how to deal with diminishing focus and productivity

Have you noticed your focus and productivity decline over the past few weeks? If yes, you’re not alone. According to a Thrive Global survey, over 75% of employees feel overwhelmed and significantly less focused and productive due to the pandemic-related notifications and distractions and working from home.

Along with that, Google searches for the phrase “how to get your brain to focus” have skyrocketed increasing 300% since the month of February. 

So, don’t beat yourself up if you’re not performing at your best. Your struggle to be focused and productive is completely normal, and you’re not at fault for this. 

According to Amy Arnsten, a neuroscience professor at Yale, when we experience continuous stress and uncertainty, the prefrontal cortex in our brain — which helps us focus and think rationally — shuts down in order to power the more reactive, impulsive areas that protect us in times of danger. Because of this, we’re not able to operate at our full capacity. 

This switch unfortunately is also what’s negatively affecting our decision-making ability and driving our regression to unhealthy habits and behaviors. 

That’s why the most effective way to counteract these negative effects is to be proactive about stress management and take good care of our mental health. We must accept the fact that we’re humans after all, not programmed machines, and the best step that we can all take to move forward is to prioritize holistic wellness. 

We can’t change our human brains, but we can cultivate positive habits, practice daily disciplines and create healthy boundaries that ground us and help us thrive as we navigate these uncertain terrains. 

It’s time to look at self-care and our individual wellness as a necessity, not a privilege. It’s crucial that we participate in our own rescue if we want to emerge as our most focused and productive selves on the other side.