By: Wieke von Scheidt
Why do people have trouble staying focused?
Staying focused eight hours straight every day is a goal that most people strive for, but no matter how hard we try, it is impossible. Why? Experts say that the average attention span in adults is between 20 and 40 minutes.
Even though our preferred goal is to stay focused for eight full hours a day, our brain is not developed to function that way. The opposite often occurs when we try to stay on task for a long period of time – that is, we get easier distracted. Market research firm uSamp found that 53% of people waste at least one hour a day due to all types of distractions. Collaboration tools that are supposed to increase productivity at work, continuous noises, overflowing email inboxes and the frequent feeling of being fatigued, let our minds keep wandering off.
In addition to the loss of hours, our body takes a toll when trying to work without proper breaks. People often turn to coffee to keep from getting tired, this can lead to sleep insomnia. According to the National Institutes of Health, 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders. In order to function properly adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each day. Many don’t get the necessary amount of sleep needed and it starts affecting their concentration. So, what can you do to maintain the level of concentration you need to get all your work done?
Studies show that taking frequent breaks helps to increase focus and productivity tremendously. Many employees don’t take enough breaks during the day, some don’t even take any at all but that doesn’t seem to increase the amount of work they get done. People that don’t take breaks tend to get distracted easier than people who break frequently.
Draugiem Group, a social networking company based in Latvia has demonstrated this by using an app called DeskTime. Employees were to work for 52 minutes and then take a 17 minute break. During this break employees did things completely unrelated to work and without the use of electronics, like going for a walk, chatting with co-workers, or reading a book.
The problem is that many fear to appear lazy or unproductive. It is important that employers support this method and show their employees that it is ok to take these breaks. In the end the whole organization will benefit from this approach.
If you have the ability to exercise during your breaks, do so. It’s been proven that moving around will increase concentration levels – even if you just go for a walk outside. Dr. John J. Ratey a clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School explained how a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is released, which plays a role in the improvement of cognitive health. The image below shows best the level of activity in the brain of a person in a serenity state versus a person who has been active for 20 minutes.
In addition to what happens in the brain, exercising regularly benefits the whole body – leading to lower health risks.
The Right Nutrition
Nutrition can make a significant difference on concentration capacity, especially when consumed at the right timing. A study by the International Labor Office shows poor diet can impact up to 20% of work productivity. It is very common that office cafeterias don’t offer a balanced meal selection. In other cases employees only have 30 minutes and run to the next Fast Food restaurant. Some may underestimate the importance of the right nutrition and their connection to mental and physical functions. Of all nutrients water is probably the most important; studies have shown that not drinking enough water will not only dehydrate your body but also decrease your level of focus and short-term memory. Other foods that increase energy and concentration include blueberries, fish, avocado, green tea, and dark chocolate.
Make a To-Do List
Making a to-do list is one of the most effective ways to get work done and stay on tasks. However, many seem to struggle creating a list and following it. There are too many distractions during the day that keep us from staying focused. Making a list will not only help you stay organized but also help finish the work you intended to do. Here are a few tips on how to write and follow the to-do list effectively.
Write Your to do list the night before
Writing your to-do list the night before will save you time and energy, which you will need in the morning to be most productive.
Get out your calendar
Take a look at your calendar, check appointments that are coming and determine what you need to for these meetings.
Make a random list of all the things you have to get done and then prioritize, listing the most important tasks first.
Check your emails
Check your email inbox when you arrive at work. Set a timeframe, like 30 minutes to read and respond to emails. After that don’t check it again for at least an hour or until you finished the first important task on your to-do list. Checking our email inbox is one of the most distracting things that keep us from focusing. As soon as we open our inbox we see an important email and feel the need to respond to it. Before we know it we will respond to the next, and the next, and the next, until we forget what we were actually concentrating on.
Set a Realistic Time
Setting a realistic timeframe is often difficult; people underestimate the time they really need to finish a task. So, be realistic and add an extra 30 minutes if you are unsure. It is better to have more time than to feel rushed. The same applies to emails, decide on how often you want to check your emails and set aside a certain time to respond to them.
The end of the day
Before you leave go over your to-do list and make sure you finished everything. Then start your new list for the following day.
Especially in the afternoon people tend to get groggy and crash easily. If that’s the case you should try Clarex. Compared to caffeine containing beverages it will keep you focused without the crash effect. If you do prefer to drink coffee you should try to drink it in the morning only. Generally, caffeine stays in your system for about 5 to 6 hours before it starts to wear off. Drinking coffee early in the day will decrease the chance of insomnia later on at night. Clarex will also help prevent caffeine jitters that tend to plague many coffee consumers.
Overall people’s ability to stay focused is limited. Scientists have proven that the human brain can only concentrate for a short period of time like up to 52 minutes. It is just a matter of us learning how to be more productive by taking frequent breaks, moving around, staying organized, making lists etc. There are many ways one can return to a good level of focus and the ones above are only a few.
Request a Sponsorship for Free!
Clarex excitedly travels around the country supporting, cheering for, and engaging with YOU in a wide variety of events. Whether you’re a competitive athlete, a lover of sports, at a music festival, or even at a beer garden, we’d love to come down and hook you up with our gear and product. If you’re interested in our sponsorship, feel free to send a request here: firstname.lastname@example.org
What events do we sponsor?
Clarex is ideal for post-athletic, or post celebratory recovery. For the athletes out there: Clarex loves to help runners, walkers, bikers, swimmers and anyone else who wants to stay healthy. If enjoying the sun with a beer in your hand or dancing to your favorite band is more your style, we’re here to help, too! Either way, Clarex will get you back to 100% so you’re ready to tackle the next day!
What do you get?
Clarex is happy to provide FREE product in order to make sure you and your friends stay healthy, while still having a blast. If gear is what you’re looking for, we’re happy sell you t-shirts, hats, or water bottles upon request. Please note that Clarex does not pay sponsorship fees.
How do I request a sponsorship?
It’s easy! Just send us an email here: email@example.com
How much product do we bring?
We will provide our recovery formula based on the event and the number of people we sponsor. We will ensure that you, your team and friends will have enough Clarex to help you get back to 100%.
Click here and get 25% off your first order when you get a monthly subscription. What better way to start the Summer?!
By Stephanie Slicis
As any student or former student knows, it can be difficult to stay on task in class. Distractions could be caused by learning a hard topic, monotone teacher, or even the pretty bird right outside the window. We’ve all been there, don’t deny it.
However long you are distracted for, you will miss something that could be fundamental. One second off task could create one confusing hour of trying to catch up. Here are some tips that will help you stay focused no matter how many birds are outside your window.
- Be Well Rested
I know, I know, you have heard this advice countless times, but it needs to be reiterated. Our schedules are constantly busy and it seems like sleep is the first thing we sacrifice to get our other tasks done.
Planning your day ahead of time will allow you to arrange making time for sleep. If some of the things on your agenda do not get accomplished, evaluate how crucial it is to get them done that day. Can it be done tomorrow? If so, pour yourself a relaxing cup of decaf tea and then head off to bed.
- Be Energized
Yes, this can be done by getting more sleep, but it also involves preparing your body for the day. Make sure to have a full breakfast or lunch before your classes to ensure that you are storing energy.
I would not recommend going to the local coffee shop on or off campus before class. The caffeine can become addictive, which will cause you to consume more just to get you through the day. Another negative about coffee is the countless bathroom trips you might have to take. More trips outside the classroom create more important information missed.
I would however recommend finding an alternative method to get energy through vitamins and dietary supplements. CLAREX is the perfect choice in this case because it is an all-natural supplement that sustains your energy all day. It also formulated to keep your brain focused in alert.
- Be Engaged
Remaining involved in the discussion will not only increase your understanding, but it will keep you focused. Answer or asking questions, reading along, and even just nodding your head toward your instructor will increase your productivity.
Idle time is when your mind can wander and lead you off course. One minute your are listening attentively, and then you begin to think about your other work you have due, or what you are going to wear this weekend. Remain in the conversation and the topic at hand, so you don’t allow idol time.
- Be Prepared
Every class length is different, and some might be over two hours long. A lot can happen in a two hour span, and you need to be prepared so that you can stay focused. I always make sure that I have a snack in my bag in case I get hungry. There is nothing worse than being hungry in class and being insanely jealous of the girl two rows in front of you that happily snacks away on her various treats. Packing your own snack will ensure that you stay active in class, instead of imagining what her food tastes like.
Your bag also needs to be appropriately packed for class. I always recommend to bring more than one writing utensil and to always have highlighters. Notes are fundamental to doing well in a class, and you do not want to miss any because your pen broke, or you forgot to highlight the important section.
Just recently, presented at the Radiological Society of North America, German researchers were able to image increased cardiac motility 1 hour after test subjects consumed popular energy drinks. The drinks contained 400 mg taurine and as much as caffeine as up to two cups of coffee. The increased cardiac motility is not surprising, given that caffeine itself can lead to irregular heartbeats and palpitations. What this does confirm however, is that physically, the heart works harder, specifically 6% harder after drinking energy drinks, according to Dr. Jonas Doerner with the University of Bonn, Germany. Increased heart contractility in those with underlying cardiac issues would be more prone to potentially adverse effects. In recent years, there has been a series of deaths and emergency events associated with the consumption of these caffeine and taurine-based energy drinks. What is surprising from this study is that a control group, just utilizing caffeine at the same dose, did not show increased cardiac contractility. This potentially shows that the potential synergistic effects of caffeine, taurine, and potentially sugar can lead to amplified effects, which can affect heart function.
Here’s my advice on how to stay focused without energy drinks:
- First, minimize your sugar intake. Refine sugar can have a deleterious effect on your body.
- Second, stay up to date on the latest studies of what you eat or drink. Science and medicine have a certain truth to it. If more than a few research studies have shown certain things, it is starting to look like it may be real.
- Third, go stimulant-free. Caffeine acts on your neuroreceptors, which get saturated over time. That is why over time you need more of it for it to work. Going stimulant free and choosing a judicious supplement program allows you to go for the long haul.
Stay focused and be well.
By Eugene Y. Chan, M.D.
Recent news about tragic death of Anais Fournier hit the web. She was 14 and she died after consuming two 24-ounce Monster Energy drinks over a 24-hour period. She had an underlying heart arrhythmia that may have predisposed her to the adverse effects of caffeine.
Caffeine is a small molecule alkaloid that is found in many different types of plants. It has a receptor-based mechanism of action that antagonizes the action of adenosine. In clinical medicine, adenosine is sometimes utilized to treat certain irregular heartbeats, including some supraventricular tachycardias. Decreasing the action of adenosine can therefore lead to a faster heart rate and can also predispose the heart to irregular heartbeats. In the case of the very unfortunate 14-year old, she consumed caffeine which decreased action of the adenosine, thus increasing her likelihood of a fatal arrhythmia.
How much is too much? One may say, “Let us calculate the lethal dose.” The LD50, or lethal dose for killing 50% of tested animals, for rats is 192 mg/kg. Extrapolating this to a 14-year old weighing 50 kg, this LD50 is 9.6 grams of caffeine. Of course, these studies were not conducted in humans so this is only a ballpark estimate. In a typical energy drink, there is approximately 200 – 300 mg of caffeine, although in some energy drinks, the actual amount is unclear, based on how the products are labeled. We can assume that Anais probably consumed < 1 gram of caffeine from her two energy drinks, yet this was a fatal dose for her. What the LD50 calculation is missing is both an understanding of both statistics as well as pharmacogenomics. Statistics tells us that some individuals may very well have adverse events at a much lower dose of caffeine. Part of this is based on a genetic makeup and how we react to certain molecules. This is called pharmacogenomics. In the case of Anais, she likely had a genetic cause of her underlying cardiac arrhythmia. She may very well have been a slow metabolizer of caffeine, also based on her genetic makeup, leading this molecule to linger in her system much longer than that of her counterparts. Without a whole genome study, of course, we would never know.
Overall, the lesson here is that receptor-based molecules, such as caffeine, can be extremely dangerous, depending on the specifics of your medical and genetic background. For most people it may be fine, for others, it can unfortunately take push you over the threshold of safety.
By Eugene Y. Chan, MD
Somewhere around 3 AM in the morning at the Massachusetts General Hospital one day, I remember a particular instance of having to draw blood from a very ill patient. By that time, I had already worked for 20 hours straight, with my beeper ringing every few minutes. What is so urgent that requires a blood draw at this hour? I looked at the patient’s medical record and saw a history of HIV and HCV. This patient was in renal and liver failure. I looked for a suitable vein in the antecubital fossa but could not find any. I look elsewhere on the arm, but still no. My eyes were feeling heavy from my day and also staring closely in the dark to look for a thin blue vein that I could target. Finally, I found a potential vein, on the dorsal surface of the foot. It was so thin and collapsed, but it was my only hope. I knew that if I were not careful, I could indeed inadvertently stick myself, which could put me at risk for both HIV and HCV. I also knew that I did not draw the patient’s blood, she would have a high likelihood of not making it through the night. It is in times like this, where if your mind wanders, even for a brief moment, the outcome would be highly undesirable. This is when you need mental clarity, this is when you need that moment of unwavering focus. Have you been in a circumstance like this? Maybe not treating a patient, but interviewing for a most coveted job, giving the most important sales presentation, or pushing yourself to win that race? Fortunately, the outcome that morning was positive, the important medical tests were highly informative for the course of her care and the patient made it through the night. There are situations like that that arise often, and often unexpected, and you have to be prepared to make those yours. Stay focused and be at your best, always.
Clarex was all over the place this past weekend. We were at the Whole Foods in Cambridge and Newton, cheering on bicycle riders as they began a trip from Boston to Raleigh, handing out samples with HubHelmet and even at Fenway Park! Clarex was stocked on the shelves, and great times were had by all.
The day began as early as 8 for our Street Team, who were up bright and early to attend the The Pablove Foundation’s long-distance bike ride.It funds pediatric cancer research and programs to improve the quality of life for children living with cancer.The 1000-mile bike ride from Boston to Raleigh began with a nice breakfast for riders, family, and supporters to chat and enjoy at the Whole Foods on Prospect St. in Cambridge. Not to mention we had our team there handing out samples and taking photos of the event, which you can view here. The kickoff also had another perk for Clarex-our product was officially on the shelves! What an accomplishment! So be sure to visit the Whole Foods on Prospect St. to buy Clarex directly along with your other groceries.
Meanwhile, Captain Clarex was at the Whole Foods in Newton, setting up his demo. Clarex is also now sold at the Whole Foods in Newton, and many people got to learn about eliminating mental limits with Clarex. There were trial sizes to test out, and the product being sold right there in the store for those who wanted to continue to increase their focus. After all, Clarex is all natural and caffeine-free!
We also had some samples to give away with HubHelmet, a new service that allows Hubway users access to helmets for safe riding. Be sure to look out for HubHelmet available with all Hubway stations soon! Clarex was a big hit, and it’s great for bike riding so you can focus more on your ride and enjoy it.
Clarex was also at Fenway Park this Saturday as well! After attending teh Pablove Foundation’s kickoff event, Team Clarex attended College Day @ Fenway. where lots of college students received samples. Everyone there had a fantastic time, especially our street team members who got to pose with the World Series trophies! Check out the photos here.
And to think this is just the beginning! Keep on the lookout for Clarex on our Facebook page to learn where we will be next. Comment with any suggestions or feedback-we love to hear from our fans!
Welcome to the Clarity Corner! I’m Eric Ballener, and a daily Clarex user. As a fitness enthusiast, my background includes ISSA, ACE, NFPT certified, certified personal trainer, former NPC competitor, and a Pre-Contest Prep Coach. I’ll be posting regularly with all things fitness, so check back often! Feel free to comment with any questions to answer in future posts.
What we do before we work out can be just as important as any exercise we do during our workout. Pre-workout preparation has been studied, dissected, and argued about since before Arnold lifted his first barbell. .Let me back up here for a second, we’re not just talking about the gym rats. (You know who you are, because I’m one too!) I’m talking about the triathlete, the cyclist, the runner, the CrossFit enthusiasts, the powerlifter, and even the bodybuilder. We are all familiar with the term “muscle memory.” Muscle memory has been used along simultaneously with motor learning, which is a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition.
In other words, every Monday, we wake up thinking today is chest day and our mind prepares our body for the trauma that it will endure during a typical workout. We have all been there. We take the thermogenic gotten the jitters the heart palpations the sweats but what did we really accomplish? We have once again attacked our receptor sites and overstimulated our adrenal glands. Through the use of Clarex, I have personally found a new form of laser focus while in the gym. Though I still enjoy my heavily caffeinated and synephrine based pre-workout RTD, I have now added Clarex as a complement to my regimen.
This is where “The Intelligent Workout” begins. I take my Clarex with my thermo 30-45 minutes pre-workout. The most profound and lasting impact of Clarex on my workout is found in the level of clarity that did not exist before, I no longer find myself asking what exercise is next. Rather, I find myself with that feeling of complete focus and concentration.
As a result, my workouts have become more intense, and shorter in duration. Let me reiterate. CLAREX IS NOT A THERMOGENIC! Clarex is a stimulant-free complement to any pre-workout regimen. Clarex, when taken as directed, can help you get the most out of every workout no matter what hurdles life has thrown at you before you step through the gym doors. So try Clarex today, “Eliminate YOUR Mental Limits” and unlock your body’s full potential with no side effects and no crash.
Clarex is excited to introduce the newest member of Team Clarex! Her name is Jean Tessicini-Civello and she will be acting as our marketing liaison beginning 10/8. Jean is the single mother of two boys, and an active fitness enthusiast and triathlete. We’re very lucky to have Jean as a welcome addition to Team Clarex!