How to Improve Your Focus

Whether you are studying, working, or both, a well-focused mind is an essential tool. So, how can you ensure that your brain is working as efficiently as possible? 

Practice mindfulness

"Mindfulness is about focusing attention on the present moment, and practising mindfulness has been shown to rewire the brain so that attention is stronger in everyday life," says Dr Kim Willment, a neuropsychologist from Boston. She recommends taking a moment each day, even if for just a couple of minutes, to sit quietly and refocus your mind. By paying attention to what you are doing and the sensations around you, this small habit helps you to centre yourself and regain clarity.

Train your brain

Brain training exercises are a great way to improve your memory and your focus. Evidence suggests that a person's ability to pay attention can be improved by progressively pushing themselves to higher levels of performance. If you think of your brain as a muscle, it makes sense to exercise it to try and increase cognitive function. There are many free brain training exercises available through both apps or online.

Improve your health and lifestyle

Overall health and lifestyle can have a huge effect on your mind. If you are finding it difficult to focus or your mind is feeling sluggish, it is worth having a look at your daily habits to make sure there is nothing detrimental there. Most people would recognise that if they are not sleeping enough or not eating well that it may have a negative effect on their energy and therefore - focus. But did you know that exercise increases the availability of brain chemicals that promote new brain connections? Aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, boosts brain power. Hydration also plays a vital part in cognitive ability. A study at Cambridge University concluded that “dehydration has been shown to cause cognitive deficits such as short-term memory and visual perceptual abilities as well as mood disturbance, whereas water consumption can improve cognitive performance, particularly visual attention and mood.” If you feel yourself losing concentration or zoning out at your desk it might be time to get up and get moving or grab a glass of water.

Limit your focus

This may seem counter-productive but hear us out! Legal Secretaries and Pas are always busy and it can be normal to multitask to get your jobs done. However, multitasking might not be as productive as you think. Start thinking of your attention as a spotlight. If you shine that spotlight on one area, you can see things very clearly. If you were to try to spread that same amount of light across a larger area, you might instead only glimpse the shadowy outlines. Part of improving your focus is about making the most of the mental resources you have available. If you are struggling to focus, try avoiding multitasking and instead give your full attention to one thing at a time.

If you are studying one of ILSPA's Legal Secretary courses, you can find other helpful articles in the Student Resources section of our Student and Member area.