Improving your focus during poker sessions is one of the best ways to increase your win-rate. Here are some ways to sharpen your focus:
1. Minimize distractions
Make sure you keep your phone out of your way, because it’s probably the biggest distraction. Studies show that having your smartphone within sight, even if it’s switched off, has a negative effect on your focus, because part of your brain is working to not pick up or check the phone. It’s even worse if you get a notification or a message. It can throw you off your A-Game.
In order to minimize your distractions first you have to identify them. You can do this by writing them down on a piece of paper. This distractions can be anything, for example e-mail, Youtube, TV, instant messaging apps or even your cat. Before you start your poker session make sure none of the items from your list can influence your attention.
Studies show that having a clean working environment makes you a lot more productive compared to having a messy working environment that contains a lot of objects and files lying around. Therefore, if you want to play your A-Game, you should aim to remove as many objects as possible from your workspace.
It is proven that 30 minutes of exercise per day has positive benefits on your ability to focus. Regular physical activity increases your overall energy making you think clearer during your poker sessions. Also, thanks to the release of endorphins and serotonin your mood will be boosted, you will be able to ignore distractions and you will be more productive.
3. Practice mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness meditation in my opinion is one of the most underrated things you can do to sharpen your focus. It is extremely simple: take a seat or lay down, pay attention to your breath and when your attention wanders, return it. The proven benefits of mindfulness meditation are: increased self awareness, strengthened concentration, higher function of the brain, reduced anxiety and stress, better sleep, enhanced cognitive thinking and improved tilt-control.
4. Take short breaks
Working for a long time without breaks can lead to burnout and exhaustion. Taking regular breaks refreshes the mind, replenishes your mental resources, and helps you become more focused. It is also very important how do you take breaks. Avoid using social media or checking your phone, as these types of breaks will lower your focus rather than increasing it. The best is to stand up, stretch, go for a walk, practice mindfulness meditation, drink water, grab a small snack, read for fun, write down your thoughts and feelings, wash your face or take a shower.
5. Build mental endurance
You can build your mental endurance the same way as you build your muscles, by training. Some ways to build your mental stamina are: visualization, positive thinking, planning for setbacks, managing stress and sleeping better.
6. Get enough sleep
Studies show that lack of sleep impacts cognitive performance and focus. Good sleep helps you think clearly, memorize information easier and make better decisions. If you want to play your A-Game make sure you pay attention to your sleeping habits.
7. Set daily goals
Setting daily goals will help you to get better focus and avoid potential distractions much better. When you know exactly what you have to accomplish today, you’ll find ways to get it done. You’ll waste much less time and procrastinate much less when you have full clarity about what high-priority goals you need to crush today. I write down my ‘to do’ list every day and I also write a ‘to be’ list, which contains stuff like motivated, calm, focused, willing to fail, fearless, confident, etc.
8. Eat healthy food
Your body works like a machine, so it makes a lot of sense that the fuel you provide that machine has a positive or negative impact on its performance. Research shows that what you eat has a direct correlation to how your brain functions. Diet and nutrition impact cognition, focus, sleep, and mood. Avoid consuming foods with high quantities of sugar or processed carbohydrates. Instead, try to eat foods rich in proteins, fats, and complex carbohydrates. Some examples of good foods are: fruits, vegetables, meats, legumes, nuts, and whole grains. Also pay attention to the timing of your meals, neither eating too much or going too much without food is good for your focus and productivity.
Note: Do you want to sharpen your focus and play your A-Game more often? Check out Elliot Roe’s course: A-Game Poker Masterclass. Learn more now!