See Our 10 Science-Backed Tips to Boost Focus and Productivity

by | Apr 9, 2023 | Life

The pursuit of productivity (and focus) can be more elusive than the search for happiness. We live in an age of infinite distractions and resisting the urge to load up a new video on Youtube rather than tackle the myriad of humdrum tasks vital to your job can often feel like an overwhelming challenge.

However, a truly productive and focus-filled day is attainable—you just need the right toolkit. To set yourself up for all-day success, use science to your advantage:

1. Quit Multitasking for Good

The art of spinning a thousand plates might be glorified in corporate spaces, but multitasking could just be multiplying your problems. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance found that switching between tasks makes us significantly less efficient. Plus, other research on the subject has found that multitasking could even affect your social-emotional well-being.

2. Listen to Music…

A University of Miami study found that listening to music helped workers tap into better ideas and finish tasks faster. Your playlist might even help you tune out anxiety before a stressful activity. Further research has found that hitting play and listening to a few tracks could provide more relief than anxiety meds. 

READ MORE: The 12 Best Wireless Earbuds for Working Out

3. Or Try Nature Sounds Instead

man standing in forest during sunrise
Aaron Burden/Unsplash

A babbling brook, crashing waves or a forest teeming with life—these sounds could be exactly what you need to get through your work day. Research by the University of Florida looked at how listening to nature sounds affected subjects’ heartrates, muscle tension and stress levels. They found that those tuning into nature experienced a significant reduction in stress, while those listening to classical music or sitting in silence noted no changes in their moods.

4. Go Green

Research conducted by the University of Exeter claims that you might benefit from being in close proximity to a leafy specimen. The study found that workers in offices populated with a scattering of houseplants can score a 15% bump in productivity. Don’t wait for your manager to start rolling in the flora; you can bag the same benefits with a desktop planter.

READ MORE: 6 Simple Ways to Lower Your Stress Levels, Boost Your Mood and Start Thriving

5. Take a Hike…

Need a reset? Going out for a walk could help boost your creativity. Research conducted by Stanford University found that you could spike your creative output by up to 60% by staying on your feet. It’s time you stop sitting on these benefits.

6. Then Take a Nap

Hitting that midday slump? It might be time to sneak a few minutes of sleep. A NASA study found that a 26-minute nap could be all you need to boost your overall alertness and work performance. Other research has shown that napping regularly may even bolster your emotional resilience and improve cognitive function.

7. Stop Checking Your Emails

Every time you check your inbox, you could be losing a full minute of productivity. Research conducted by the Danwood Group estimated that the cost of constantly refreshing Outlook (or Gmail) could amount to many hours of lost productivity throughout the week. Your plan? Deactivate your email notifications and set designated check-in points for scouring any new communication. Taking these steps can help minimise disruptions.

READ MORE: The 3 Exercises That Will Help You Relieve Stress

8. Look at Cat Memes

kitten running through grass
Andriyko Podilnyk/Unsplash

Yes, we know it isn’t 2008 anymore, but taking time to browse through pictures of cute animals could also improve your ability to focus. Research found that those who thumbed through a gallery of these adorable snaps performed significantly better at a game than those deprived of this awww-inducing experience. 

9. Meditate 

Research conducted by the University of Washington found that those who meditate at least two hours a week felt less stressed, had improved memories and were able to focus better than their Zen-free peers.

10. Start a To-Do List

At the end of the workday, take a few minutes to plan out your next 9-to-5. What tasks are most important? What steps will you need to strike these off your list? What responsibilities can wait until the next day? Research has shown that pre-planning your day can not only help nix stress, but also make you more productive in the long run. Try an app like Todoist (or just use Apple’s baked-in Notes offering) to start tapping into next-level productivity. 

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