How to focus when your mind is somewhere else

Ever find yourself in a situation where you get to work after a crazy morning, and just can’t seem to snap out of your brain fog?

Here are a few tips for getting back on track mentally when your mind is somewhere else.

Use mindfulness to your advantage

A little mindfulness can go a long way, so buckle up and get calm when you really feel your mind wandering.

Rasmus Hougaard, M.A., founder/managing director of Potential Project, and Jacqueline Carter, M.Sc., partner and the North American Director of Potential Project, write in the Harvard Business Review about the benefits of mindfulness for leaders in the workplace.

“As part of the research for our forthcoming book, The Mind of the Leader, we surveyed more than 1,000 leaders who indicated that a more mindful presence is the optimal strategy to engage their people, create better connections, and improve performance.”

Hougaard and Carter are also the co-authors of the book One Second Ahead: Enhancing Performance at Work with Mindfulness.

Don’t forget to take a break

Sometimes, it can feel like it’s a lot easier to sit around and wait for yourself to feel better instead of putting the wheels in motion by getting up, but that’s not always a great idea. In fact, you might even feel more tired and bogged down emotionally.

But taking a break and going for a brisk walk outside, or using your lunch break to finally get away from your desk might be a big help.

Changing your surroundings can help change your frame of mind, and remind you that the world is a lot bigger than just you alone.

Listen to a podcast or audiobook

Pew Research recently found that 18% of American adults said they have tuned into an audiobook over the last 12 months — so why not join them?

You might just find that tuning into a good discussion or story (often for free) can take your mind to some creative places when you’re in a rut. There’s nothing like listening to something with the capacity to make you laugh, cry or wonder out loud when you’re having trouble getting your mind off of what’s going on in your life outside of the office.

Part of the beauty of listening to podcasts and audiobooks is that you can learn while working — without having to spend a lot of time looking at your phone screen instead of your laptop.