6 Ways to Improve Your Focus & Clarity This Fall
Written by Kait Fowlie | @kaitfowlie
September is when our thoughts tend to shift toward getting focused: conquering goals, decluttering our homes and offices, and getting healthy. To support yourself in your effort to kick-start your goals, make sure you know what works! Here are 6 pain-free ways to clear the mental clutter and improve your focus this fall.
Eat breakfast (and do it right)
If it’s all you can do to roll out of bed and stuff a pastry in your mouth in the morning, you can expect to feel a little foggy all day, or at least until you feed your brain some proper nutrients. Start your day right with some protein, healthy fats, and fibre. Stock your pantry with the right ingredients that make it easy to eat well in the morning. Make a big batch of rawnola to have on hand for breakfast parfaits, a fruit salad topper or a trail mix base you can eat on the go.
Swap coffee for matcha
This simple hack can make a mega difference to support your focus. When compared to coffee, matcha offers an “alert calm” thanks to the natural substance it contains called l-theanine, which induces relaxation without the subsequent drowsiness. A highly concentrated powder, a little of this stuff goes a long way. Our matcha smoothie bowl will give you a sustained kick that will keep your energy levels up through the day, no spikes included.
Check your sleep hygiene
Getting a crappy sleep will make you sluggish and will likely lead you to make quick-fix decisions like OD on coffee and sugar throughout the day. Check your sleep hygiene and commit to keeping it clean. Best practices according to The National Sleep Foundation? Establish a relaxing nighttime routine (a guided meditation, bath, journal-writing – whatever works for you), stay away from caffeine and sugar close to bedtime, and train your brain to get used to a regular bedtime.
Practice brain dumping
From the second you wake up in the morning to when you sleep for the night, you’re soaking in external stimuli from all around. That can add up and take a toll on your focus and clarity. Taking 15 minutes a day to practice freewriting – writing stream of conscious style non-stop for a designated period of time – can be a helpful way to “dump” the clutter in your mind. Some say it’s a more effective technique than meditation.
Step away from the screen
How many times have you said “I’m just going to go check my email” only to return to what you were doing, hours later, feeling irritable and no more accomplished? The Internet can suck you in and spit you out feeling much worse off than before. Before it does, step away. Look out a window and take some deep breaths. Try guided meditation with the Headspace app. Or go outside for a few minutes. Do some stretches. Make a list with pen and paper before you hit the screen again.
Get outside and go barefoot in the grass
Check out productivity master Tim Ferris’s hack for improving focus in stressful times. He says, “jog slowly and barefoot on grass for 20 min, 3 times a week.” Sound odd? Try it for a few minutes. Connecting with the earth will improve your mental state and help you feel grounded so you can return to your work feeling less like a robot while answering emails. If nothing else, standing on the grass in the middle of your yard will help you see your situation from a different perspective.