How to Stay Focused when Spring Fever Kicks In

If you’ve heard of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), you might associate it with those dark, cold winter months. However, while less common, SAD can occur in the spring as well, with symptoms like restlessness, anxiety, depression, insomnia, agitation or limited attention span. Also known by its more colloquial name, spring fever, this form of SAD can pose a threat to your concentration and productivity at work.

How to Stay Focused when Spring Fever Kicks In

Combat spring fever for a better productivity at work

If you feel restless or agitated this time of year, it’s often hard to focus on completing tasks and meeting deadlines. In spite of these distractions, you can remain focused even at the peak of the spring fever. Here are some action steps to help you do just that.

Expose yourself to plenty of sunlight

Direct exposure to natural sunlight can enhance numerous aspects of cognitive function. The vitamin D in sunlight can help to release serotonin in your bloodstream which elevates mood, regulates circadian rhythm, and stimulates energy, suggests Frontiers in Psychology. All of these benefits make it easier to concentrate for longer periods of time.

To harness the sun’s benefits, place your desk near a window where the natural light can enter the room. If you want to prevent a glare on your workspace or computer screen, install light-filtering shades which will soften the brightness.

If possible, you can also move throughout your office or home during the day. This is another way to help yourself from feeling restless when working from one spot all day long.

Take breaks to move or stretch

Research shows that acute bouts of movement can boost your concentration for as long as an hour, even if it’s just a 20-minute walk outside, explains Dr. Simon Cooper, associate professor of exercise, cognition, and health at Nottingham Trent University.

One potential reason for this is the increased circulation in the brain during exercise, which improves alertness and boosts your mood. Luckily, this is an easy task to add to your to-do list. Simply block out time in your schedule to move and stretch for short bouts. Set a timer on your phone or plan to move for at least five minutes between each task.

During your break, you can walk around your office or neighborhood. You could also challenge your muscles with some pushups, lunges, ski jumps, or squats near your desk, or calm down with a short 5-minute yoga flow. Whatever it takes to activate blood flow to the brain and makes you feel good.

Remove clutter from your desk and office space

Since the brain thrives on order, if your workspace is unorganized, the brain will interpret this as chaos. As a result, you increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol, according to a report in The New York Times.

This elevated stress response leads to distractions and ultimately procrastination from work. To avoid it and improve focus, spring clean your office. Here are a few ways to declutter:

  • Remove the unnecessary clutter from your digital desktop
  • Organize documents in your cloud storage accounts, on your computer, and at your desk
  • Clean your physical office space
  • Avoid working in areas where you can see a pile of laundry or dirty dishes

The cleaner your work area is, the easier it is for you to think clearly and productively.

Add green elements to your work environment

The colors in your workspace can impact cognitive function, and in human psychology, shades of green are associated with concentration, according to research from the University of Texas. Exposure to green elements can promote:

  • Emotional regulation
  • A sense of calm
  • Efficiency
  • Retention skills

To enjoy this mental boost during the spring, fill your office with green accents with small but simple changes, like:

  • Adding indoor plants
  • Hanging pictures of natural green spaces on the wall
  • Decorating with green furniture or desktop items
  • Sitting near a window where you can see greenery outside

The way you use colors in your workplace matters not only for aesthetic reasons, but also because it can improve your work performance. Thus, boost productivity with colors.

Stay focused despite spring fever

With the onset of spring fever often comes the challenge of staying focused. If your mind is restless, anxious, or overstimulated this time of year, use these productivity hacks to calm the agitation, limit the distractions, and improve concentration.

With a few simple changes you’ll be feeling calmer and more focused now and all year round.

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