Staying focused can be a challenge for many of us whether it is due to a lack of motivation, distractions at home or in the workplace, or simply fatigue. There will always be days when your efforts to stay focused on the task at hand can be difficult and affect your productivity, creativity, and success both at work and home.
For many of us, it can be difficult to shut out the world around us when we are trying to get work accomplished whether it is at home or work. However, there are some techniques that you can use that will help you stay focused on the task at hand.
1. Ask yourself – do you love what you do?
If the answer is “yes,” great. If not, then find ways that will make what you do more enjoyable. Figure out what inspires you and find a way to let your creativity, imagination, or inventiveness flow.
2. Are you comfortable where you actually do your work?
If you are always seated at a desk, would it be more comfortable to have one of those desks that allow you to stand up occasionally throughout the day? Another option is to make a point of getting up and walking around every hour, if possible, to get the blood flowing in your mind and body.
3. Do you have clutter surrounding your work area?
Do you have a place to store your purse, computer bag, briefcase, food and water? If not, figure out a way to de-clutter your work space. All of these items can make it difficult to focus on the task at hand. Get comfortable in your work area and get rid of the clutter.
4. Use the right equipment and programs
If you do work on a computer, it is important to have one that helps you accomplish your tasks efficiently and professionally. Otherwise, it can be more frustrating than not to stay focused and get your work done. Make sure you take the time to do the updates on your computer as this will make your work life less stressful.
5. 90 minutes sprint / 3 times a day
Studies showed that human cannot stay focused more than 90 minutes in a row, and no more than 270 minutes a day. This is why you have to do 3 sprints of 90 minutes with a minimum of 20 minutes break.
How to do it ?
Simply edit a to do list, turn off your notifications, block social media access, don’t check your mail and work and use ear plugs or good noise cancelling headphones.
If you want to know more about the 90 minutes cycle technique, have a look on this article or simply read : DEEP WORK by Cal Newport
6. Tackle the More Difficult Tasks Earlier in the Day
Typically, people are more productive during the first few hours at work. Tackling more difficult or challenging projects early in the day can help you stay focused and prevent you from feeling stressed out to finish them at the end of the day.
7. Invest in Ear Plugs
These will allow you to block out distracting noises. The other option is to use them to listen to music. Immersing yourself in beautiful music can elevate your spirit and help you stay focused on the task at hand.
8. Turn The Ringer Down On Your Phone
Turning the ringer down will prevent you from constantly hearing your phone going off with texts or voicemail messages. Of course, if you are a parent of young children or have family situations that require you to be accessible, then this may not be an option. If not, turning these signals off so you can focus on the task at hand can make a huge difference in getting your work done in a timely manner.
9. Avoid Social Media
Especially at work when you are trying to stay focused on getting your work done. You may not realize how long you end up staying on social media websites that defeat your purpose for using your time wisely. These websites are loaded with all sorts of information that can get your mind distracted and prevent you from staying focused on work. (source)
10. Get Organized with Your Emails
If possible, create a separate email for work and one for personal use. Unsubscribe to senders that do not provide you with information you need and delete the rest.
The best time of day to check your email is around noon time as those who are sending you emails with important information will have done so typically the night before or in the morning hours. Checking them at noon time will allow you to be more efficient and stay focused on the work in front of you.
10. Drink Water Throughout Your Day
Water is necessary for every function in the body include your brain. At the first sign of hunger or brain fog, drink some water and jazz it up a bit by adding flavor with some fresh lemon. You will be amazed how much it will refresh your mind and body and help keep you focused on what you are doing.
11. Keep Healthy Snacks at your workstation
A handful of nuts can settle a rumbling stomach and keep you focused. Eating a little something every three hours will help keep your blood sugar levels stable and allow you to focus on the task at hand.
→ Here is a list of healthy brain foods to boost your productivity.
12. Maintain a Written Notebook
This will allow you to create a list of your daily tasks where you can visually see it without having to rummage through your purse to find your phone. Avoid keeping it in your computer as well because that can lead to other distractions such as checking messages or responding to other trivial interfaces or websites. Check off the tasks by hand that have been completed for each day.
13. Think About What You Want – NOT What You Don’t Want
It is important to guard your thoughts carefully because they create your experiences in life. You may think that your thoughts choose you, but this is never the case. We choose our thoughts every minute throughout our day and there are no neutral thoughts.
Before you hold a thought, you decide to hold it. With practice, you can learn to monitor and alter your thoughts when needed. This is equivalent to putting your hands on the steering wheel of your life, especially when it comes to staying focused.
We are all surrounded by people and events at work and at home that can derail our concentration and focus on the task at hand. Don’t think for one minute that your concentration abilities are impaired because you can experience remarkable feats of concentration by using the tips and techniques listed above. Here’s to staying focused.