One thing that we get asked a lot is how to focus better, especially in the work environment. People want to know if CBD products can help them to focus better, concentrate harder, and – quite frankly – do better at work. Concentration issues can quickly affect job performance, cause you to make mistakes in your work, generate extra stress, and possibly keep you awake at night as you worry over losing your job.
Today, we’re addressing those questions and we hope to give you a plan moving forward – one you can feel confident about.
Key Points Today
- Many people struggle with how to focus. Here’s why.
- Why it may be harder for you to focus at work.
- Seven ways you can improve your focus and concentration, especially in the work environment.
Mental Focus, Clear Thinking, and Concentration: How It Works
Mental clarity means that your brain is functioning optimally. So, if you’re struggling to focus on the tasks before you, this could be an indicator that your brain is not getting what it needs from your diet, or that something could be interfering with your ability to concentrate.
Your Brain on Focus
Three types of attention affect your ability to focus on work. One, selective attention, is the ability to focus on a single task while selectively ignoring other mental intrusions.
Another, divided attention, allows your brain to toggle back and forth between two tasks, such as working on an assignment while also taking phone calls or making notes about an upcoming task.
A third, sustained attention, allows the mind to stay focused on one task more efficiently and for longer periods of time. To do this the brain has to use sensory selection to decide which sensory inputs are most helpful for concentration, like soft background music, and filter out unrelated input, a process known as efficient selection.
Some factors may affect your ability to focus:
- Distractions can lead to diverted attention, use up your energy, and create a sense of stress when trying to concentrate.
- Poor health (physical or mental) or physical deficiencies (like certain vitamins or endocannabinoids in the body)
- Age: Cognitive decline can be influenced by the aging process, affecting your ability to concentrate, memory, and perception.
Supportive Focus Ingredients
Your doctor may make some recommendations to provide supportive focus ingredients you need. This could include dietary changes, or taking coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, ginkgo biloba, or CBD.
It Takes Practice
Focus and concentration are “activities” of the brain, which can be exercised and improved with practice. If you want to learn how to focus better, it can be a matter of repeating extended periods of focus and working on your concentration through mindfulness and self-awareness.
Begin with a list. While you are working, make a note of anything that distracts you. You can do this for a few days and often uncover some factors that you can work to improve.
How to Focus at Work: Why It’s Challenging
Concentration at work is critical to your job performance, and because you know this, you may find yourself struggling even more. Two reasons for this are distractions and stress.
At work, there may be people talking, the sounds of office equipment or machinery, your coworker’s annoying music, the phones ringing, foot traffic through your office or by your desk, and even your own physical comfort like the chair you sit in or the temperature of the room.
If you cannot control many of these distractions, you can at least identify them and create a strategy for ignoring them as you work toward the selective attention you need to do your work. This may mean ear plugs, or closing the blinds, or playing some instrumental music that calms you while you work. And nothing can derail your concentration faster than the constant blip of cell phone notifications. Put your phone on silent or stick it in your purse or a drawer so you can work.
When you struggle to concentrate, or if there is a particular distraction that is annoying you, this creates a heightened sense of stress which can further affect your ability to concentrate. In these cases, a solid stress management plan is key to helping you manage the stresses of your work day. Techniques like mindfulness or meditation, positive mantras, or even stress-helpers such as CBD could help get stress under control and improve your ability to focus on your work.
Let’s take a look at seven ways you can learn how to concentrate better at work and get your concentration laser-focused, so you can tick off all those to-do tasks more easily.
Rule Out Any Medical Concerns
Some difficulties with concentration are the direct result of underlying medical issues that, with the appropriate care, could be improved. To rule these out, make an appointment with your doctor who can screen you, discuss your options, and get you on a plan for improvement.
Once you have the all-clear from your doctor, focus on what you can do with your working environment and how you respond to it.
Create a Clean Working Environment
Office or workspace clutter can negatively affect your ability to focus. NBC news reported that having multiple visual stimuli affects us and that “Decluttering brings better focus back to your world.”
Take some time to clear away the clutter in your workspace, clean your work surfaces including your keyboard, mouse, computer, chair, telephone, or other equipment, and remove extra knickknacks, junk drawer messes, old sticky notes, or extra paperwork that needs sorting. Get a handle on your workspace, and often it helps you get a handle on your ability to focus. Clean space, clean mind.
Eliminate Distractions in Your Working Environment
While some workspace distractions can feel out of your control, assess your list of “things that distracted me today” and think each one through. If you are absolutely freezing at work, you may bring a lap blanket, or perhaps the office manager and other staff are also freezing at work – perhaps you can be the one to get permission to bump that thermostat up a few degrees. You might even get a few Hip Hip Hooray!s from other shivering coworkers for being the one to make it happen.
If your coworkers are especially chatty and it’s keeping your brain from your work, practice a few phrases that might help:
- Ok, thanks. I’d better get back to work.
- Hey, it seems like you’re having fun over there but could you turn it down a notch? I’m having trouble concentrating on this.
- Thank you, I’d better go now. I need my brain all to myself for a little bit.
Each of these is a little silly, but gets the point across: I am sorry, but I am busy right now and I need a quiet space to concentrate. If coworkers won’t cooperate, invest in some ear plugs or turn on some soft, instrumental (classical works best) music to soften the edges of their conversations.
Consider Pre-Work Meditative Practices
Meditation isn’t just for the Yogis in the stretch pants nodding their heartfelt namastes to you. It’s a useful mental exercise to help you practice mental concentration, mental focus, and a kind of “brain discipline” that could be very useful to you on the job. Begin with guided meditations for mental focus, which you can find all over the place online. Some of these are as short as five minutes: perfect for a quick break, right before work, or on your lunch break, no stretch pants or yoga mats necessary.
Try a CBD Boost
Because CBD helps promote a greater sense of calm, it’s fast becoming a favorite way to help the body be more centered and present. It may take a bit of trial-and-error to find the right CBD product for you and how much you need to help you feel more centered, but it’s worth the time to explore.
- Try CBD tinctures or capsules with broad spectrum or full spectrum proprietary blends of cannabinoids to help you feel a greater sense of calm while you work.
- Try CBD gummies for that extra CBD boost before your workday or on your lunch break to help you get back in the zone.
Use Your Breaks Wisely
You don’t always have control on when and how many breaks you can take at work, but usually you have a little wiggle-room with how you use them. Consider these productive and focus-boosting scenarios:
Bob has discovered that an undercurrent of physical energy levels makes it hard for him to focus on his morning lab reports. Standing still all day makes him feel edgy, trapped, and discouraged. He gets three breaks a day, so at the end of each break, Bob does 20 push-ups to work his muscles, washes his hands, and plunges back into work with renewed concentration.
Clara has discovered that her hands feel useless while she’s on long conference calls. She uses a fidget spinner while she talks, or doodles on an office pad to help deal with her “itchy fingers” issue.
Amelia has the ability to take needed mental breaks throughout her day because her company is pro-mental health and “cool like that.” She’s learned that taking a few minutes at the top of each hour to do one row of crochet on her current project helps to settle her mind, ease her stress, and clear away the mental debris that clogs her work concentration.
Walt has learned that a CBD gummy with his lunch is the perfect way to have a more focused afternoon. He gets more done and feels better while he does it.
Whatever breaks you have – use them wisely to set yourself up for improved productivity.
Take Care of Your Body
A healthy body and mind, it goes without saying, functions more optimally and can help you have a more clear mind while you work.
- Get the sleep you need.
- Eat healthfully and get in some exercise a few times a week.
- Spend more time in nature to decompress.
- Support your mind and body with CBD.
- Take a pain-relieving CBD cream to work with you to help with those aches that keep you distracted from your work.
- Keep a few items on hand for self-care on the job – a small blanket, a lip balm or eye drops, a hand lotion, or a book to read at lunch.
- Don’t skip lunch.
- DO skip the alcohol and cigarettes. And be wary of sugar-filled energy drinks.
- Practice positive thinking.
- See your doctor on a regular basis.
Learning How to Concentrate: Get Support
Tackling the challenges that keep your concentration on the fritz can be empowering. Stop worrying about how to focus and clear away all the debris that impedes good concentration. Find support to help – an online group, blogs on productivity, cognitive function, and clarity – and stay up-to-date on the latest research on CBD or other cognitive support tools you use.
Hopefully, with these seven tips we’ve shared with you today, you’ll be on your way to a laser-focused and successful year.