How Can I Improve My Memory and Focus? | Iris Reading
How Can I Improve My Memory and Focus

How Can I Improve My Memory and Focus?

How Can I Improve My Memory and Focus

You can achieve better memory and focus by avoiding distractions, getting sufficient sleep, and eating healthily. It’ll also help to reduce multitasking, take breaks, and practice mindfulness meditation. But there’s more. 

Focusing or concentrating is directly related to retaining and recalling things (memory). If you don’t pay full attention to something, comprehension will not be optimal. And that affects the information that the brain encodes.

But achieving full focus on tasks is easier said than done. It is easy for attention to wander to unrelated things, leading to poor comprehension, poor memory function, and low productivity.

It’s for this reason that this article is timely.

We’ll reveal practical ways to improve your focus and memory.

Read on!

How can I improve focus?

Some of the ways to improve focus are:

  • Limit distractions
  • Get sufficient sleep
  • Eat healthily
  • Reduce multitasking
  • Take short breaks
  • Practice mindfulness meditation
  • Exercise regularly

Focusing is simply controlling your attention. It means paying attention to a particular thing, and not allowing the mind to wander.

Focusing or concentrating gives you full awareness of situations and good comprehension, which helps the short-term and long-term memory. 

1. Limit Distractions

By definition, a distraction is anything that prevents you from concentrating on something. So, you can improve focus and concentration by limiting distractions.

Let’s see different distractions and how to avoid or limit them.


Noise from the environment may break your concentration on a particular task. It can even raise the level of stress hormones, making it difficult to focus.

To avoid or limit noise towards improving focus, try the following:

  • Move to a quiet place
  • Close the door if you are in an enclosed working space
  • Where possible, use earphones
  • Place a “no loud talking” sign around 

Poor environment 

Poor working conditions, intense work dynamics, and clutter can cause mental stress and make it difficult to concentrate.

For example, a too hot or cold space may be discomforting, making it difficult to concentrate.

Tips to making your environment better for improved focus include:

  • Maintain proper ventilation and lighting
  • Declutter workspace 

Digital distraction 

Electronic devices and media can also break your concentration and make it difficult to focus afterward.

Even if you don’t need to operate your phone or computer, a simple notification temporarily breaks your attention.

Important tips to avoid/ limit digital distraction for improved focus include:

  • Turn off notifications on your phones when doing anything that requires full attention
  • Use the silent mode or do-not-disturb on your mobile phone more often
  • Set specific times for checking and replying to emails.

Psychological distractions 

Psychological distraction happens when your state of mind prevents you from concentrating on something.

It can happen because of depression, anxiety, excitement, losing a loved one, etc.

Some of the things that can help limit psychological distractions are:

  • Talk to someone (share your thoughts)
  • Get enough rest
  • Practice mindfulness (live in the now)

2. Get Sufficient Sleep 

Sleep deprivation lowers concentration and alertness. 

A few nights of inadequate sleep may be okay. But turning that into the norm will make it difficult for you to focus and pay attention. It’ll also make you less effective.

Some tips to boost your sleep towards having improved focus are:

Don’t take caffeinated beverages after lunchtime 

A cup of coffee will fire you up. However, when taken after lunch, it’ll disturb your body’s normal sleep cycle.

Keep away all electronic devices before bedtime 

The light from these devices could prevent you from falling asleep as fast as you should.

Soothe yourself to sleep

The faster you sleep, the more sleep you’ll get. So, when it’s bedtime, always do something to soothe yourself to sleep. For example, take a bath before hitting the bed, listen to soft music or read a book upon hitting the bed.

3. Eat healthily

Food affects your energy levels and mood, so eating nutritious foods is important for staying focused. We have to fuel our brains with the right nutrients.

How to use food to improve focus:

Hydrate the brain 

Eighty percent of the brain is water, and water provides the electrical energy required for all brain functions. Water is also needed to produce hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain.

So, always hydrate the brain by drinking enough water throughout the day. Research shows that this will help you stay focused longer and speed up response time. 

Eat healthy fats 

Our brain is the fattiest body organ, so it needs essential fatty acids. So, ensure that your diet includes healthy fats like omega-3s and omega-6s. 

Healthy fatty foods improve focus and concentration. Fish provides these healthy fats. The best fatty fishes are salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, etc.

Eat fruits 

Fruits are often described as nature’s candy (in reference to their sweetness). But fruits can also help improve your focus. 

For example, avocados are storehouses of healthy fats for improved concentration. Also, blueberries have antioxidants that stimulate blood and oxygen flow to the brain, keeping it fresh. As such, blueberries are some of the best fruits for improving focus. 

In fact, research shows that eating blueberries will boost concentration and memory for up to 5 hours after consumption. Thus, you may want to have a blueberry smoothie on hand.

Eat leafy greens 

Leafy green vegetables contain potassium which accelerates the connections between neurons in the brain. So, leafy greens will help improve your mental focus. The best greens for this are spinach, kale, and broccoli.

4. Reduce Multitasking

Multitasking leads to reduced concentration because the human brain is not wired to focus on more than one task at a time.

Multitasking is doing more than one thing at a time. It may make some feel productive. However, studies have shown that multitasking does the opposite – it reduces concentration and makes you less efficient.

Anytime you attempt to multitask, you rapidly switch focus back and forth between the tasks.

Sadly, such task-switching reduces concentration and productivity because of what psychologists call “task switch costs.”

When you switch from one task to the other, you interrupt the workflow in the first, and the brain will have to come up to speed on the second. That reduces your performance speed and accuracy.

To understand how bad multitasking is, think about driving while operating the phone. You can never pay full attention to either the driving or the business on the phone. So it endangers both your life and those of other road users.

5. Take short breaks

Humans are not wired to focus on a single task for prolonged periods. 

If you attempt doing this, you’ll notice that as time stretches, your focus will diminish. You’ll find it more difficult to devote your mental resources to the task, and your productivity will be affected.

So, one way to maintain maximum focus over a long period is to turn the single long period into many short ones by taking short breaks at intervals.

Every short break you take rests and recharges the brain. So, breaks help keep you focused when you return to the task.

However, there are tips to taking breaks that help focus. These include:

Schedule break times

Work breaks should be intentional and strategic. The only way to make it so is to add breaks when scheduling work. For example, schedule a 5-minute break after 30 minutes of work.

Always remember that if you don’t plan for breaks, you may not have them.

You may be tempted to press on and complete the task instead of “wasting” time on a break. However, remember that your focus and productivity will dwindle the longer you remain on a task.

Be careful to avoid break traps

Your break should be a temporary disconnect from the task so that your brain can recharge. It will be counterproductive if you spend the time tasking the brain even more. 

So, during your work break, be careful to avoid break traps like: having discussions about the task, checking the mail, searching the web, etc.

Take a short walk

As we’ll see, exercising is good for mental focus. You can incorporate little exercising into your work breaks by simply getting up to stretch and move around.

The movement will increase blood flow to your brain. It also takes you away from the task, both physically and mentally, providing the brain ample rest time.

6. Practice Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation slows down racing thoughts and calms your mind and body, making it a simple way to maintain focus.

It combines two practices – mindfulness and meditation.

Mindfulness is about focusing on the present, rather than looking back into the past or projecting into the future. 

Meditation is about developing a heightened state of focused awareness.

So mindfulness meditation is all about deep breathing and awareness of the body and mind. It trains you to slow down thoughts, let go of negativity, and fully focus on the present.

Some reasons why mindfulness meditation can help you focus include:

Interestingly, practicing mindfulness meditation is very easy. You can practice it on your own by:

  • Finding a comfortable place to meditate. Sit comfortably with your head, neck, and back straight
  • Focusing on your breathing. Take deep breaths and exhale slowly.
  • Mastering your thoughts. Learn to remain calm as different thoughts come and go by focusing attention on your breathing.

With mindfulness meditation, you’ll be able to shut off distracting thoughts, calm down, and use your breathing to bring your attention to the task at hand.

7. Exercise regularly

Exercising is one of the simplest ways to improve concentration and memory of people of all ages. 

One reason for this is that exercising improves mood. It stimulates the release of hormones like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin – feel-good neurotransmitters that lift your mood, focus, and attention.

Also, exercising improves the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain, making you feel more alert. It can build the brain’s ability to ignore distractions. Even moderate exercises can significantly increase your attention span.

What activities improve Memory?

Improving your ability to focus and concentrate improves comprehension, which affects retention and recall (memory). 

So, implementing the above pointers for improving focus will help improve your memory. 

That is:

  • Avoid distractions so that when required, you can pay full attention for full comprehension and easy recall
  • Get sufficient sleep so that your brain is recharged and primed to better process and comprehend information
  • Eat memory boosting food to supply the nutrients for optimal brain functions
  • Don’t multitask because that will divide your attention and affect your ability to retain information fully
  • Take breaks when you need concentration for long periods because attentiveness diminishes over a long period
  • Practice mindfulness to learn how to shut off distracting thoughts and to concentrate more for better retention and recall 
  • Exercise regularly to improve your mood and alertness

In addition to these 7-pointers, the following will help improve your memory:

1. Use mnemonics 

Mnemonics are some of the best memory-improving tools. They give some extra meaning to something that you’re likely to forget to make it more memorable and easier to remember.

There are different types of mnemonics that you can use to remember things. Some of these are:

  • Music mnemonics. Simply use the information you want to remember to compose a song or jingle. It is the same way children learn the alphabet using alphabet songs.
  • Name/ Acronym mnemonics. This involves making a word with the first letters of the list of items that you want to remember. A popular application of this mnemonics is using ROYGBIV to remember the colors of the spectrum (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet).
  • Visual mnemonics. This involves having a picture in your head and connecting that picture with the information you want to remember. For example, to remember the name John Horseley, you may as well picture a John Doe sitting on a horse.

2. Brain Training

Brain games are more than fun past-times as they can help cognition

Brain games stimulate and exercise the brain, which sharpens certain thinking skills. Because of the brain’s plasticity, you become better at the brain functions that the game is designed to sharpen. 

The brain training games that help memory include crossword puzzles, sudoku, chess, and checkers. Lots of app-based and video brain games are also available.

3. Take Memory Courses

Receiving guidance from a memory expert is one of the best ways to improve your memory.

Experts in the memory field fully understand how memory works and the challenges people face in their memory improvement journey. So, they develop specialized courses to help people improve their memory in record time.

And when it comes to experts that can help you in your memory improvement journey, Iris Reading is one of the most reputable you’ll find.

The Iris Reading Maximizing Memory course is helping thousands of students and professionals to improve their memory. People who take this course can remember what they read and memorize key information. 


Many things can get your attention to wander away from the important task at hand. But by taking the steps outlined above, you can master your attention to improve your focus and memory.

If you like it easier, you can get expert guidance from Iris Reading.

Using our Maximizing Memory course, we’ve helped thousands of people improve their memory. These include students in Ivy League schools like Harvard, Stanford, and Berkeley, as well as executives at NASA, Google, and many Fortune 500 companies. 

We can also help you in your self-improvement journey. Register for the tested and trusted Maximizing Memory course today.

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  • Egbebalo Erese

    Excellent piece! Extremely rich in content. Thank you for helping to develop others.