There are a variety of reasons why you might be struggling to concentrate during the day  at work. You may be dehydrated. You may not be getting enough sleep, enough key nutrients or may be hypoglycaemic. Heck, maybe your job is just boring. We take a look at 6 common reasons you might be struggling to concentrate.

1. Alcohol

Even if you don’t actually feel hung over, those few drinks you had last night may be part of the reason you cannot concentrate. Alcohol can impair your ability to get a good night’s sleep, and fatigue can make it difficult to concentrate. Additionally, even minor hangovers can impair proper brain function. Long term alcohol abuse can have a serious detrimental effect on your overall brain function.

TIP: Limit your daily alcohol intake to comply with Australian alcohol intake guidelines.

 

2. Vitamin B Deficiency

B Vitamins help your body convert food into energy. They also help you metabolise fats and proteins. All of this means adequate intake of B Vitamins means greater ability to get the most out of your food, and more fuel for mental focus. 

TIP: Seafoods, red meats and eggs are all good sources of B-Vitamins, but for those who really want to make sure they have enough B vitamins, a good Vitamin B Complex supplement may be beneficial.

 

3. Stress

Stress, up to a point, can help concentration – it provides additional motivation and urgency to finish a task. However, excessive stress can have the opposite effect. Having too many competing priorities disrupts your concentration and can also lead to forgetfulness.

TIP: Use relaxation methods and a healthy, active lifestyle to reduce the mental effects of stressful situations at home or work.

 

4. Multi-Tasking

Checking your emails every 5 minutes? Taking phone calls every half hour? Checking Instagram every other opportunity?

Multitasking is a fine art, but it can actually hurt your ability to concentrate on larger, more complicated tasks. If you are continually skipping from one small, mindless activity to the next, your brain starts to work in ways to accommodate that behaviour. This leads to an inability to focus on larger, more complicated tasks.

TIP: check email once in the morning, once at lunch and once of an afternoon. Same goes with your phone. Leave social media for after office hours. When you have to focus on complicated tasks, remove the risk of interruptions / ask your co-workers not to disturb you.

 

5. Boredom / Lack of Challenge

Novel tasks stimulate the brain. Boring, mundane tasks can actually do the opposite in the short term. There are numerous studies that show that having a variety of tasks to perform throughout the day leads to higher productivity, greater worker satisfaction and higher productivity when compared with doing the same, repetitive tasks each day.

TIP: try to find a way to make boring tasks less mundane by adding a time limit or performance measure. Alternatively, you may need to explore other career options.

 

6. Low Omega-3 levels

Low omega-3 levels have been linked to a variety of mental, learning and cognitive difficulties in a range of people. One particular type of omega-3 called ‘DHA’ (docosahexaenoic acid) has been shown to be of benefit in helping people affected by autism and ADHD to improve mental performance. Some research also shows low omega-3 levels have also been linked to difficulties in reading, numeracy, concentration and memory. Increasing DHA levels in these studies lead to a small increase in cognitive performance.

TIP: try to eat slamon, tuna or mackerel 3 times a week to get enough omega-3 DHA. Alternatively, you may benefit from trying a supplement rich in DHA to help boost overall brain function.

 

Final Note

We have listed some common reasons that you may be having trouble concentrating. There are numerous other reasons why you might not be able to concentrate at work. Whilst we all inevitably find ourselves feeling a bit disengaged from our jobs at times, if your work is being adversely effected, you should see your healthcare professional for a more in-depth diagnosis.

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This article was provided by our online partner, Health365. For more information on learning, memory and cognitive function, visit www.health365.com.au.