Maintaining focus right now is hard. Here are our top ten science-backed tips for staying on track, plant-based and otherwise.
1. Fight procrastination by balancing negative moods. Avoiding tasks is less of a time management problem than a way we cope with challenging moods. A 2010 study showed that self-forgiveness increased productivity, allowing participants to focus on the task at hand instead of sitting with the burden of past acts.
2. Schedule time for deep work. Block out time on your calendar for cognitively demanding tasks and avoid switching between tasks during that time. Research shows that every time you turn your attention from one subject to another, the leftover "attention residue" from the first subject reduces performance on the new subject.
3. Quarantine your digital distractions. A 2017 survey found that constantly checking digital devices leads to higher stress levels, which can make it hard to focus. Pick certain periods of time during the day to turn off your devices, or create a "no-phone zone" in certain places of your home.
4. Start and/or end your day with a few moments of mindfulness. Taking a minute (or twenty) to check in with ourselves and return to the present moment helps train our attention over time.
5. Work up a sweat. Many studies have shown that people who exercise regularly have greater volume in the parts of the brain that control thinking and memory.
6. Take a break. It's just as important to schedule breaks in between blocks of work as it is to schedule the work itself. The brain is built to respond to change, so spending too much time on a singular task is a recipe for burn out. A 2011 study showed that deactivating and reactivating goals at regularly scheduled intervals improved focus and concentration.
7. Manage stress with ashwagandha root. Chronic stress saps focus, but adaptogens like ashwagandha have been shown to clinically reduce the effects of stress on the mind and body. In 2019 research found that participants who took ashwagandha regularly over a period of 60 days reported lower levels of anxiety and depression, and had lower levels of morning cortisol.
8. Improve clarity with hemp extract. Hemp extract has been used to regulate our sleep-wake cycle which can promote more restful sleep at night and more balanced energy levels during the day.
10. Increase stamina with cordyceps. Cordyceps mushroom has been used for hundreds of years to improve stamina, endurance, and energy levels.