Concentrating on the task can be challenging at work, studying, or checking things off your to-do list at home. If you’re looking for tips on focusing better, plus natural solutions for maintaining concentration, you’re in the right place.
Setting yourself up for success when it comes to focusing is a multifaceted process involving creating a functional workspace and managing your time, as well as taking care of your body and nourishing your brain in the right ways.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything from brain-supporting herbs, to suggestions for effectively organizing your time and space.*
Take a few minutes to read the following ideas and see which will fit into your lifestyle to help your concentration.
How to Maintain Focus and Concentration
The brain is a complex organ that needs regular exercise and stimulation to function optimally. Maintaining good brain health and supporting your cognitive abilities is crucial for overall mental health and well-being.*
Here are some tips on how to maintain focus and concentration.
1. Support Energy Without the Caffeine Crash
You're certainly not alone if you turn to a cup of coffee to get going in the morning. Even if you go for another cup (or two) later in the day, you’re still in good company.
To be sure, caffeine can make you feel more awake, clear-headed, energetic, and efficient. REF#1715 Which is, of course, what you want if you’re trying to focus.
However, too much caffeine can leave you anxious, jittery, and worse off than before. You can also become dependent on too much caffiene, putting you in a tight spot if you can’t have it one day.
Instead of going to a coffee shop and loading up on coffee to stay energized, turn to caffeine in small doses in addition to supplements that can support energy without the caffeine crash.*
We recommend Gaia Herbs Energy Vitality: Made with an invigorating blend of herbs that help the body adapt to stress and support healthy energy levels—Ginkgo, Ginseng, Green Tea, and Nettle—this herbal supplement may offer the support you need.*
For more information about these herbs (and others!) and how they can support energy, read our article Natural Herbs to Support Energy & Stamina (Without the Caffeine Crash).*
2. Get Plenty of Sleep
Speaking of caffeine, which many people use when sleep-deprived to put an extra pep in their tired step, let’s talk about sleep.
Lack of sleep can significantly impact mental health and cognitive abilities. Research has shown that poor sleep quality and quantity can make your mind wander and decrease attention span, concentration, and problem-solving skills. REF#1722 Getting enough restorative sleep is crucial for brain health and overall well-being.
According to the scientific literature, “Insufficient sleep leads to a general slowing of response speed and increased variability in performance, particularly for simple measures of alertness, attention, and vigilance.” REF#1716
For you, learning to maintain focus during the day may simply mean finding a way to get enough sleep at night. We realize that a full, sound night of slumber is not always easy.
3. Incorporate Brain-Nourishing Herbs into Your Routine*
Before we get into our tips for organizing your time and space to promote focus and concentration, we’d like to discuss ways to use herbs to nourish your brain.*
“Better focus is a common concern, especially these days with all of the distractions around us,” says Susan Hirsch, Gaia Herbs Formulation Manager. “One of my top herbs that I personally turn to help my mind stay clear and focused is Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica). This nutritive herb has been traditionally used to help promote mental alertness, in part because it supports healthy circulation to the brain and throughout the body.”*
She’s also a big fan of Bacopa. Indeed, research suggests that Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri) may support cognition and attention.* REF#1717 Susan notes that it’s also regularly used to support learning and memory.*
Several common herbs, including Spearmint, may also help support cognitive function. Researchers have begun investigating this member of the mint family, in particular for its ability to help maintain focus, with intriguing results.* REF#1719
Here are three of our favorite herbal supplements for brain and cognitive support.*
Gaia Herbs Bacopa delivers a full spectrum, single-herb, concentrated plant extract in Liquid Phyto-CapsⓇ for overall cognitive support.* Each one-capsule serving supplies 500 mg of dry herb equivalent.
We are proud to grow and cultivate the finest-quality Bacopa in our own Gaia Herbs Greenhouse in North Carolina and to be one of the only US sources for this Ayurvedic herb.
At Gaia Herbs, we firmly believe that the quality of an herbal supplement can only be as good as the quality of the herbs that go into it. That’s why many of the herbs in our products are grown on our Certified Organic farm, where we can cultivate them exactly how we want.
Our network of organic and sustainable growers enables us to source plants for our supplements that we cannot cultivate on our farm or obtain in the quantity we need. It allows us to procure herbs from optimal locations where they naturally thrive, ensuring the highest possible levels of botanical compounds.
To learn more about our herbs and supplements, visit meetyourherbs.com, the world’s first herb traceability platform. Simply type in the herb ID on your product and discover the purity, potency, and integrity of what you’re taking.
Lastly, we’d like to mention an herbal supplement that contains Gotu Kola. Gaia Herbs Mental Alertness is a synergistic blend of herbs traditionally known for supporting mental clarity, focus, and memory.*
With Ginkgo leaf, Gotu Kola, Rosemary, and Oats, this is a great formula for when you’re feeling stressed, overtaxed, and distracted to help you stay focused.*
4. Remove Distractions
You don’t need us to tell you that distractions (like noise or notifications on your phone, just to name two) can reduce your focus and concentration. But it never hurts to be reminded.
To maximize your focus and concentration, minimize distractions in your environment. One of the biggest culprits of distraction is our smartphones, with constant notifications, phone calls, and text messages vying for our attention.
Minimizing distractions by turning off notifications, putting phones on silent, or finding a quiet workspace to help concentration and promote better mental health.
For better focus, remove distractions from your space before starting your task. Checking your phone once might not take much time, but according to research, “It takes 30 to 60 seconds to refocus on one task after transferring attention to a second one.” REF#1719
That brings us to our next point: multitasking.
5. Avoid Multitasking
Contrary to popular opinion, multitasking—or trying to multitask—can reduce your productivity.
Multitasking has become a common practice in the modern work environment, but research shows that multitasking can lead to a decrease in productivity, an increase in errors, and higher stress levels.
As experts note, “Multitasking is a misnomer because our brains can only focus on one task at a time. When we think we are doing three things at once, our brains switch back and forth from task to task.” REF#1719
Instead, focusing on a single task at a time can help improve attention span, concentration, and problem-solving skills. Full attention to one task at a time is needed to sustain focus and concentration.
6. Work in Spurts
In the modern work environment, where distractions from technology and social media are prevalent, it is essential to implement strategies to improve mental health and well-being at work.
One effective strategy is to take short breaks throughout the workday to engage in activities that promote mental health—for example, practicing deep breathing exercises, walking around the office, or, better yet, getting outside, even if it's to pick up lunch.
You may have heard of the Pomodoro Technique, which involves setting a timer for 25 minutes, working until the timer goes off, and then taking a five-minute break. After four cycles, you give yourself a 20- or 30-minute break.
We recommend experimenting with different amounts of time to see what works for you.
7. Take Breaks
If setting a timer or following the Pomodoro technique is not ideal, take regular breaks.
Regular breaks throughout the workday are essential for maintaining good mental health and well-being. Short breaks can help address burnout, soothe feelings of stress, and support productivity.
Engaging in relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, and listening to nature sounds or white noise, can help calm the mind and promote mindfulness and brain function.
Incorporate wellness activities into the workday. Those can include providing access to brain training games or apps, setting up designated relaxation or meditation times, or taking a moment for physical activities like stretching.
Additionally, taking breaks to connect with co-workers or engage in non-work-related conversations can foster social connections and create a supportive work environment, promoting good mental health among employees.
Powering through a project might seem like the best way to get it done, but you will probably be less productive and less focused in the long run when you deny your brain and body the breaks they need.
8. Turn Big Projects into Small Goals
Focusing on one task at a time can feel impossible if you have a big project looming. Breaking large projects into smaller, achievable goals can combat procrastination and improve focus. This approach helps you stay in the present moment and maintain motivation. It's beneficial in professional settings as well as personal projects.
Try breaking big projects into smaller, individual goals and writing them down on a to-do list. Be specific with the smaller tasks and make each item on your list achievable. Once you’ve finished, enjoy the satisfaction of crossing it off the list before moving to the next item.
9. Get Regular Exercise
Spending time getting physical exercise is crucial for maintaining optimal physical health and has profound effects on cognitive function and overall mental well-being. Physical activity releases endorphins, "feel-good" hormones that can also improve mood. REF#1721
Engaging in physical activity can have lasting effects on cognitive function. Physical exercise promotes brain health by increasing blood flow to the brain, promoting the growth of new neurons, and improving brain plasticity. REF#1721
These long and short-term effects of exercise on brain health can contribute to improved focus, mental clarity, and overall cognitive function, which are crucial for success in various tasks and activities. You can reap these benefits by taking a daily walk or light workouts.
10. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is about being fully present and aware of the moment. We know that doesn’t always come easily.
To make mindfulness a part of your daily life, start by meditating for five minutes, eating without distractions, or stretching (and listening to your body) when you take a break from work. These actions can have positive effects when you return to your task later.
One study suggests that even 10 minutes of meditation daily can help you sustain focus and concentration. REF#1720
Support Your Body and Learn How to Maintain Focus
Sustaining focus and concentration isn’t only about eliminating distractions or employing unique time-management strategies. It’s also about supporting your body and brain so that you can stay on task and be productive.
In addition to the strategies we mentioned in this article, such as working in spurts, taking breaks, and breaking big projects into small goals, support a healthy mind: Get enough sleep, meditate, and try brain-nourishing supplements, like Gaia Herbs Bacopa or Nootropic Focus.*
Clear focus might not happen overnight, but with these practical tips and the right herbs, you’ll be on task in no time.
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