Dopamine dosers to your rescue!
Brain chemicals called neurotransmitters play a key role in concentration and focusing. One of these neurotransmitters is dopamine – the major chemical that regulates focus, motor movements and feelings of pleasure.
You can use some clever tricks to capitalize on and “control” the dopamine system in your body. Here are three quick ways to get your brain to “dose you with dopamine” and increase your ability to pay attention and concentrate!
Desk-top Dopamine Dosers
Hate to file? Maybe you’d rather pay bills!
Seriously, though…whenever you’re faced with a task and find yourself “drifting off” for some reason, you can get your brain chemistry working for you, not against you! You can quickly stimulate your brain to release doses of the most important brain chemical for focusing – dopamine.
Try some of these dopamine dosers to get your brain ready to tackle “tedious” desk-top chores such as filing, bill paying and report writing.
Set out objects in your workspace that are attractive or have personal meaning for you – such as pictures of your family, colorful containers and pens and snow globes. Wear your favorite color clothing or jewelry or wear something that is special to you in some way.
Be sure to look at your dopamine dosers frequently throughout the day to help you stay happy and focused! For example, right now I’m looking at this beautiful glittery bracelet that’s on my desk.
You may have a couple of questions, such as, “How long does that jolt of added focus last?” and, “How often do I need to use that strategy to stay focused?”
The things that hold the most meaning for you – for example pictures of cherished loved ones, will trigger a useful jolt of dopamine in less than 30 seconds – so that’s a really quick acting strategy! The downside however is that the effects are relatively short-lasting, so you’ll need to “dopamine dose” at regular intervals.
Dopamine dosers don’t “pack the punch” of the most powerful dopamine regulators (diet, exercise, sleep, prescription medication), so you will need to use them more often during the day. Think of them as “little snacks” rather than “full meals.”
The benefits, though are: the focusing effects will begin very quickly, there’s no cost to use them, they are handy, and you can use them anytime you want, day or night, rain or shine!
Surprise! Wake up Brain!
Try this strategy when you need to focus for long periods or when you need to concentrate deeply, such as comprehending difficult reading material or paying close attention to details.
This strategy relies on your brain’s tendency to “revive” through novelty and surprise. First of all, gather together pictures and items that appeal to you. The following “surprise gifts” work particularly well – pictures of your spouse or child, objects that symbolize success in your life, words or sayings that motivate you to excel, pictures of favorite vacation spots, photos that capture meaningful experiences in your life.
The second step is to “hide” them in “random” places, for example in the book you are reading, in the desk drawers, or underneath something you’ll be using during the task. As you “come upon” these jewels of pleasurable inspiration while completing the task, you’ll receive a boost in brain stimulation, energy and focus.
Sticker Art Motivation Tip
Try this ingenious system to increase your motivation to complete “boring or unpleasant” tasks. Instead of using an electronic organizer, schedule the tasks in an agenda book or calendar. You may find – just as many other people do – that the physical act of writing down tasks improves your memory of the need to complete the tasks, and increases your follow through.
Instead of just crossing the tasks off of your “to do” list, you can make completing the task more pleasurable by giving yourself a little “reward” when you finish.
Buy some cute stickers in interesting shapes and colors. Reward yourself by placing a pretty sticker in your agenda right next to the location where the task is written. You’ll have a visual reminder of your success and create a work of art in the process! You can take it a step further and reward yourself with something special when you earn enough stickers! Win-win!
Instead of stickers, you can use colorful highlighters or gel pens to cross off your completed tasks. Let your creative spark come out! The benefit of using a management strategy for your “to do” list that is fun is the dose of dopamine you’ll generate – at your command! And you’ll not only focus better because of the added “hit” of dopamine, you’ll have a better time too.
Oh, and if you want more tips along this line, you can download my guide FOCUS Strategies for Women with ADHD, A Proven System to Stay Attentive, on Target and in Control.