Leadership State of Mind: 12 Proven Ways to Improve Your Mental Focus

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If you’ve ever looked at the schedules of top CEOs, you’ll notice they don’t necessarily work around the clock. In fact, many of them don’t get up at the crack of dawn or work late into the night. The best of the best know how to create a schedule that maximizes productivity by focusing on the quality of the time they spend on something rather than quantity. Their secret? They know how to achieve mental focus. Luckily for you, we’ve listed a few methods for doing this below:

Exercise

Exercising is consistently lauded as something that’s great for both the body and the mind. It boosts our mood as well as our dopamine levels, which are key to concentration. Even if you can’t hit the gym or go on a run, there are plenty of high-intensity workouts you can do at the home or office, such as Tabata intervals or using something like Freeletics.

Reading

We’ve all heard this from an early age: reading is something that’s known to boost mental focus as well as memory. I’ll note that while most of us are glancing over things on our phones or computers on a daily basis, you’ll achieve the best results by shutting down your technology for a minute and picking up a book. This limits distractions, and allows you to engage fully in something for an allotted time.

Mental Games

If you’re looking for something you can do on the go, playing mental games is great exercise for your brain. Not only does it improve memory and brain function, but it can also be a fun way to pass the time. Check out some popular options like Lumosity if you want to learn more.

Acupuncture

One of the best ways to regain your focus is by resetting your body’s energy flow with acupuncture. Acupuncture’s goal is to realign the energy that courses through your body by using a series of tiny needles placed at precise points. If you ask anyone who’s had it done, they will tell you that it doesn’t hurt, and that it actually works. Trust me, this is something you want to check out if you’ve been feeling stressed.

Yoga

Slowly but surely, yoga has embedded itself into numerous prominent industries as a required activity. Not only will you be more relaxed (as well as flexible) after doing it, but the deep breathing, meditation and concentrated-thought aspects of it can boost mental focus tenfold. Plus, yoga can be an easy activity to do at the office when you’re on a tight schedule.

Eating “Brain Foods”

As the old cliché goes, you are what you eat, and when you eat junk food you’re clouding your mental abilities. Not only are these foods unhealthy; they can potentially make you tired and sap your motivation. That’s why it’s important to have a balanced diet that includes foods high in protein, which boosts dopamine levels.

Deep-Breathing Exercises

The great thing about deep-breathing exercises is that they take less than 5 minutes, and can become a habit you pick up throughout your day. Deep breathing is one of the reasons yoga and exercise are great for your mental clarity. This practice is more focused, however: it’s primarily concentrated on breathing. To get started, check out methods like the Wim Hof.

Stop Multitasking

While some folks love saying that they’re great multitaskers, this often turns out to be a falsehood. Multitasking can turn a 2-hour task into 4 pretty quickly and, for the most part, is incredibly distracting. Instead, try creating dedicated times in your day for routine tasks such as checking emails, giving feedback or taking calls.

Take Your Vitamins

Multivitamins have been noted to boost concentration by activating certain amino acids in your brain, so it’s no wonder they can improve your focus. Look into keeping a bottle on you throughout the day to help out.

Get Enough Sleep

I can’t stress how important sleep is for your mental focus, memory, concentration and even problem-solving abilities. Sleep is your brain’s time to recharge and process information, so getting a night of quality slumber is imperative. I know some of us want to try to maximize our day or hack our sleep, but this is more about the quality of your time than the quantity.

Meditation

Similar to deep breathing and yoga, meditation is an excellent way to boost mental focus and concentration. It’s important just to take a break and sit down with the intention of not doing anything but thinking. Try it out on your next lunch break or before work.

Work on a Personal Project

Finally, working on a personal project can help tremendously in regaining your flow. Even if we love our jobs, everyone gets a little burnt out once in a while from doing what they’re told, so take some time to do something for yourself. You’ll be rejuvenated as you learn what it feels like to really get into your groove, and you’ll also find yourself becoming more motivated.

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