Are you struggling to stay focused and centered at work throughout the day? It happens to the best of us. But unfortunately, a lack of focus leaves us prone to distraction and may impact our performance and productivity over time.
It’s easy to get distracted in the age of technology, too. There are always juicy new posts to check out on social media, co-workers that want to show you their latest pictures of their new puppy, and emails streaming in to remind you of the latest deals at your favorite eCommerce wellness store. These distractions can prevent you from focusing, diminishing your productivity, and encouraging you to procrastinate instead of progress.
Staying focused during the day thus requires some simple practices in mindfulness, time management, and self-control. Following a schedule, putting away your smartphone during work hours, and setting boundaries to limit distractions in your space are all crucial if you want to concentrate and work more effectively.
Here are our 7 top tips to help you stay focused throughout the day.
7 Tips for Better Focus at Work
1. Design a Schedule
Schedules are remarkably effective when it comes to improving your time management capabilities. Setting a schedule for yourself will empower you to meet all of your responsibilities, get more done, and remain focused and organized, even during stressful times.
The trick to making your schedule work for you is to adhere to it as far as possible, and to meet your goals and targets each and every day. A schedule will provide structure and direction for your goals and objectives, which will in turn instill in you a sense of purpose and a will to achieve those goals. The more purposeful you are, the less likely you are to be distracted when the next Instagram notification pops up.
2. Forget Multitasking
The jury is in: multitasking is officially ineffective. As stressful as a huge workload is, working on many different projects at the same time can amplify this stress. This makes it even more difficult to get everything done.
If you truly want to improve your productivity during the day, you would be better off working on a single task or project at a time and completing it before moving on to the next one. This enables you to use all of your energy, focus, concentration, and cognitive power on a single task. All without the distraction of other responsibilities and have-tos. Give your work days an even bigger productivity boost by scheduling your daily tasks and completing them one-by-one according to your schedule.
3. Put Your Mobile Away
How many times do you check your smartphone or tablet while you’re at work? The average person checks theirs 58 times over the course of a single day, with multitasking is officially ineffective occurring at work, according to Deloitte.
These devices are extremely distracting at the best of times. But especially in work environments where you may need to focus on less appealing tasks from time to time. Experts recommend turning your devices off and storing them out of sight during work hours to minimize distractions and improve your focus. If you need to answer a message or take a call urgently, use your phone only for emergencies and during break times.
4. Re-energize During Breaks
The human brain has its limits, particularly when it comes to concentrating for long periods of time. Research has shown that we perform best cognitively when we work for a set period of time and then take a break. The 50 minute focus technique is an excellent option as it requires you to focus for 50 minutes and then take a 20 minute break. You can increase this time, but going over 90 minutes without a break isn’t ideal. These breaks are absolutely crucial to re-energize you and help you maintain consistent focus throughout the day.
Use your break to listen to relaxing music, meditate, socialize with your coworkers, and eat a healthy meal or snack to fuel your body for the next work period ahead. If you’ve been sitting still for hours, enjoy some light exercise, such as a stretch or a short walk, to improve your focus.
5. Pay Attention to Your Diet
Do you work through the first half of your day on an empty stomach with only a cup of coffee in hand? This habit could negatively impact your focus. Eating a healthy meal in the morning keeps your blood glucose and energy levels stable, which aids concentration and general cognitive function.
Aside from a wholesome breakfast, keep nutritious snacks such as nuts, dried fruits, granola bars and dark chocolate at your desk so that you can power-up on antioxidants whenever you need them. Staying hydrated by drinking fresh water can aid your concentration and prevent exhaustion, dehydration and anxiety too.
6. Prioritize Good Sleep
Fatigue and sleep deprivation can both wreak havoc on your ability to concentrate and stay productive during the day. Experts recommend getting at least 8 to 8.5 hours’ worth of high quality, uninterrupted sleep each night.
You can aid healthy sleeping patterns by setting a fixed bedtime each night and avoiding screens and mobile devices for at least an hour before bed. If possible, minimize the amount of light and noise that filters into your bedroom.
7. Stay Organized
Did you know that keeping your life organized has markedly positive impacts on your mental health and your productivity? Working in a chaotic, cluttered environment can stress you out, cause distraction and anxiety, and leave you with less mental energy to focus on important tasks.
Keeping your workspace organized can boost your efficiency, improve your time management, and help you keep everything you need to work effectively in a single, familiar location.
Staying Focused, Wrapped Up
We all struggle to stay focused at work from time to time. The world is full of distractions. It takes the right knowledge and self-discipline to keep the attention seeking enemies at bay. Maintain your mental energy and make mental health an important priority in your workplace to help you stay focused. Here’s more on why.
Follow the tips above to minimize distractions, keep your body and mind healthy, and boost your ability to concentrate for sustained periods of time. Your employer and colleagues will certainly thank you for it.