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World Thinking Day –
Improving Your Mental Focus

Step 1 – Assessing your Mental Focus

Assessing yourself is the first and most important point when you are aiming to improve your mental focus. Signs of poor mental focus can include being easily distracted, regularly day dreaming, losing track of progress and generally finding it hard to focus on your work. Be honest with yourself. If this sounds like you, it’s time to practice some better habits and more self-discipline! Try looking into platforms such as My Analytics by Microsoft, where you can find tools to help you analyse yourself and your progress –

Step 2 – Eliminate Pointless Distractions

Yes, it’s an obvious one. In reality, if your phone is constantly buzzing with notifications and your computer is making loud ‘ding’ noises from your social media updates every 5 minutes, it’s no surprise you are unable to concentrate. It’s time to turn your phone off, silence your computer updates and crack on with that work you’ve been meaning to do. Make sure you inform your chatty co-workers that you don’t want to be disturbed as you have work that need to be getting on with, it may be worth setting up automated emails explaining that you do not want to be disrupted too. You can even install a chrome plug-in to your computer which you can use to ban yourself from certain websites such as Facebook, to prevent you spending hours scrolling rather than getting things done.

Step 3 – Organise your Short-Term Goals

Having big vision goals are great! Unfortunately, focusing on the bigger goals only and leaving out your short-term ones will not get you far. You need to plan your time efficiently to work out how you are going to achieve these goals, set yourself daily tasks which are achievable, and plan what exactly you are going to do hour by hour to get things done. Creating task lists or using specialised apps to organise your workloads may be beneficial, is a good one to investigate.

It sounds like a lot of preparation, but that hourly motivation will help you keep dedicated and on track– enabling you to achieve your tasks.

Step 4 – Improve your Sleeping

Are you really getting enough quality sleep? If you’re struggling from tiredness throughout the day, this is going to have huge negative impact on your concentration and most likely the quality of your work. Look into Chronotypes and take a quiz, you can do this by clicking the link Discovering which chronotype you are will help you to reflect on your sleeping pattern and the times of day you are most alert. The average person needs to get 8 hours of quality sleep every night to achieve maximum focus. Set yourself a bedtime, avoid blue lights at night (electronic lighting such as your phone and tv), cut out the evening caffeine/alcohol and don’t eat right before bed. All of this will help you have a comfortable and quality sleep resulting in a positive impact on your mental focus.

Step 5 – Taking Short Breaks

If you find yourself working for hours on end every day and then realising you don’t have much to show for it, this one’s for you. Taking short breaks during work can be beneficial in many ways. According to behavioural scientist Nir Eyal, short breaks help to reduce mental fatigue, keep you focused and boosts your brain function. The human brain is not wired to concentrate for 8+ hours every day and doing so can come with negative effects such as lack of focus, damaged eyes and decision fatigue. It is recommended that you take a 5 to 10-minute break every hour, or a 30-minute break every 2 – 3 hours.

Step 6 – Don’t Give Up

On average, forming a new habit can take up to three months – it is not something that will happen magically overnight. You will need to stay dedicated and not lose motivation when trying to improve your mental focus, the benefits for yourself and your work will be well worth it.

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