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Improve your focus and concentration at work

Thinking

How Can I Focus Better At Work?

More and more people in the western world work in knowledge industries. Staying focused when you're doing detailed work that requires a lot of concentration is not easy, and modern open-plan offices aren't exactly conducive to concentration either. The combination of distractions from co-workers and customers, and the challenge of multitasking, or task switching when at a computer, can greatly hinder productivity. Indeed, people who multitask tend to perform poorly when performing complex tasks, compared to those who are working on just one task at a time. 1

focus at work Improve Your Concentration and Productivity


If you want to be able to focus better at work, then you need to take care of your physical and mental wellbeing. Sleep, nutrition, and yes, supplementation, can all help to improve your overall performance.

The Value of Sleep


One of the most important things you can do to improve your focus and concentration gets a good night's sleep. Sleep is something that a lot of people don't get enough of, and it can greatly impair your cognitive performance, as well as your general health and wellbeing if you do not get enough. Studies show that those who get less deep sleep experience a poorer quality of life and report more emotional distress. 2

Nutrition and Cognitive Performance focus at work


The saying "you are what you eat" has a lot of truth to it. Our bodies need macro- and micro-nutrients to function properly. We use proteins for muscle growth and repair, fats to make hormones, carbohydrates for energy, vitamins, and minerals for tissue repair, to make new blood cells, to make hormones, and to help our brains function properly. Nutrient deficiencies can manifest themselves in numerous ways, including struggling to think clearly and focus on any one task at a time. One recent study from the University of Reading, for example, found that eating blueberries helped to improve recall and cognitive performance. 3

Using Supplements to Boost Focus focus at work


If foods can help us think better, then what about focus-specific supplements? There's a group of drugs and supplements called Nootropics, which are known for their brain-protective and brain performance-enhancing properties.

Nootropics have been around for decades now, but it is only recently that they have really started to enter the mainstream. Today, people are using supplements with nootropic properties to help improve their focus and their performance at work. There are numerous supplements and nootropics on the market, including:

Phosphatidylserine


This is a phospholipid that is found in abundance in the cell membranes of neurons in your brain. It is important for the growth and maintenance of those neurons, and supplementation can help to boost your concentration and memory and reduce the rate of age-related decline in cognitive performance. 4

Choline Alfoscerate


Acetylcholine is an important neurotransmitter, and supplementing choline alfoscerate can help to improve your memory and learning ability. Fish are a rich source of choline, but many people do not eat enough fish, and being deficient in choline can cause problems with memory in later life. 5

Huperzine A


Huperzine A is an extract from the herb Huperzia Serrata, and it is something that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Supplementing Huperzine A can improve focus and cognitive performance because it is an acetyl cholinesterase inhibitor. This means that it blocks the enzyme which breaks down acetylcholine, thereby increasing the amount of acetylcholine in the brain, offering similar improvements in focus, memory, and concentration. 6

L-Theanine


L-theanine is found in Camellia sinensis, a species of Evergreen shrub which is used to make tea. While you can get this compound by drinking green tea 7 , it is not found in other food sources, which means that it is important to supplement it. L-theanine can help to increase your dopamine and serotonin levels, helping to reduce stress. It can also help to offset some of the negative effects of caffeine, meaning that you can enjoy the focus-boosting effect of caffeine without the anxiety and nervousness that sometimes comes with drinking too much coffee.

Aniracetam


There are several drugs in the racetam family. Most of these are offered on a prescription-only basis. Aniracetam is a derivative of racetams that can be obtained without a prescription, and it has been found to improve cognitive performance in people with dementia. 8 It helps to boost your mental energy, reduce anxiety, and improve memory and learning, as well as focus. It is often used as a learning booster by students, and many city workers use it to help them focus intensely in short bursts. The half-life of aniracetam is approximately two hours, so you can use it to get through that afternoon hump, and then still be able to mentally shut down when you leave the office, and get a good night's sleep.

Noopept


Another popular nootropic supplement is Noopept. This is a synthetic brain booster that is much stronger than most of the cognitive enhancers in the racetam family. Users can get good boosts out of a comparatively small dose, and some even report that in addition to mental focus it offers visual clarity, which makes it a great choice for graphic designers and others who need to be able to 'bring things to life' while at work.

Take a Break


Whatever nootropics you decide to use, remember that you still need to take a break from time to time. While you can get a little extra boost from food, exercise, rest and supplements, there's a lot of value in being able to shut down. If you keep pushing your brain to its limits doing long hours, lots of overtime, or a job that you don't enjoy, then eventually you will find that your lifestyle will catch up with you. Take some time out to rest, take care of yourself, and do some things that you enjoy. Sometimes, a holiday can be the best performance enhancer of all and will let you come back to the office refreshed and ready to tackle your job again.

Photo Credits: GaudiLab/shutterstock.com,

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