We’ve all been there-- you’re supposed to be getting work done, but you just can’t take the time to sit down and concentrate.
When it’s not Instagram distracting you, it’s the urge to check what’s trending on Twitter or hop on over to TikTok to see what’s new. Aside from media and technology, the urge to daydream or drift off can seem undeniably overwhelming when you’re faced with a blank screen and a vague objective.
“Just focus and do your job,” you might whisper (or shout) to yourself, but every time you clock in another couple of minutes, you either find yourself succumbing to sleepiness or staring at the clock in incredulity at how slow times' been moving.
At other times, however, it’s more than just classic procrastination or a little daydreaming. You feel the intense urge to compulsively do other things. Repeatedly check your email and your social media accounts. See what’s up with your bestie. And while you’re at it, go off for another sip of water or your fifteenth bathroom break -- your avoidance growing to alarming levels, enough to cause a little bit of worry.
What gives? Why can’t you zoom in and focus on the task in front of you? And, more importantly, how can you give your attention span a much-needed kick in the pants?
Reason #1: You’re Really Tired (And Killing Off Brain Cells)
Are you yawning excessively at your desk? Do you feel foggy, bleary-eyed, or like you’re trudging through cement? Are you debating a third (okay, fourth) cup o’ joe?
Well, we have news for you -- you’re overtired, and it’s really putting a damper on your ability to focus.
One recent study shows a direct link between sleep deprivation and impaired cognitive function -- including your cognitive speed and working memory. Another facet that really takes a nosedive? Executive and vigilant attention. Yep, that means not catching enough zzz’s can really sabotage your concentration.
And here’s what’s even scarier -- continued lack of quality shut-eye might actually destroy your brain cells. As part of a study, when mice were deprived of sleep, scientists discovered that the locus coeruleus neurons (LCns) in the tiny animal’s brains -- which are essential for alertness -- began to die off. Since these crucial neurons were continuously firing without enough rest, they became damaged and eventually destroyed. In the study, the mice lost a whopping 25 percent of their LCNs after just three days of 4 to 5 hours of sleep.
Researchers hypothesize that the same thing could happen in human brains. So, basically, a lack of quality sleep could quite literally kill off your brain cells -- good grief.
No wonder why it’s so tough to focus when you didn’t get a good night’s snooze.
In lieu of simply putting your head down and napping for a few minutes, there are a few things you can do to wake yourself up without slapping yourself across the face or dumping cold water over your head.
For instance, try drinking a clean energy drink -- like the ones from Proper Wild. These powerful, plant-based energy shots are made with absolutely nothing artificial, zero grams of added sugar, and have 2X more caffeine than a cup of coffee. Combined with L-theanine for focus and productivity without the jitters or crash, these super-shots are sure to get you back on track.
Another thing you can do is head outside for a quick stroll. Not only does that get your blood pumping, but it also exposes you to natural light. And according to research, some exposure to daylight enhances your attention as well as your work performance. Pretty cool, right?
Reason #2: You’re Not Dealing With Problems
Remember that old (like, really old) saying, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease?” Well, it applies to a lot of aspects of our life, in particular to those who are always complaining and seeking attention. But when it comes to focusing, that squeaking wheel is an issue (or issues) that have not been dealt with.
If it’s a problem that has gone completely unchecked, we find ourselves thinking, “I need to talk to my accountant” or “I really need to fix that dripping faucet.” And when there’s a lot of unchecked problems, they tend to build up, which can greatly affect our ability to focus.
These problems will stop nagging you if you add them to your to-do list and begin to take the necessary steps to get them done. So, make that appointment with your accountant. Watch a quick YouTube tutorial on how to fix a leaky faucet. Even though the actual problem isn’t solved, by simply starting to work on it -- it stops “squeaking.”
Reason #3: You’re Stuck Daydreaming In La-La Land
Remember that cute cafe where your S.O. proposed to you ten years ago? Wouldn’t your dining room look amazing with the same little tables and subway tile on the floor?
We all lose ourselves in daydreams and memories sometimes. Your mind wanders to the past or the future because those places are without a doubt more pleasant than the boring spreadsheet you’re trying to fill out. This causes you to have difficulties concentrating on what you need to focus on.
Okay, so to be clear, daydreaming isn’t a bad thing. Imagination can actually provide a spark of creative genius or visualization of what you want in life. You just need to do it when it makes sense, not when you should be focusing on work.
Stay in the present by keeping your daily-to-do list front and center. When your mind starts to wander, pull yourself back to what’s right in front of you. Ground yourself by focusing on something real -- like your breath -- before turning your attention back to the task at hand.
With that being said, make time to let your mind drift on occasion -- allow yourself the luxury of daydreaming when it’s not pulling you away from something important that you need to get done.
Reason #4: You’re Dealing With A Headache
Nearly everyone has experienced a pesky headache at some point or another. While you might be able to power through a mild one, a migraine can destroy any hope you have of concentrating.
Migraines and headaches are caused by a wide range of issues -- including stress, lack of sleep, eyestrain, meds, and diet. Throw a global pandemic into the mix, and it’s no wonder your head is throbbing.
Like that mini bottle of hand sanitizer, keep your headache meds on hand at all times. Drink water and apply a cold compress. Walking outside to breathe in the fresh air can also help.
Reason #5: You’re Not Exercising
For many, exercise lands at the bottom of the to-do list. When we run out of time, we tend to skip it -- at the cost of our concentration.
But the truth is that even moderate, regular physical activity benefits your physical health, lessens anxiety, improves your sleep, and increases mental acuity. So if you’re not taking the time to exercise, you’re hurting your ability to stay focused.
Simple -- exercise. Even if it’s for a few minutes, make a habit of getting in a little exercise every day.
At the end of the day, concentration requires a lot of motivation, energy, and focus. That’s why most people have difficulty concentrating -- it’s tough!
Thankfully, something as simple as a Clean, All-Day Energy Shot from Proper Wild can help.
Our powerful, plant-based energy shots are designed to boost your energy and productivity, ultimately putting you into the ideal mental state to maximize your day.
Ready to improve your focus? Try one of our energy shots today!