You know the feeling. You’ve got a big assignment with a fast-approaching deadline and you just can’t focus. Everything but the task is screaming for your attention and winning. There are long-term strategies we’ll address in future posts, but for now, here are five quick tips to get back on track fast!
- Set a timer.
Start with an amount you know you can manage: 10 or 15 minutes. Once the timer starts, do nothing but the task at hand. Even if you find yourself re-reading the same paragraph or re-writing the same sentence, the goal is to keep on task until the timer sounds. When the timer goes off, treat yourself to 5 minutes of any activity of your choosing. Then set the time again and start the task again. You may find you can increase the amount of time gradually and may even work through the timer!
- Take a walk.
Get your blood flowing back into your brain with a quick walk around the block or climb up some stairs. Too much sitting in one place deprives our brains of much-needed oxygen. Moving the body wakes up our circulation and restores our energy supply.
- Take a deep breath.
If leaving your desk is not possible, deep breathing is possible anywhere. Start by breathing in for five silent counts and then breathing out for five silent counts. As you become more comfortable with your inhalation and exhalation, try extending the counting to six, seven or eight counts in and out. Try holding for a slight moment at the top and then release. The calming effect of deep breathing replenishes your focus and clears out extraneous thoughts.
- Make a list.
If there are just too many thoughts running around in your head, take five minutes to make a list of all those items. Writing down all those thoughts removes them from your short-term memory and frees up that space for the task at hand.
- Drink water.
Your brain is 75% water and dehydration is a major cause of poor concentration. At the first sign of inattention ordrowsiness, reach for your water bottle or glass and drink. Water brings much-needed oxygen to the brain.
Download Refocus Reminders and keep them close to where you work for instant inspiration when you find your energy flagging. Let us know of what else works for you when you need to refocus fast!