1. Chew gum. According to a recent study, chewing gum improves memory by increasing blood flow to the relevant brain regions.
2. Or chew on a plastic stirrer. I don’t like gum, but I find that keeping one of those plastic coffee stirrers in my mouth really helps me concentrate. Maybe it’s just a placebo effect, but who cares?
3. Take a break. Studies show that due to the “reminiscence effect,” people work and study more efficiently when they take a ten-minute break each hour.
4. Drink caffeine. Caffeine sometimes gets a bad rap, but it does make you more alert and energetic, and reduces distractability. (Plus, if you’re drinking enough liquid, you have to take a break every hour — to go to the bathroom.)
5. Clear off part of your desk. It doesn’t need to be perfectly tidy, but having a patch of bare surface helps focus your mind.
6. Exercise. Exercise wakes up the brain, plus I find that if I don’t exercise regularly, I can’t sit still at my desk.
7. Locate your office supplies. Having the tools that you need at hand — the stapler, the memo pad, the pen — means that you won’t lose your chain of thought while you’re rifling through your desk.
8. Get enough sleep. Enough said.