7 Proven 5 Minute Tricks to Sharpen Your Focus

17% of views of pages on the internet last four seconds or less so I am writing this knowing that there are a good portion of you who won’t get to the end of this sentence, let alone the end of the blog.

The reality is that over the past decade, our attention spans have been decreasing thanks to increase external stimulation & digital connectedness. It’s not surprising we are so quick to get distracted by what’s online – it’s actually an evolutionary trait. Up until very recently, our survival as a species has depended on being able to focus on what is moving. Whereas in the past, that might have been an enemy or dangerous situation, now it is very often our phones, social media & other digital pastimes.

A recent study has shown that the average human attention span is 8 seconds, one second less than that of a goldfish and down from 12 seconds in the year 2000.

The good news is that “Focus is a muscle, and you can build it.” (says Elie Venezky, author of Hack Your Brain). Changing your mindset is the first step and then its about taking steps to change your habits & environment to improve it.

In case you couldn’t tell, we at Lucid are passionate about body betterment, neuro-enhancement, productivity & focus. To be kept up to date on any other blogs or infographics, add yourself to our community mailing list.

As you have probably already figured out, focus is a… well, focus!!…for us here at Lucid. Our particular passion is productivity & neuro-enhancement. Below are seven proven but quick and easy to execute tricks to sharpen yours.


lungsBefore you begin a task, take two to five minutes to focus on your breathing. The brain requires oxygen & will function more efficiently if it receives a regular supply. Get into a comfortable position somewhere with no distractions and breathe deeply through your nose for two counts and then exhale for four. Exhaling for even a few moments longer than you inhale turns up your parasympathetic nervous system (rest & digest) & turns down your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) which releases cortisol into the body and can make you more easily distracted.

Regulate Your Temperature

temperatureA work environment that is too hot or too cold has been proven to impact your focus. A study from Cornell University found workers are most productive & make fewer errors in an environment that is between 20 & 25 degrees Celsius (68-77 F). This study was backed up by one from Helsinki University of Technology who were able to prove that the ultimate temperature is 21.66 degrees Celsius (71F). For every degree cooler or warmer than that, productivity was proven to decline – for example, in a hot room of 30 degrees Celsius, performance was only 91% of that of the maximum. Can’t wrestle control of your office’s thermostat? Try layering clothes, a portable fan or even a warm or cool drink.


de-clutterIt doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand this one – clutter is a reminder of things that should get done by aren’t. But we like proof & came across this study by scientists at Princeton University Neuroscience Institute who demonstrated that when your environment is cluttered, the visual stimuli can restrict your ability to focus by competing for processing capacity in the already limited working memory.

In case you couldn’t tell, we at Lucid are passionate about body betterment, neuro-enhancement, productivity & focus. To be kept up to date on any other blogs or infographics, add yourself to our community mailing list.

Essentially, clutter distracts you and makes it more difficult to process information. You don’t have to spend your whole day tidying up and reorganising though – an illusion of neatness is enough. Try taking 5 minutes to clear your desk of any unwanted materials, stack paperwork and books into neater piles and you’ll get an instant focus boost.


doodleYes, you heard me correctly! Long dismissed as a sign that the illustrator is distracted, doodling has recently gained a new reputation. A number of different studies have demonstrated that doodling (seemingly absent-minded or meaningless scribbles) can actually help people stay more focused, retain information & assist with comprehension of new concepts. According to research by University of Plymouth, doodling can help with cognitive performance & recollection by stabilising arousal at an optimal level, keeping them awake & reducing the symptoms of boredom (which result in distraction). Some people even find that returning to their scribbles at a later stage can help them recollect what they were hearing at the time they were doodling. Next time you’re in a long meeting or conference and find your attention waning, try a spot of doodling to improve your focus!

Listen To Your Favourite Track

musicWhile background noise can be distracting, listening to a favourite song can actually help you focus and tune into your own thoughts. Up until recently, most research on the impact music has on the brain was genre based (e.g. classic versus hip hop) but this study has demonstrated that musical preferences are a unique & individualised phenomena and it isn’t the lyrics or acoustic complexity that matters but purely whether the individual who is listening actually enjoys the song! How does it work? Listening to a song you enjoy alters the connectivity between auditory brain areas & the hippocampus which is the region responsible for memory, cognition & emotion. So whether it’s Kanye or Kenny Rogers, take 5 mins to listen to a couple of your favourite tracks to get your attention on track!

Get Some Natural Light

natural-lightLight, and in particular its intensity and spectrum, can have a big impact on human circadian systems (our body clock) and lack of the right light exposure during the day can result in disruption of these systems which affects mood and sleep quality. Poor mood & lack of sleep then have a flow on effect to cognitive function, including and especially focus. Recent research has shown that people working in windowed offices spend 15% more time on work-related tasks than those without windows. It is possible to have office lighting mimic natural lighting in a way that can overcome this but if changing the light bulbs is not an option, try getting outdoors for even 5 minutes. Take a phone call outside or grab a bite to eat – it will make all the difference!


hydrateIt’s an oldie but a goodie and it would be remiss of us not to mention this one given how simple but how important it is! Remember the old recommendation of 8 glasses of water a day? Well, it turns out that it was wrong. The Institute of Medicine now recommends that women drink 9 beverages (including water) and that men drink 12.5! It is important that you drink up because as a study in the British Journal of Nutrition found, even mild dehydration that can be so slight you don’t notice or feel like you’re thirsty can lead to inattention and poor focus. The good news is, while water is usually the best, all fluids count. Try a glass of coconut coconut water which is filled with electrolytes for an intense hydration hit or green tea which contains L-theanine – an amino acid and natural nootropic that increases alpha brain waves.

As you may have noticed, we here at Lucid are passionate about helping you fulfil your potential. We’ve also created a cognitive enhancer called Lucid Smart Pill, which is designed to sharpen your focus, increase mental agility and lift your motivation. Check it out

Amie Weller Colbert

Amie is the CXO of Lucid. With her decade of experience in successfully creating and building brands, Amie is integral to the future reach of the Lucid brand and products.