The 8 Real Reasons You Can't Concentrate
* Verified by a US-based board-certified doctor.
Are you having trouble concentrating on work? You're not alone.
In a study of nearly 2,000 employees conducted by Vouchercloud, workers averaged less than 3 hours of an entire workday.
While the origin of worker procrastination varies from social media, talking with coworkers, and simplifying dozing off, there's no denying that people aren't as productive as they'd like to be.
In many ways having good focus and concentration will improve both your work life and your personal life.
Interested in finding out what elements of concentration you're lacking?
Here are the top 8 real reasons you struggle to focus and concentrate.
1. You Have Notifications Turned On
Another notification goes off on your phone. Another text message, Facebook notification, Instagram DM, and a ton of emails.
There's no way you can concentrate on phone notifications distracting you left and right.
The next time you need to concentrate, make sure that you turn off all notifications on your phone, tablet, computer, and other electronic devices.
One major concentration killer in the workplace, especially, is email.
The problem with email is that it feels like work, but in reality, email is nothing more than glorified text messages.
Unless your job directly involves answering emails (virtual assistant, secretary, etc.), you'll need to shut off your email notifications during in-depth, concentrated work sessions.
Try to make time to check your email every couple of hours, but don't turn on your email notifications unless it's necessary.
2. You Haven't Given Yourself a Real Break
Checking social media is not a real break.
Studies have shown that the average Facebook user scrolls the length of the Empire State Building daily.
You may instinctively scroll through social media during your downtime at work or home, but you're not giving your mind or body a shot at a real break.
Real breaks can include activities like:
- Going for a quick walk after eating lunch
- Taking 30 deep breaths with your eyes closed
- Journaling for 5 minutes between tasks to clear your mind
- Doing a hobby, you enjoy (singing, dancing, playing a sport)
By taking ineffective breaks, you're setting yourself up for brain fog.
Brain fog is that annoying feeling you get when you're trying to concentrate, but your eyes glaze over, and your mind becomes mush.
Give yourself a real break, and you will see a noticeable difference in your concentration.
3. Your Work Is Too Easy or Too Hard
To achieve proper work concentration, you need appropriate tasks.
If your work is too monotonous, it becomes boring. You lose concentration because you're not engaged.
If your work is too demanding; on the other hand, you are likely to get stressed and frustrated. Work that is too difficult will make you more likely to give up.
Find and organize your work so that each day is challenging but not impossible.
Work balance can be hard to come by in high-pressure work situations, leading you to lose concentration and become buried in stress and fatigue.
To avoid this, try breaking each large assignment into smaller, bite-sized tasks. Turn your paper into five paragraphs and turn each of those paragraphs into 6-8 sentences.
By making your work the right level of difficulty, you will be engaged and relaxed, which leads to optimal concentration.
4. You're Feeling Overwhelmed
You may not be able to focus concentrate because you feel overwhelmed by everything happening in your life.
If you're feeling overwhelmed, here are some things to remember:
- Remove yourself mentally from your current situation
- Give yourself a real break.
- Make sure you're well-hydrated and that you're taking good care of your health.
If you're overwhelmed, you're not going to concentrate at ideal levels. Your stress will eat away at your energy levels, and you'll be left feeling tired no matter what you're doing.
Remember to take high-quality breaks when you feel overwhelmed, and don't push yourself too hard!
Your well-being is more important than your work, your job, or any specific task.
5. Not Enough Sleep, Nutrition, and Exercise
Your mind and body are inseparably linked.
If you don't properly care for your body, you'll feel groggy and fatigued no matter what you try to concentrate on.
To have optimal focus, you can't cut corners on your diet, sleep, or exercise.
Make sure that you do the following:
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day (aim for a gallon).
- Cut all fast-food out of your diet before working.
- Exercise lightly for 20 minutes a day.
- Schedule at least 8 hours of restful sleep per night.
These tips may seem cliche and obvious, but they're cornerstones to keeping your concentration levels high.
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6. Messy Environment
You can have the most fantastic diet, incredible sleep, an excellent exercise routine, and engaging work. None of it will matter if your work environment is a mess.
Your environment will dictate where your mind goes. It's simple, but clearing your desk of any unnecessary clutter will keep you concentrated on the task at hand.
If you want to access your full concentrative capability, then it's time to clean your clutter.
7. You Don't Know Your Why
Do you know why you're doing the work you're doing?
Are you proactive or reactive with the task in front of you?
Another important reason you may be lacking focus in your work is that you lack clarity in why you're doing a particular task in the first place.
You need to know the greater meaning behind the tasks that you're undertaking to have significant focus.
Without this clear why, you'll be stuck in the what and the how of your work. You won't have a compelling purpose behind your work.
Related: Ways to Stay Focused at Work
8. You're Trying To Multitask
Did you know that it can take 23 minutes to refocus after being distracted?
According to a study done by researchers at the University of California Irvine workers, constant task switching can reduce work efficiency and increase stress.
Don't try to multitask; multitasking is a myth. At best, you'll be switching from one task to another as fast as you can.
Multitasking is one of the most commonly abused concentration tactics because it makes a person feel like they're getting more done.
In reality, you get less actual work done because you spend your energy bouncing from one task to another.
Multitasking or task switching is not the most efficient way to work, and it definitely will hurt your concentration.
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