Sitting down and focusing on menial, yet necessary tasks at work can feel straight-up impossible sometimes. Even as a Type-A productive person, sometimes I struggle to do whatever simple task is in front of me.
The truth is, focus issues aren't necessarily a result of being surrounded by distractions like your phone, chatty co-workers and Facebook. Sometimes, it can do with your internal clock.
A common belief is that to focus better, you have to change things in your external environment, like sitting somewhere alone in complete silence, or blocking yourself from looking at Twitter.
Another approach, however, is to think about ways you can get your mind and body into a better state of focus, starting from the inside out:
Trick Your Brain Into Focusing
See, your brain's performance and focus are directly tied to your body's internal clock. Yep, even if you shut yourself in a dark room all day, your body knows what time it is. Every physiological function in our body — from muscle strength to digestion — ebbs and flows on a cycle called a circadian rhythm.
So if you can't focus sometimes, it could be something to do with your internal clock, not your environment.
For example, forcing yourself to wake up earlier if you're not a morning person isn't a great idea. Your body clock wants you to wake up at a certain time. Being a night owl means your cognitive peak happens later in the day compared to an early bird. So, if there's a task you need a ton of focus for, schedule it for later in the day if you're a night owl. Use your "type" to your advantage.
You can also train your brain to focus at a certain time, kind of like how you get hungry at the same time every day. If you're working on a long-term project that requires strong focus, try working on it every day during the same chunk of time. That way, your brain will start to prepare for it, making it easier for you to focus when you get to it.
When You Don't Have Time To Hack Your Internal Clock
Sometimes, you have to start focusing ASAP and don't have time to make all these body clock hacks. The answer? Music.
Not just any music, though. There's a special type of music from Brain.fm that can help you focus faster. It can also help you relax or sleep when you're restless. The music offered by Brain.fm isn't like what you can get on Spotify or Pandora. It's designed to guide your mind into a focused state.
Whether it's listening to special music made just for your brain or hacking your body's internal clock, there are ways to push past a dip in focus. There's nothing worse than knowing you have to focus, but you just feel fried or can't get into your tasks.
Just remember you can take control of your body's cycles and rhythms to make the most of your time. Hacking your circadian rhythm could be the answer to avoiding distraction, and tuning into Brain.fm could get you there faster. With the right amount of focus, anything is possible.
Citations: Use your head Can't focus? Maybe it's your body clock (The Guardian), According to Science, This Music's Designed to Help You Focus Now (The Muse), Music moves brain to pay attention, Stanford study finds (Stanford Medicine)