When you’re working, you want your brain to perform at optimum speed and efficiency. After all, the ability to stay focused on specific tasks makes achieving your goals far easier. But how do we maintain this level of concentration when we are constantly surrounded by distractions? Here are some tips to help you out!
These days, it’s harder than ever to stay focused on our professional duties, especially with so many of us now working from home. With our phones, social media, domestic chores, and loved ones vying for our attention, we are constantly at risk of distraction. With every unplanned break in focus causing us to lose momentum, our productivity can really suffer.
What distracts me: diagnosing the problem!
Pinpointing the root of the problem is the first step you should take. Answer the question: what precisely is distracting me? Are there external factors at play, like outside noise or the constant buzz of your smartphone? Or is it more internal factors, like intrusive thoughts and daydreaming? With regards to external factors, there are some simple yet effective steps you can implement that should show fast results.
Turn off notifications
Most of us have accounts on multiple social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Coupled with email alerts and texts, it can feel like our phones never stop pinging with notifications, making it very difficult to focus on our work. The temptation to respond as quickly as possible and remain connected is strong, but our time can be quickly swallowed up by getting stuck in a loop of scrolling.
With this in mind, it’s worth disabling notifications for all social media accounts during the hours you want to dedicate to work.
Mute your phone
Taking the previous tip one step further, you could mute or even switch off your phone altogether, completely eliminating the risk of it distracting you. As long as you’re not waiting for a specifically important call, most messages, voicemails and so on can wait to be dealt with later, allowing you to better prioritize your time.
Get a good night’s sleep
Everyone’s body is different, but on average, a healthy adult should be aiming to get around 6-8 hours of sleep each night. Adequate rest will allow you to properly replenish your energy reserves, while a consistent pattern of sleep helps us maintain a structured routine.
By contrast, being tired due to lack of sleep can make it difficult to retain focus, making us feel sluggish and irritable. If your partner snores, or you live in a busy area, consider using comfortable disposable or reusable earplugs to help block out the noise.
A tidy desk equals a tidy mind!
Clutter has long been known to cause distraction. Before you start working, try to organize your workspace, with only the most essential items laid out on your desk. With less stuff getting in your way, and everything conveniently to hand as and when you need it, you can make your way through your to-do list much more efficiently.
Listen to your favorite music
Ambient music can have a wonderful soothing effect. A well-chosen soundtrack can also help to drown out other, potentially disruptive noises, be it in the home/office, or from the streets outside. Classical or instrumental music is probably best, but it’s important to remember the needs of others too, so you may want to wear headphones!
Embrace silence; invest in earplugs
If even background music is too distracting, your best bet is to buy earplugs, allowing you to switch off from the outside world and commit your attention fully to the tasks at hand. Disposable earplugs are great for short-term use, while custom-made or reusable earplugs are ideal for ongoing use. This is the perfect solution for those who want to dampen the constant, often hectic noise of everyday life.
The methods described above should help you better focus on your work. It is worth remembering, however, that everyone responds in their own way to different stimuli. This means it’s well worth trying various methods to see what works best for you.
Bear in mind that while focus can be improved over time, it often requires patience and persistence. You should be aiming to establish lasting, healthy habits by implementing the solutions that suit your particular needs. By sticking with it, you could see a significant improvement to the quality of your concentration, thus boosting productivity and overall job satisfaction.