Everyone’s been there before: You’re staring down the barrel of an important deadline, the seconds ticking away, but your brain just can’t seem to form clear thoughts. It’s as though a raincloud has settled on your head, showing no signs of dissipating.
Staying focused can feel like an uphill battle, but you don’t have to go it alone. There are several questionable remedies for a lack of focus – caffeine, over-the-counter drugs, etc. – but they are temporary at best and damaging at worst. Instead, try a healthy alternative.
Whether you need to keep a clear head for studying, work, or just to be a more present person, here are three healthy tips to follow.
Follow Parkinson’s Law
This first tip comes courtesy of the corporate world. Parkinson’s Law, named for the British naval historian who coined the term, is as follows: “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” In layman’s terms, that means the more time you set for a task, the less focused your brain will be. If you set eight hours for a small task, your brain will use that full eight hours, meandering through the task at a lazy pace.
A popular application of this law is the Pomodoro Technique. Break your work up into 25-minute intervals, interspersed with short breaks, in order to keep your brain focused.
Try Lion’s Mane Powder
In addition to retooling your work schedule, try sipping on an adaptogen like Lion’s Mane. Lion’s Mane is a type of mushroom that grows on hardwood trees, used for centuries in East Asian cultures to boost the immune system and reduce inflammation. Recent studies out of Japan have also shown that the mushroom has various cognitive benefits, including improvements to focus.
How do you sip on a mushroom, you might wonder? The best way to enjoy Lion’s Mane is with a natural powdered elixir, which you simply mix with boiling water to create a hot drink. You can find quality, organic, non-GMO Lion’s Mane powder at Rritual.com and have it delivered right to your door.
Optimize Your Sleep Schedule
To tackle a lack of focus, look at potential root causes. For many, distraction and preoccupation stem from a lack of quality sleep. In this recent study on the impacts of sleep deprivation on cognitive performance, researchers elaborate on the connection between sleep and focus, describing a phenomenon known as “wake-state instability.”
If you have the time, read the research. If not, suffice it to say that the study underlines one critical thing: If you want to stay focused, you need your proper rest. To get the rest you need, keep a consistent schedule. Go to bed at the same time each night; put away the blue-light screens an hour before bed; avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, especially at night; and if you need to nap during the day, make it a short one (under 20 minutes).
Three healthy tips that tackle inattention in three different ways: Parkinson’s Law helps you organize your time, Lion’s Mane powder enables you to stay alert, and consistent, quality sleep helps you start each day refreshed. For a day full of focus and productivity, try a combination of all three!