Having a hard time concentrating? Trying to find a distraction? Here are a few tips to get your brain back on track.
Some days I find it difficult to concentrate at work. Around 2:30pm after lunch I find myself lagging and my brain slows down processing information. Someone will ask me if I want a cup of tea and I find it hard to answer. My eyes start dropping, I switch between hot and cold and, really, I just want to shut my eyes until my brain wakes up again, which is usually around 4.
When I realised that my eating habits and caffeine intake seemed to have no effect on my level of tiredness, I realised it was my brain overworking from 8 in the morning for 6 hours straight. As soon as I arrived at work my brain would kick into gear, I’d plan my day, then fill every second by being productive. This meant I burnt out by 2pm, and really felt it by 2:30.
I started looking into ways my brain could take a break, and found a few things online that worked, and a few others that didn’t. I wanted to find brain exercises I could do while at work and within 5 minutes, so I could actively start them and stop them without having a massive impact on my day. So as an example, standing up and walking around my desk was achievable, but going out for a long lunch and stopping off in an art gallery to stare at a painting isn’t something I can afford to do most days.
Learn something new
I recognised that I craved looking into something else whenever I was procrastinating. Something completely opposite to what I was meant to be doing. However it’s really easy to waste your time with little reward. Instead, I signed up to Highbrow to have a lesson delivered to my inbox every day. There are free courses and premium courses, and I save the 5 minute lessons for when my brain is sinking. Switching my thinking to something else really helps to wake me up.
Find an alternative way of doing something you do often
Throughout the workday there are processes upon processes. Sometimes they become cookie cutter and we barely have time to find different, better ways of doing something. This started when I was having a particularly boring, long day and by 2pm I wondered if there were better, more efficient ways of doing the task. I went on a hunt to find new productivity tools, and eventually I started researching other tools that could help me day to day. Then found new ways of doing things that would benefit me and my team, like storyboarding, social, web design and copywriting. Researching into something you do everyday can reveal interesting results, and tell you when you’ve been doing something wrong for far too long. The reward from looking into these tools and alternatives was a heightened sense of enthusiasm. It woke me up from the dull task and encouraged me to solve problems, and so activated my brain again.
Down a glass of water
This one is super simple. Fill a pint glass at the sink, and don’t leave until you’ve downed the whole thing. A glass of water can wake you up from the inside, and has the added benefit of getting rid of toxins. There are also studies that say that room temperature water is better to drink because you don’t need as much energy to warm the water to body temperature, so your energy can be saved for that last task you need to do before you leave today. Either room temperature or cold, forcing yourself to concentrate on only one thing away from your desk gives you room to think.
Watch a video on YouTube
No, not one from PewDiePie, something productive. Something to get your brain thinking about production. I’m a fan of Crafty, because even if they create things you’re never going to find a use for, it forces your brain to change from overthinking to thinking about production and creation. It’s inspiring enough to wake up even the sleepiest mind. If you’re not a fan of the arts and crafts, giving in and finding some cute kitten videos can give your brain a rest, and if it makes you laugh you’ll have a little more energy. Just make sure you don’t get sucked in and end up watching hours of them!
Move around all day
I recently found that all my friends had a Fitbit, and noticed how little exercise I was doing in comparison. My cardio fitness was on the floor and I was searching for a seat all day. When I first put a Fitbit on it told me how unhealthy I was. While I could go on and on about how incredible a Fitbit is (it’s really worth its own post), I noticed that I became less tired the more I moved. Moving around throughout the day gives you the chance to break away from your screen, and get back to the real world for a bit.
I’m sure there are plenty of other ways to get your brain functioning again, but the above is what has worked for me, and I hope they work for you.