Tips for Focusing


Just like in the cartoon we all struggle with focus. Some of us more than others. Last month we posted resources for focus on all our social media pages (Facebook, Tumblr, Google Plus, and Pinterest)

Here are some highlights from those November posts:

Areas to look at when trying to gain focus:

Refocus strategies

  • Use a timer or alarm to remind you or your child to stay on track
  • Have your student (or you) keep a log of how often they find their mind wandering. Being aware of times where you are not focused can begin to trigger your brain to stay on track more.

Taking breaks

  • Breaks should be meaningful. This means that a break is not a chance to watch TV, or play a video game. Rather it is a chance to do something to help keep your brain focused.
  • Examples:
    • Physical exercise (stretching, yoga, jogging in place, jumping jacks, push ups, squats, etc.)-be on the lookout for a more detailed post about this
    • Brain Training Games
    • Write a quick journal entry about your day
    • Snuggle with a pet
  • Time frame: When trying to get something done, meaningful breaks should last 2-5 min, and happen every 30 min. to an hour. Encourage your student to set a timer for themselves (or do this for yourself). If they are working on a big project and they have been on it for a while, try having them take a 15-30 min. walk or physical activity break to rejuvenate those brain cells. Getting a snack and water work too!


  • Stay hydrated and eat protein snacks when extra focus is needed
  • For children (and adults) limit caffeine intake, refined sugar intake, processed foods, and foods with yellow and red dyes.
  • Eating healthy can instantly improve focus.
  • Vegetables, fruits, and nuts can give a lot of the nutrients you may be lacking, and need for focus. These are great for snacks, or adding a healthy side to a main meal.

Things that are distracting

  • Clear work area of distractions
  • Put cell phone in another room, or at least on vibrate
  • Limit excess noise level in the area where you or your child is working. You can use noise canceling headphones for this, or play instrumental music (see the next main point)
  • Ask others not to interrupt you except in the case of emergency.

Listening to instrumental music while working can increase focus. Some of our favorites are:

  • Classical Music (genre)
  • Montgomery Smith Instrumentals (music artist)
  • SonicAid (scientifically formulated music)
  • Balmorhea​ (group of instrumental artists)
  • Focus at Will (website with scientifically formulated music))
  • Ambient Music (genre)
  • Focus, Meditation, and Spa music (can find these on Youtube, or most music apps like Spotify)

Its also important to get the right amount of sleep for you. This is different for each person. Try to pay attention to how long you slept on the days you feel more rested. Make that time your target goal. Also deep relaxing sleep is just as important as how long you sleep. Some natural things that may help getting a deep restful sleep are:

  • Soothing teas such as chamomile
  • The vitamin supplement melatonin
  • Listening to a “sleep talkdown” (you can find lots of good ones on You tube. We recommend “The Honest Guys”. Here is a link to one of our favorites.)
  • Keeping a small mixture of “sleepy dust” next to the bed for when you wake up in the middle of the night. (We have not tried this one, but have heard it works well.)

I want to give everyone reading this post an actionable goal to try out. Pick one of the topics (a-e) mentioned in this post,or the sleep tips, and try applying just one of the tips to you or your student’s daily routine over the next week. See what happens.

Remember it is not how many changes you can make at once, or how big of a change you make. Take it one small step at a time, and you will find you have started climbing the mountain and are looking at a beautiful view!

“Don’t think about what could happen in a month. Don’t think about what can happen in a year. Just focus on the 24 hours in front of you, and do what you can to get closer to where you want to be.”

We would love to hear the success stories and the lessons learned by any non-successful tries. Do you have any other focus strategies you would add to this list?

Amanda Avery 🙂



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