5 Tips to Keep Your Mind Sharp Throughout the Workday
Whether you’re working from home or in an office, staying focused throughout the day can be challenging. This is especially true as we move closer to the warm, sunny days of summer when the nice weather entices us to spend more time outside and less time doing the work in front of us.
If you’ve noticed you haven’t been as on top of it as you’d like to be, then you’re in luck because we have some tips to help you out.
1. Get A Good Night’s Sleep
When you don’t get enough sleep, you start to notice that it’s more difficult to focus or remain alert throughout the day. According to the CDC, approximately 1 and 3 adults don’t get the recommended amount of sleep each night. While we already know that not getting enough sleep each night can impact our health in a variety of ways, it may surprise you to learn that some studies have found that losing as little as 1.5 hours of sleep in just one night can reduce your daytime alertness by as much as 32%!
With that in mind, prioritizing rest and sleep can go a long way toward helping you stay alert and focused throughout the workday. Take a look at your schedule and adjust your evening or morning routine to ensure that you are getting at least the recommended 7 hours of sleep each night.
And keep in mind that the amount of sleep you get isn’t the only thing that matters. The quality of your sleep also makes a huge difference here. Improve the quality of the sleep you are getting by taking steps like turning screens off at least an hour before bedtime and reducing the amount of light in your bedroom.
2. Eat More Whole Foods
The foods you used to fuel your body have a substantial impact on nearly every aspect of your health, and that includes your cognitive function. This means that your diet ultimately affects your ability to focus and stay alert at work.
In order to make sure your mind is as nourished and focused as possible, do your best to include plenty of natural whole foods in your meal plan. While pre-packaged foods may seem convenient in the moment, they are often ultra-processed and lack many of the vital nutrients your body needs to function. This can cause you to feel lazy, unmotivated, and unfocused throughout the day. So instead of grabbing that bag of chips or freezer meal, it’s advisable to fill your plate with healthier whole food options like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes instead.
If you are looking for foods that will specifically provide your brain with the nutrients it needs to keep up throughout the day some good options are leafy greens for their boost of vitamins and minerals, berries for their antioxidant content, and walnuts or fatty fish like salmon to give your brain a boost of healthy fats.
One great way to keep yourself on track when it comes to your diet is to pack your lunch the night before and take it with you to work the next day so you aren’t tempted to go grab something convenient during your lunch break instead. As a bonus, taking your own lunch to work will also save you a little money in the long run.
3. Take Mental Breaks
Whether you work from home or in the office, in the field, or behind a computer, one of the best things you can do to keep your mind alert throughout the day is to take mental breaks. As human beings, our attention spans are not limitless. In fact, some studies have found that people can focus their attention on a certain task for anywhere between 10 and 50 minutes before their attention starts to wane. This means that if you push yourself and try to work for multiple hours straight then chances are you won’t be able to focus well or work as efficiently as you would like.
With that in mind, make it a priority to take multiple breaks throughout your work day. If you work from home this may look like taking a short walk outside, folding a small load of laundry, or relaxing on the couch for a few minutes to give your mind a break. If you work from an office, you could take a short break to refill your coffee cup, visit with a coworker, or take a short walk to your car and back for some fresh air. Even something as simple as standing up and doing a few stretches can make a huge difference when it comes to keeping your mind sharp and ready to focus on the task at hand.
4. Get Active
Regular exercise is an important part of keeping your mind functioning to the best of its ability. This is because moving your body can help get your blood pumping which sends more oxygen and nutrients to your brain thus promoting improved brain activity. Regular exercise also can help boost your mood by encouraging your body to produce neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, and in the long run, this can also help improve your attention, focus, and ability to learn.
The research doesn’t just say that exercise has positive benefits for your brain though. There are also studies that have looked at the impact that not moving your body can have on your cognitive function. For example, one study that focused on memory-based and problem-solving tasks found that participants who took a 10-minute walk before performing the task performed better than those who didn’t exercise right beforehand. This just goes to show that adding more physical movement to your daily routine can go a long way toward helping you feel attentive and alert while at work.
5. Try Natural Nootropics
Sometimes, you can try all these tips and tricks and your brain may still have a little trouble focusing. During times like these, your mind may need a little more help, and one way to provide it with just that is to turn to natural nootropics. Also known as cognitive enhancers, natural nootropics are ingredients from nature that are known to help enhance mental performance by influencing neurotransmitters that play a role in things like attention, memory, creativity, and learning. There are many brain-boosting supplements on the market today that contain natural nootropics. Some of the best brain-enhancing ingredients to look for include fish oil, medicinal mushrooms, and blue-green algae which are all known to provide your mind with the nutrients it needs to function optimally.
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