Is your focus at an all-time low? You’re not alone. Brits are finding it harder than ever to pay attention, with two in five (41%) admitting their ability to concentrate has significantly worsened since the pandemic. This reveals new research from energy brand Pro Plus.
A lockdown may be a distant memory, but it has left a severe inability to focus in its wake. Many adults say they cannot focus on a task, significantly impacting their work and home life.
The deterioration in concentration levels has not gone unnoticed by our bosses, with more than one in 10 (13%) people reporting they have been reprimanded for it. This number increases to one in five (21%) adults whose family members have commented on their lack of focus.
Regarding the deprivation of focus, neuroscientist and author of Sort Your Brain Out, Dr Jack Lewis, says: “Today’s world is full of distractions, making staying focused on the task harder than ever. Undoubtedly, our growing dependence on technology has decreased our attention spans. Still, the past few years have also had a subtle yet significant effect on our cognitive abilities.
“According to a Pro Plus survey, getting a good night’s sleep is a priority, with 32% attributing lack of focus to poor sleep, but the focus is also affected by boredom (20%), noisy spaces (16%) and hunger (15%). Sustaining focus can be a skill, so understanding what affects you personally can help you overcome the obstacles in concentration. Try noting what you’re feeling or what is happening when you lose focus to help you find your triggers.”
Focus training tips
Dr Lewis suggests some key strategies for restoring focus.
Move your body regularly. Exercise releases a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, which supports nerve cell growth – key to improving your ability to concentrate, memorise, and learn. This can increase your heart rate, so find a way of movement that you enjoy and can sustain long-term. The survey suggests 23% of Brits find solace in going for a walk.
Minimise distractions around you, whether that’s people or digital devices. Constant notifications and interruptions can increase stress and reduce our ability to sustain attention. By limiting distractions, we can reduce the cognitive load on our brains and improve our ability to focus and concentrate. And if you’re still struggling to reach the focus zone, try switching your working space to a different room.
Aim for between seven–nine hours of sleep per night. During sleep, the brain consolidates memories and processes information, improving cognitive performance the next day. Additionally, sleep deprivation can lead to reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region important for attention and decision-making, which can impair focus and concentration.
Find your focus-enhancing sound. When you’re concentrating, the surrounding noise can impact your ability to sustain focus. The most productive sound differs between people; some need silence, while others thrive when listening to classical music or white noise. These types of sound can induce relaxation and increase alpha waves in the brain, associated with improved attention and cognitive processing.
Create a daily routine to avoid decision fatigue. Our brains thrive on structure, so removing small and unnecessary decisions daily allows your mind to focus on important things. Don’t forget to schedule breaks; 19% of Brits say they benefit from regular, short breaks. This can help replenish the depleted cognitive resources during sustained concentration.
Support your focus with brain food. Not only can hunger affect focus, but our brains also rely on nutrients to function, and a lack of some specific ones can lead to poorer focus, attention and memory. Nootropic supplements – those that support cognitive function – can be particularly effective in helping your brain work at its best. Nootropic ingredients include B vitamins, caffeine and adaptogens such as ginseng and guarana.
If you want to improve your focus, Pro Plus Ultra contains a blend of performance-enhancing ingredients, from slow-release caffeine for long-lasting concentration to B vitamins for reducing tiredness and fatigue and stress-relieving adaptogenic benefits of ashwagandha.
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