A lot of everyday tasks benefit from a combination of relaxation and focus. Driving is possibly the most obvious example of this. At a minimum, getting this balance right can help to avoid negative consequences. At best, it can really boost your performance. With that in mind, here are three tips to help.
Clear your mind before you begin
What this means in practice will depend on the situation. Ideally, you’ll resolve any troubling issues before you begin your task. In the real world, sadly, that’s not always going to be possible. What you can do, however, is offload them and commit to dealing with them later.
What this means in practice will depend on you. For example, you might get the most release from just speaking your thoughts into a voice recorder (most cellphones have one). Alternatively, you may prefer offloading your thoughts onto paper. This doesn’t have to mean writing. It can also mean drawing or doodling.
This may be enough to clear the mental/emotional block from your system. If it doesn’t, however, remember to commit to addressing it later.
Make sure you’ve taken care of your body
If you want to achieve and maintain relaxed focus, then your body needs to support that. For example, you want to be comfortably full and properly hydrated. Be aware that even milder chemicals may disrupt either your relaxation or concentration. Alcohol and caffeine are obvious culprits here.
Be aware that medication (or withdrawal from medication) can also cause issues. If it does, try speaking to your doctor. They may be able to switch your medication or give advice on how to minimize the effects of withdrawal from it.
Another important point to note is that temperature can play a huge role in your ability to achieve and maintain relaxed focus. Ideally, you should control the ambient temperature to keep it pleasant. You may, however, find it useful to have a way to add extra heating/cooling where and when you need it.
Get the right stimulation
The right stimulation keeps you relaxed but helps you to maintain alertness. Most tasks require you to use your eyes and hands. That leaves your ears, nose, and mouth potentially free. Audio stimulation can be massively helpful. You do, however, need to be slightly careful with it.
Firstly, spoken-word audio, including songs, can overload your brain. When you need to focus, it’s often better to stick to music without lyrics or even just ambient sounds. Secondly, you need to think about your hearing. If you listen to the audio a lot, invest in a quality pair of headphones. Ideally, use ones that go over the ear.
Stimulating your sense of smell can have a very powerful effect on your mind. One useful point to note, however, is that the effect of a scent becomes less powerful over time. This isn’t just the scent fading, it’s the brain tuning it out. You can, however, use different scents to keep your brain engaged.
Last but not least, remember the power of taste. Some foods can also help to get your brain moving. Citrus fruits and mints are often particularly good for this.
This is a collaborative post.