Whatever job you do, your level of productivity and ultimately success is largely going to be determined by your ability to remain focused. Unfortunately this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Distractions at work come in many forms, from emails pinging up on our screens, to phones ringing, to mobiles beeping to colleagues interrupting our train of thought…the list goes on! With technology at our fingertips and our mobiles never usually more than an arms-length away, there has never been a time where there are more ways to be distracted.
Fortunately, it is possible for each of us to become more focused in our working lives and improve productivity. Here are some top tips for remaining focused at work:
1. Establish a to-do list: This will help you to organise and prioritise your tasks (and also remind you of any outstanding tasks from the previous day), helping you to structure your day. Many people also find it motivating when they’ve ticked something off their to-do list!
Tip: Multi-task less! On the surface of it, multi-tasking sounds great because it allows you to accomplish a variety of things at once. However, in reality it can slow you down as your brain continually switches back and forth between tasks. Using a to-do list will help you to stay focused on one challenge at a time.
2. Take breaks: Studies have shown that taking short breaks can help us to be more productive and come back to our desk with renewed energy and purpose. Leaving your desk and going for a short walk to get some fresh air can prevent you from flagging and allow you to continue your day feeling energised and refreshed.
3. Eliminate distractions: Are you able to disconnect from the internet while you focus on the task at hand? Working online could potentially be one of your biggest distractions as you pause what you’re doing to check your Inbox or a social media account.
Similarly, turning off mobile notifications will also help you to concentrate. Research shows the average person checks their phone a staggering 85 times a day so by keeping it on silent and out of immediate reach, you’ll be less likely to give into temptation!
Turning off distractions and committing your attention to one task at a time should make a positive impact on your productivity.
Tip: If you’re struggling to concentrate at your desk, it could be worth seeing if there is a quiet area of the office you can move to away from distractions or even explore the option of working from home.
4. Get a good night’s sleep: If you haven’t slept well you’re going to find it much harder to be able to focus at work. This may intensify as the day goes on and your tiredness catches up with you. Experts recommend adults need a solid 7-9 hours sleep every night to function at their best.
Tip: Avoiding caffeine, switching off mobile devices and regular exercise can all help promote a good night’s sleep.
5. Exercise regularly: There are many studies that prove the health benefits of regular exercise. These include increased energy levels, an enhanced mood (due to the endorphins and serotonin released) a sharper focus and increased levels of productivity. This doesn’t mean you need to spend hours in the gym, as little as 30 minutes a day can make a big difference.
We live in a busy world where there are lots of potential distractions to tempt us away from our work. Avoiding these distractions requires self-discipline but putting these tips into practice will help you remain focused, more productive and ultimately better at your job.