Challenging
As mentioned above, mental focus can feel elusive in a world of endless notifications and pings, social media, information overload and clickbait.
But there are other good reasons that you’re finding it difficult to stay on task, too. Before diving into how to level up your concentration and mental clarity, let’s take a look at what might be robbing you of your concentration in the first place.
Your Attention Span Sucks
Sorry to be blunt but...your attention span sucks. Let’s put it this way: You might have been better at focusing in the fourth grade than you are now. In 2000, the average attention span was 12 seconds. Today, it’s down to 8 seconds – which is pretty scary, considering there wasn’t a lot of wiggle room in the first place.
Of course, there’s plenty to blame for this. Smartphones, information overload, social networking and the rapid nature of communication have made us prone to sifting through information rapidly in order to move onto the next thing. The downside to this? Our brains are now accustomed to jumping from task to task rather than remaining keyed into a single project for an extended amount of time (or even for five minutes).
The good news? It’s possible to train yourself to stay focused, but it takes some intentionality.
You’re Suffering from a Sugar Crash
Ah, sugar. It gives us a momentary rush, tastes like heaven after your lunch, and has been compared to cocaine for its drug-like effects. No wonder we love the stuff, even though we know it’s terrible for our health.
Sugar not only causes weight gain, but it’s terrible for your brain. It’s been found to “slow cognitive function” and result in “deficits in memory and attention” – bad news for your workload. If you find yourself reaching for sugary snacks, candy, or sweetened drinks through your workday, you might be unintentionally sabotaging your ability to focus by inducing productivity-killing brain fog.
You’re Not Being Strategic
Finally, mental focus can also be a matter of simple strategy. If you’re working in a cluttered workspace or working during a less-than-optimal time of the day (i.e. when your whole family is home, or at night when you’re exhausted), then you’re going to have trouble focusing.
3 Ways to Beat Distraction Naturally
Now, the good stuff: How do you naturally level up your mental focus so that you can stay focused and productive for hours?
Consume More Superfoods
Superfoods pack a powerful nutritional punch and are often loaded with antioxidants. Many superfoods are also great for your brain health, and as a result, can help boost your mental focus and clarity.
Here are a few superfoods that can potentially help you to focus better (In other words, snack on these instead of that bag of Kettle Chips).
- Walnuts are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and polyphenolic compounds – both critical for brain health and memory. Polyphenolic compounds in particular can improve focus and memory.
- Dark chocolate contains a high concentration of flavonoids, which can also promote memory and cognitive function (not to mention, protect the brain against stress and toxins).
- Turmeric contains curcumin, which has been found to “support memory, calmness, and satisfaction in coping with mental strain.”
- Blueberries are rich in a flavonoid called anthocyanins, which have been associated with helping to manage memory function and improving glucose disposal in the brain.
Of course, this is no comprehensive list of superfoods that can help you boost brain function...but it’s a good start to a snacking list that can help you get through your workday with more focus – Or, if you want to try a tea that contains all of the above, check out Rare Brew’s Matcha Mind Control brew.
Have a Cup of Tea
Caffeine is a natural stimulant that increases your alertness and, let’s be honest, helps you stay awake after a night out (or a late night at work). There’s a reason 80% of American adults consume caffeine on a daily basis; it works, and it’s often found in some pretty tasty beverages.
That being said, being careful about how you consume caffeine – how much and from what source – is critical. Consume too much, too quickly, and you’ll feel jittery and then crash – not optimal for staying focused on your work.
Drinking tea in place of coffee may be a better way to get that natural rush of energy without the crash. Black pu’erh tea, for example, contains 60-70 mg of caffeine compared to 95 mg in the average cup of coffee. Looking for an even mellower caffeine content? Oolong tea contains only 10-60 mg per cup – perfect for a pick-me-up that can help you focus on the task at hand without a caffeine buzz (or headache).
Adopt a Productivity Mindset
Finally, increasing your mental focus can also be a matter of simply adopting new strategies and mindsets that can help you get more done, faster.
The Pomodoro Technique, for example, dictates that you spend 25 minutes on a single task, and then take a 5-minute break. By alternating short spurts of “free time” with periods of intense concentration, you may find yourself better equipped to focus on the task at hand.
Or, you may try “batching” like tasks together so that you don’t need to constantly change gears while you’re tackling different projects. For example, you can set aside a couple hours for administrative work, a couple hours for meetings and communication, and then spend the remainder of the day on a single type of task – such as performing research or writing up a report.
Level Up Your Focus with Rare Brew
Here at Rare Brew, we’re all about staying focused and slaying tasks quickly (after all, we’re a scrappy startup of tea connoisseurs – we know that #entrepreneurlife). That being the case, we rely pretty heavily on our library of superfood-rich brews to keep us focused and alert all damn day. The best part? They’re not only great for helping you stay focused...they taste pretty incredible too. To check out our full selection of loose-leaf teas, click here.