You can have all the talent in the world—but if you can’t focus on the tasks in front of you, there’s a good chance you’ll fall short of your professional and personal goals.

In this blog, New York’s cognitive brain training experts will give you a few tips for enhancing your focus and mental clarity so you can work harder and perform better than ever before.

Start your day with some exercise.

You don’t have to spend three hours on the treadmill or in the weightroom to increase your focus and mental clarity. All it takes is 20 or 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise to increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain and keep your mind sharp. While some people prefer to exercise after getting their work done, early morning exercise is a great way to wake your mind up and produce an endorphin rush that will leave you feeling happy and willing to get some work done.

Get a good night of sleep.

This tip is the precursor to every tip that follows. Without a solid amount of sleep, there’s no way your mind will be focused and productive. There are many scientific studies which state that sleep deprivation can cause declined cognitive performance, poor memory, a shortened or impaired attention span, and decreased learning permanence—the opposite of what you need to be your most focused and productive self. Get your eight hours of sleep, and ensure that your mind works as clearly as possible.

Prepare your mind.

Just like an athlete would warm up before a big game, you should always warm up your mind before entering a state of focus and productivity. Start by sitting down in your workspace and taking a few deep breaths, setting aside some of the clutter and chaos that often invades your mind. Next, think about the tasks you are about to perform. Think about what you’re going to do, how you’re going to get it done, and why you’re doing it in the first place. Finally, don’t forget to take your tasks one step at a time, which will help you avoid the frustration that can be caused by larger, more complex projects.

Grab a cup of coffee.

A little caffeine can go a long way when it comes to improving your energy, focus, and mental clarity, and could be just the thing to need to jumpstart your mind and body for the task at hand. However, caffeinated beverages fit under the Law of Diminishing Returns—in other words, more caffeine doesn’t lead to more focus. In fact, too much caffeine can tank your energy levels and leave you feeling edgy and scatterbrained (but you already knew that from experience).

Grab a cup of coffee to get your task started, and chase that coffee with some water. You’ll feel healthy and energized, and you won’t run the risk of experiencing a dreaded caffeine crash.

Create an environment that helps you focus.

There are tons of people who want to watch less TV—so they try a wide variety of methods to keep themselves from spending time in front of the tube. They distract themselves with other activities, put the remote in a faraway closet, or “limit” their TV watching to an hour every day. Unfortunately, these people will gradually slide back into their old habits, searing their eyeballs in front of the television for hours on end (or until they fall asleep on the couch). So what gives? Why can’t these people ditch their bad habits for good?
The answer is simple: they never get rid of the television. Do you think someone who’s trying to quit smoking keeps a pack around, you know, just in case? It’s like they expect themselves to fail. The only way to remove something negative from your life is to, well, literally remove it from your life.

Strengthening your focus and mental clarity works the exact same way. Your workspace should be clear of anything that could distract you from the task at hand—we’re talking about that Facebook tab you left open under your spreadsheet, the colorful knick knacks all over your desk, and yes—the endless pile of snacks in your desk drawer.

Don’t torture and tempt yourself by keeping distractions within arm’s reach—it’s time to remove them from the picture altogether and gain a better grasp on focus and mental clarity.

Take some breaks.

Even the most focused of minds can only handle so much work—that’s why it’s important to take plenty of breaks to get through the task you’re trying to tackle. Breaks are a great way to refresh your mind, and they can help you get past obstacles in your work. Sometimes, it can be easy to think a problem to death—by taking a break, you’re letting your mind recharge and allowing yourself to look at the problem with a different perspective when your return. Plus, you have to go to the bathroom and eat lunch at some point.

Try cognitive brain training.

Sometimes, the best way to improve your focus is to set your brain up for success—to train your brain to be better and stronger than it was before. That’s where Brainnasium can help. Our cognitive brain training sessions can improve your mental clarity, enhance your sense of well-being, and leave you ready to take on any task that ends up on your plate. Get started with Brainnasium today!