Daily Habits for Increased Focus

With constant smartphone notifications, endless Instagram posts, and attention-grabbing advertisements, achieving a deep focus is something most of us struggle with. It can often feel impossible to block out distractions and direct our attention on a single task, making it difficult to complete our work (even when it comes to the projects we’re most passionate about). Building focus starts with our day-to-day, and involves cultivating daily habits that make us less likely to give in to distractions. Below are some of the best ways to train the mind, so you can be present with what matters most:

Establish a Morning Routine
Creating and consistently following a morning routine can have a powerful impact on how you experience the rest of the day. Take some time to journal or write down what you’re grateful for, eat a nourishing breakfast without distractions, or schedule in time for a workout. Focus on doing things that fuel you, and the process of routine will help you get into a productive mindset. 

Practice Meditation
A beneficial addition to your morning routine, meditation declutters the mind so you can start the day with a clear outlook. A study led by Sara Lazar at Harvard University revealed that meditating leads to physical changes in the brain, impacting density of gray matter and cortical thickness in a variety of areas, including the left hippocampus, which is responsible for cognition and learning. Starting your practice doesn't have to be complicated, you can start with a simple, 5 minute meditation on an app like Headspace.

Stay Hydrated 
Make staying hydrated a priority, as drinking water helps improve cognition and concentration. Try making a glass of water the first thing you drink when you wake up, before you brew your morning coffee or start cooking breakfast. Throughout the day, keep a water bottle with you throughout the day so you can keep replenishing the body. 

Limit Screen Time
It’s probably not surprising that screen time can be incredibly distracting, with Instagram, texts, and emails competing for our attention. Although the reality is that most of us will need to use our phones and computers for work, try using a real alarm clock to wake up and spending the first hour of the morning without your phone. Picking up your phone and scrolling through Instagram first thing after waking up means immediately giving in to distractions and can set you up to do so throughout the day. Reading a book is a good replacement for this morning scroll, and provides the opportunity to learn about something new. 

Working to incorporate a few of these habits into your day-to-day routine can help you develop a deeper sense of focus, so you’re able to spend less time distracted, and more time with what’s meaningful to you.

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