If you’re finding it hard to concentrate at the moment, don’t worry - it’s not you, it’s your brain. We are actually under attack (for the first time in most of our lifetimes and your brain is being hypervigilant. We are programmed to do this to protect against bears and lions and the like, but this is the modern equivalent. Your body is prioritising alertness over concentration or relaxation, making it hard for us to switch on and off. If you’re struggling to get going in the morning, here are some simple ways to help you have a productive day:
1. Find your focus again
It’s important we shut down from time to time, but in these times, many of us are finding it difficult. Not finding enough downtime can diminish your concentration. Try to find something that is engrossing - a podcast, music, chatting to friends - anything that distracts your brain for a bit and eventually it will understand that the threat is not as great as it might seem. Staying off social media and not watching the news all day will help too.
2. Rethink your to do list
Does everything on it seem overwhelming? If so, take that big task called “Write strategy for x” and break it down into chunks. “Write bullet point outline of strategy” or “Write opening paragraph of strategy” are much easier to achieve and once you get going, it will be much easier to keep going. This will help you avoid sticking with the easy things all day and feeling worn out at the end of the day and as though you didn’t achieve much.
3. Prioritise those breaks
Working for long periods of time leads to stress and will tire you out. Remember to take short breaks often. Try taking five minutes to get up and stretch every hour and avoid your screen. Not only will you be happier, healthier and more productive, but this will also increase creativity.
4. Work with your productive hours
If you find that you're most productive in the morning, try to organise your work schedule around this by completing meatier tasks during this time, that require more brain power and concentration. Then use your afternoon to complete lighter tasks.
Some days we may be more productive than others, but try to accept that and let yourself off the hook. Going for a walk will probably do more for your productivity than lingering frustratedly in front of the computer. And remember, progress is better than perfection!