The average workday lasts about 8 hours, and our actual day usually doesn’t end when we get home - there are countless different chores and things we need to do in the evening, and by the time we get to them we often we unable to stay focused, and even find it difficult to perform them effectively. If you feel this way, or notice a family member who is unable to function properly due to the stress of modern life, you should learn about the 10 creative ways to help you maintain high concentration and a sharp mind at home and in the office.
A study published in 2015 in the journal "Computers in Human Behavior" by Jessica Gall Myrick of the University of Indiana School of Communication, found that subjects who watched cat videos felt much more energetic and even managed to reduce the intensity of the negative emotions they experienced than those who did not watch them. Myrick says the final result of watching such a video may help people take on more difficult tasks that require more concentration and thought. So, the next time you want to stay sharp, you should watch a cute cat video.
The sour smell of citrus fruits, like orange or lemon, can improve your alertness, which will help you maintain high concentration and a sharp mind. You can also eat these fruits to enjoy healthy vitamin C, which is rich in health benefits that strengthen our immune system and protect our bodies. Another option would be to disperse citrus oils around your office and at home, to keep your mind focused.
Although this sounds like the total opposite of maintaining focus and staying concentrated, planned breaks could actually help us maintain concentration for a whole day of work. All you have to do is work for 55 minutes, then take a 5-minute break, after you’ve prioritized the tasks to be performed and planned the breaks accordingly.
Many of us sit for long hours at the office, and this is the surest and quickest way to lose concentration during the day, and we have not even mentioned the harmful effects of prolonged sitting on our bodies. Therefore, it is important to make sure to stand occasionally, to allow the blood to flow properly, which will undoubtedly strengthen the functioning of the brain and help you maintain its sharpness. You can stand during the scheduled break you planned at the beginning of the day, as mentioned in the previous section, or try to work for a few minutes as you stand. If you feel that you work more effectively while standing, you can adopt this method of work.
The human brain can easily feel a great deal of stress due to small and large factors, and resting very important for mental health. Try the following method, known as 20-20-20, which will not only calm your mind and improve the sharpness of your brain, but also help you prevent dry eyes, which may lead to temporary blurred vision and discomfort. All you have to do is give your eyes a rest every 20 minutes and focus on an object at least 20 meters away for at least 20 seconds while you continue to blink as usual.
A study conducted in 2014 at Stanford University shows that a person's creative output increased by an average of 60% while walking. This approach was adopted by talented and creative people, including Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, and Mark Zuckerberg, founder, and owner of Facebook. If you can’t go out to the open air, whether because the weather doesn’t allow it, or you have limited time, you can hold a walking meeting in your office too, because it is the physical act of walking that affects the sharpness of thought, not the environment in which you’re walking.
The modern world dictates that we must always be available, with smartphones and other technology blurring the lines between home and work life. This is something which can greatly impair efficiency. Repeatedly checking your inbox, or feeling pressure about the job you are working on or going to do in your office while you are at home is messing with you and compromising your concentration. The next time you finish your workday, try to keep the tasks and thoughts in the office, and the results of doing so won’t be late in coming. You’ll feel refreshed, efficient, sharper and more creative while you work, and when you do different tasks at home.
Once you’re alerted to something on your mobile device, you tend to leave everything and check out what's going on in the virtual world, which paves the way for "the most effective" distraction. Demanding modern culture causes us to perform a number of tasks simultaneously, making it difficult to do anything efficiently. So, the next time you’re working on something or doing something that requires concentration at home, turn off your phone alerts by silencing your mobile device, which will significantly improve your brain acuity and lead to greater efficiency.
Many of us write up a to-do list that includes all the things we want to do, and often we notice after a while that we haven’t completed even a quarter of the tasks we set for ourselves. If this sounds like you, you should try another method that will help you to do the right thing with performing different tasks. Cal Newport, an assistant professor of computer science at Georgetown University in Washington and author of "So Good They Can’t Ignore You," explains that scheduling the tasks you have to do is the most effective way to deal with them and that it is not enough to write them down. This means that the next time you write up your to-do list, estimate how long it will take you to perform each task and set a deadline for each task. Newport claims that this will help you plan your tasks and approach them, which will help you be sharper and more efficient.
More than once during the workday we feel different pressures that directly affect our sharpness of mind and efficiency, which is why you should remember to breathe deeply. It isn’t by chance that we tend to naturally say to a person who is under pressure to "take a deep breath," because such action activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for sedation and preservation when the body is at rest. Breathe in and out and take deep, full breaths that will no doubt relieve the stress you are experiencing, and help your brain relax and concentrate on the task in front of you.