How To Improve Focus 2023? Tips To Help You Focus Better

Reviewed by Drew Sutton, MD

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how to improve focus

Do you find it difficult to concentrate and remember information? According to studies, among the  issues affecting concentration are poor nutrition, anxiety, lack of exercise, boredom, intoxication and multi-tasking.

The human brain is constantly processing information, both consciously and subconsciously and changing its priorities as a result.

The impact of various environmental and physiological factors on your ability to stay focused is frequently overlooked, but poor focusing habits can have significant cognitive consequences, such as a reduced ability to learn.

Understanding how to stop negative thoughts, as well as other factors affecting your concentration, can optimize your cognitive abilities by improving problem-solving and processing speed.

What Is Focus?

According to Oxford Languages, concentration is the center of interest or activity. It can also refer to the state or ability to generate clear visual definitions.

Concentration, on the other hand, is the ability to ignore distractions and focus all of one’s attention on a single subject.

This journal[1], on the other hand, defines concentration as a process that “encodes language input, keeps it active in working and short-term memory, and retrieves it from long-term memory”.

In other words, focus enables you to accurately interpret information and use it in the short term or retrieve it in the long term. Your attention span, as the single most effective learning skill, determines your learning capabilities.

how to improve focus
What is the focus?

How To Improve Focus

Here are some simple techniques to sharpen your focus:

  • Avoid multitasking
  • Get enough sleep
  • Monitor your frenzy or excitability
  • Block out distractions
  • Meditate regularly
  • Segment your activities
  • Practice attentive listening
  • Build an exercise routine
  • Read often
  • Visualize and fantasize
  • Rest sufficiently
  • Plan your activities

Factors That Affect Focus

The following physiological and contextual factors can influence your focus mode:


Whether you intend it or not, the mind is constantly evaluating its internal and external environment. As a result, even if you try to stay focused, you are more likely to become distracted in a noisy, chaotic or disorganized environment.

Old Age

Aging impairs a variety of cognitive functions[2], including hearing, vision and information processing speeds, all of which can impair focus. Hearing loss impairs one’s ability to understand speech in noisy environments.

Poor eyesight, like hearing loss, can impair one’s ability to comprehend visuals. The majority of these symptoms may appear between the ages of 50 and 60.

Poor Health

Alzheimer’s disease and other brain diseases can impair your ability to concentrate. According to Dr. Salinas[3], sudden blood sugar spikes and dips can also impair your attention span.

Most health-related influences can be avoided by avoiding excessive sugar consumption and stimulants such as caffeine, which temporarily overstimulate followed by sudden decreases.

Toxins, traumatic brain injury, ADHD, stroke, bipolar disorder, sleep apnea, dementia and emotional trauma can all impair your concentration. A trauma therapist can suggest better ways to deal with a situation without jeopardizing your concentration.

Information Overabundance

Dr. Daffner[4] claims that receiving too much information at once, such as when reading texts or using a computer while watching television, reduces your ability to concentrate by overburdening your filtering system. Disorganized work or information also makes it difficult for you to concentrate.

how to improve focus
Absorbing too much information at once will reduce your ability to concentrate

Eating Habits

Focusing and energy levels go hand in hand. As a result, poor nutrition, such as eating too much junk food without paying attention to a well balanced diet, can also impair your ability to focus. When your energy levels drop, so does your attention span.


Boredom is caused by repetitive activities or consuming too much information about a single topic, which reduces your concentration. Learning becomes less interesting when there are no new challenges, reducing your willingness to concentrate.

Conditions Related To Focus

Here’s how your physical and mental states can affect your ability to focus:


In the short term, substance abuse impairs judgment and reduces focus, but depending on the substance and duration of abuse, it can also have long-term effects.

For instance, drinking too much alcohol will reduce your concentration and affect your judgment right away. However, it also degrades the quality of your sleep, which affects how focused you are the next day.

Loss Of Senses

According to a study by Harvard[5], losing your vision or hearing ability can impair your ability to focus. Hearing loss and poor vision cause you to expend more energy attempting to acquire rather than process information.

how to improve focus
Loss of sensation can reduce your ability to focus and make you spend more energy taking in information

Depression And Medication Side Effects

Depression makes you less attentive because your mind is constantly preoccupied with depression-related thoughts. However, in addition to being depressed, depression medication can impair your mental clarity[6]. Anticholinergic medications, such as those used to treat incontinence and allergies, can also impair your ability to process information.

Anxiety Or Stress

When working or learning under a lot of pressure,  the anxiety and stress weaken your focus. Focusing can be made more difficult by multitasking, which can also lead to anxiety and stress. There are many secure and natural remedies, like CBD gummies for anxiety, if you are unable to combat stress right away.


Hunger is probably the most common source of distraction that everyone encounters. It is caused by a drop in blood sugar and energy levels. Aside from the desire to think about food when hungry, low energy levels reduce motivation and the ability to focus.


Water is essential for the body to function properly. Dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches and a bad mood, all of which reduce your attention span.

Hormonal Changes

Focus and memory can also be affected by the hormonal changes that women experience during pregnancy and menopause. Reduced concentration and memory, two typical menopause symptoms, are brought on by the drop in estrogen levels, claims Cancer Research UK[7]. Female hormone estrogen affects memory, processing of information and concentration. Chemotherapy and cancer hormone therapies like tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors may reduce or inhibit estrogen’s activity.

Tips To Help You Focus Better

Here are some simple changes you can make to your lifestyle and communication skills to increase your attention span:

Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking is frequently mistaken for high productivity, when in fact it is the inverse. Multitasking stresses the mind by forcing it to quickly switch from one task to another, reducing your ability to focus.

It has a negative impact on your cognitive abilities and leads to poor task execution.

Get Enough Sleep

Your sleeping pattern influences many primary body functions, including metabolism and cognition. Sleeping promotes memory consolidation and restores physical and cognitive energy, which improves clarity and focus. All these are lost with sleep deprivation.

Monitor Your Frenzy

Frenzy is an emotional state characterized by emotions such as sadness, anxiety and anger, which can outweigh your ability to concentrate.

According to functional brain imaging[8], the amygdala, a section of the brain that responds to emotions, is more sensitive to such negative emotions, which may significantly reduce cognitive capacity. The solution is to keep your negative to positive emotions in a 3:1 ratio.

how to improve focus
Insanity are negative emotions that can overwhelm your ability to focus

Block Out Distractions

Your mind is capable of both becoming distracted and blocking thoughts of distraction. Therefore, you can boost concentration by excluding distractions on purpose for brief but highly productive periods.

For instance, you can devote 30 minutes to a specific task while avoiding electronic and audible distractions like background music.

Segment Your Activities

Long and tiring activities can be broken down into short, manageable tasks to improve your primary focus.

Between activities, you can switch to a completely different mental task that is completely unrelated to the previous one and focus on it without thinking about the previous one.

You can also engage in physical activity after a high-demanding mental activity, such as taking mindful walks and allow your body to do more work than your brain. It will not only boost your physical health but also enhance your mental resources as well.

Meditate Regularly

Meditation is a passive brain concentration exercise[9] with numerous mental health benefits.

You can meditate by sitting quietly, closing your eyes and focusing on your breath to exclude any thought processes. Take note of how you inhale and exhale.

Meditating for 3 to 4 minutes before a task prepares the mind for the upcoming task and increases attention span. Meditation and brain training games help to sharpen your mind through cognitive training.

Practice Attentive Listening

Active attentive listening aids in the mastery of the information consumption and processing process.

When you listen with good posture[10], you reduce distractions and devote more of your mental energy to the message rather than the environment.

When communicating, try to remember the details of the message rather than planning your response.

Read Often

Reading is another way to improve your concentration. Try to read for 30 to 40 minutes each day and block out any distractions like phone calls and notifications.

To improve your attentiveness, process every piece of information as you read. You can also try to notice missing details by repeating a paragraph.

Build An Exercise Routine

According to Helpguide[11], regular exercise can improve memory, mood, motivation and concentration.

It immediately affects your dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine levels, which are responsible for your focus and attention span.

Focus can be improved by jogging, riding a bicycle or walking.

Visualize And Fantasize

Visualization, also known as guided imagery or fantasizing, aids in the development of focus through the practice of mindfulness.

The ability to imagine and contextualize yourself in an environment other than reality is an effective method for learning focus.

Rest Sufficiently

Resting allows the mind and body to recoup energy and motivation for tackling upcoming tasks. Rest enhances clarity and focus. Being as committed to your rest periods as you are to your exercise or work schedule is a long-term duty execution strategy.

Plan Your Activities

Organization relieves your mind of the burden of keeping track of things unrelated to the task at hand. For example, planning your schedule before beginning the day allows you to devote your full attention to each task. Work organization also reduces mental strain and improves clarity.

how to improve focus
Planning allows you to focus fully on each task, reducing mental stress and improving clarity


Focusing is a skill that can be honed by making minor changes to how you perform various tasks such as reading. Poor focus habits, on the other hand, can easily become a permanent mental state if no effort is made to improve them.

While some medical conditions, such as bipolar disorder, can impair your ability to focus, the majority of other factors are environmental and can be addressed immediately.

The key to maintaining high levels of concentration is to remove all external distractions and intentionally devote your mind to the task at hand for a set period of time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key factors to keep in mind while struggling to focus?

When consuming information, engage your body and mind by listening, observing and maintaining good posture.

Why is focusing an important skill?

Focus is important because it improves your mental abilities such as memory, perception, problem-solving, decision-making and learning. It allows you to process information more quickly and accurately.

How can I improve my focusing ability?

Exercise, eat well, get enough sleep, organize your work and environment, avoid getting drunk, be social, manage your anger and avoid stress and anxiety.

Which food should I take to improve my focus?

Carbohydrate sources like rice and maize flour will give you more energy. However, rich sources of B vitamins and vitamin K, such as fish, fruits and vegetables, are also required.

What causes a lack of concentration in school?

Students are more likely to lose focus due to hunger, dehydration, anxiety and a lack of adequate sleep. You should also assess your learning habits to determine which ones require modification, such as segmenting work or seeking new challenges.

How does focus affect learning at school?

Focus determines how quickly you can acquire and process information. As a result, it determines how quickly you can learn or keep up with your class.

How can I practice focusing?

You can mix and match various focus mind exercises like meditating, reading, attentive listening and visualizing. However, socializing with peers is a fun and easy way to practice concentration.

How does meditation affect focus?

Meditation necessitates paying close attention to how air flows in and out of your body while developing focus habits. It allows you to subconsciously register the various steps of learning, such as acquiring, analyzing, storing and executing information quickly.

+ 11 sources

MIDSS adheres to strict procurement guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutes, and medical associations. We work mainly with peer-reviewed studies to ensure the accuracy of the information. We avoid the use of tertiary references. You can read about how we ensure the accuracy and timeliness of our content in our editorial process.

  1. Vy Hanh Le (2021). An Investigation into Factors Affecting Concentration of University Students. [online] ResearchGate. Available at:
  2. Harvard Health. (2021). How aging affects focus – Harvard Health. [online] Available at:,you%20were%20younger.
  3. Harvard Health. (2020). Focus on concentration – Harvard Health. [online] Available at:,your%20daily%20intake.
  4. Harvard Health. (2020). Tips to improve concentration – Harvard Health. [online] Available at:
  5. Harvard Health. (2020). Tips to improve concentration – Harvard Health. [online] Available at:
  6. Braund, T.A., Tillman, G., Palmer, D.M., Gordon, E., Rush, A.J. and Harris, A.W.F. (2021). Antidepressant side effects and their impact on treatment outcome in people with major depressive disorder: an iSPOT-D report. Translational Psychiatry, [online] 11(1). doi:
  7. (2022). Thinking and memory changes in women. [online] Available at:,memory%20and%20thinking.
  8. Harvard Business Review. (2012). Train Your Brain to Focus. [online] Available at:
  9. Washington, G. (2020). How to Increase Attention Span | George Washington University. [online] George Washington University. Available at:
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  11. Robinson, L. (2018). The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise. [online] Available at:,Ritalin%20and%20Adderall.


Teresa Mboci
Pediatric Nurse, Nutritionist, and Wellness Author
A dedicated pediatric nurse with a passion for nutrition and wellness, Teresa has made it her mission to empower families with the tools and knowledge they need to promote optimal health and well-being in their children. With over 8 years of experience in the healthcare field and a background in nutrition, Teresa brings a unique perspective to the challenges facing families today. In her role as a pediatric nurse, Teresa has seen firsthand the impact that diet and lifestyle can have on a child's health, and in her writing, she shares her expertise and insights with a broader audience. Whether through her books, articles, or speaking engagements, Teresa is committed to helping families navigate the complexities of pediatric health and wellness with confidence and compassion.


Drew Sutton, MD
Medical Writer & Editor
Drew is a retired ENT doctor who now lives in the Southeastern US. He was a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He has a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Psychology and an MD degree. He completed his internship in General Surgery and Residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and practiced for almost 30 years in all aspects of ENT, including a specialization in disorders of the ear and skull base. Drew is passionate about communicating his clinical experiences and making his knowledge more accessible to the general public by medical writing.

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