Ever wondered how many hours you spend in front of screens playing video games every day?
If we’re not working, we’re watching TV, looking at our phones, or spending hours in front of the computer trying to finally get somewhere on Elden Ring.
Staying focused while playing video games for long periods of time can be a real challenge no matter your skill. Loads of elements disturb your concentration and your visual attention.
This could include eye strain and fatigue, muscle pain, dry eyes or other external distractions... like your family members yelling at you to get off the damn computer for once.
To remain efficient, competitive and productive with sustained attention is essential. And we don’t just mean shutting the door on your partner.
In this article, we’ll look at essential tips that will teach you how to focus better while gaming.
The Importance of Concentration for a Gamer
Imagine you’re in the middle of a Dark Souls or Sekiro boss fight. Do you really think they’re going to go easy on you because you are distracted by your dog in the middle of a major battle?
No! They’ll beat you up until you’re so annoyed by the game and yourself that you throw the controller against the wall.
If your concentration levels aren’t at 100%, your reaction times will slow down, which can make all the difference on whether you score a successful pass on FIFA, or take down one of your opponents on Tekken with a dangerous counter-attack.
If you, like us, prefer winning over losing, then it's helpful to know exactly where you’re going wrong and what’s impacting your concentration.
In Real Life
Most of us work at jobs that require you spend a lot of time, if not all of it, in front of a computer screen. That’s why being able to focus without distractions is so important.
Here’s a familiar situation:
You get a task that you’re used to and can usually finish in under an hour - so you get to work. Finally, after multiple interruptions, yawns and rubbing of your eyes, you’re done.
Only problem is that somehow 3 hours have passed instead of the usual one!
We all get mental blocks, losses in concentration, and days where we just can’t make our brains work right.
And when all that’s working against you, it leads to a loss in productivity and consequently, your own sense of accomplishment.
The Enemies of Focus
Lack of sleep
“I’ll just hop on for an hour and do a few quick side quests,” you mutter feverishly to yourself as you boot up the world of Tamriel and get stuck in.
5 hours later, it’s 3 am, you’ve not really got anywhere in Skyrim and now you’re tired for tomorrow too.
It feels great at the time, but we all know that tomorrow you’ll be getting a venti from Starbucks, and spending the day constantly yawning as you stare bleary-eyed at your colleagues.
Muscle pain occurs when you don’t adopt an “ergonomic” sitting position (that means back straight, good posture). Let’s be honest, a lot of us slowly slump more and more until we’re hunched over our computer screens like Gremlins, flinching when someone turns on the light.
That’s why you’re in the prime of life yet still feels like you went 6 rounds with Muhammad Ali.
Eye strain occurs when your eyes go through periods of heavy concentration that last a few hours. They become red and watery and you feel the urge to rub them every second. Blinking feels painful. And yet, we persist through the tears like the screen-addict we are.
Last but not least, stress can be a major source of cognitive problems, like trouble concentrating.
While we need to focus on one thing, many intrusive thoughts can disturb our activity. Your mental health is important, and sometimes stepping away and taking some time for yourself is one of the best things you can do to improve your concentration.
How to focus better while gaming : 6 Ways To Be on top of your game
1 - Optimize your screen brightness
Excessive brightness can actually be a bad thing. It can cause eye fatigue, leading to a loss of attention in gaming.
There are two rules you can use to make sure your screen brightness is optimized to your comfort levels. This will work whether you’re using a phone, tablet, TV, or monitor.
- Always make sure the room you’re in is well lit. Ideally, this would be natural light shining through the window.
- Adjust your screen to the same brightness level as the room you’re in. Some modern screens will automatically do this for you to match the ambient lighting, but you can also manually adjust the brightness settings on your individual devices.
2 - Adjust your screen position for better visibility
This tip is specifically for computer screens and monitors.
Poor screen positioning leads to poor posture, which leads to general fatigue. After 5 hours hunched over, your muscles are aching and you’re distracted by how uncomfortable you really are.
To prevent this, your computer screen should be positioned at the same height as your eye line. It unconsciously pushes you to sit more upright, which over time is far better for your back anyway. Ideally, you want to look for a monitor that you can adjust for height and tilt.
If your monitor doesn’t do these fancy extras, then go old school. Put those Tetris skills to work and make a stack of books for your monitor to sit on top of.
3 - Turn off RGB lighting in the day
We’ve all seen the awesome gaming set-ups people share online. Usually, they involve loads of cool pop-culture references and funky RGB lighting. But although this looks great, they really are for aesthetics over performance.
Make sure your RGB lighting works with your setup, not against it.
The presence of RGB lighting can actually be an unnecessary distraction when you’re gaming. The intermittent flickering of a Razer Chroma back-light can cause disturbance and make you miss that final kill.
Leave it on to impress your friends and take some cool pictures for the ‘gram, but maybe when you actually want to concentrate, turn it off instead.
4- Wear anti-blue light gaming glasses
Once upon a time, computers had CRT screens. They emitted hot light and were directly harmful to your eyes.
LED screens became the replacement for the more harmful CRTs with technology that somewhat reduced the amount of eye strain caused.
But LED screens instead produce artificial blue light, which has a fairly significant impact on eye health.
That’s why companies like us have invested time and energy into making your gaming experience more enjoyable by producing special anti blue light gaming glasses.
5 - Take regular breaks during gaming sessions and prioritize sleep
Look, we know it's probably the last thing you want to do. But a great way to reduce fatigue in any activity is to give yourself regular breaks.
Make time to rest your eyes away from a screen after two or three hours of beating the crap out of everyone on Tekken.
Use these breaks to hydrate, grab a healthy snack, and maybe remind your loved ones you’re still alive.
Also, remember to stretch like Dhalsim in Street Fighter to keep those muscles limber and reduce pressure.
Don't forget that sleep is the cornerstone of your health. If you want to perform in the long term, you need to treat your body like the machine that it is.
Take time to recharge your batteries consistently and you will maximize your chances to crush your enemies in the long run.
6 - Learn to relax
Your mind is an internet browser with far too many tabs open.
Trying to process and keep track of everything in your life is mentally exhausting. Keep it all upstairs and it will slow down everything else around you, reducing your cognitive performance.
Try to find time to take a break from the world, and relax.
There’s no real answer to this. Everyone has different methods of relaxation that work for them. And some will point out that gaming is one of them.
But excessive screen time can negatively impact your mental health. And let’s be honest, all of us could do with being offline a little more sometimes.
Meditation can be an excellent relaxation technique and a way to reduce accumulated stress. It stimulates brain functions like concentration and memory, and can help you refocus on what’s important (Sephiroth, obviously).
When meditating, focus on one element (a point in space, a mantra, a sound, your own breathing, etc.) and every time you find your attention wandering, refocus on that one simple thing.
This is a way to work on your focus, learning how to let go, and live in the present.
How to focus better while gaming: final gaming tips
To recap, with the six tips we’ve outlined in this helpful article, you’ll be back to full concentration levels in no time and will dratically improve your reaction time and gaming performance.
Just remember to:
- Avoid excessive brightness from your screen
- Adjust its position for better visibility
- Turn off RGB lights during the day
- Wear anti-blue light glasses to reduce eye strain
- Take regular breaks when gaming
- Learn to relax
This is applicable to all life and not just gaming, but as we know, us gamers are some of the worst offenders of excessive screen time.
Apply these tips whether you’re working, gaming, or just watching TV and you should see a shift in your ability to focus.
And just for fun, you can also give essential oils a try. It's been shown that scents like lemon balm, basil, and eucalyptus can help you stay focused. Their balanced and soothing properties promote attention and alertness.
Plus, you can feel like you’re right in the middle of an apothecary in Animal Crossing.