Do you find it hard to focus at work? Perhaps you are working in a disordered environment or maybe you’re surrounded with various distractions. Whatever your reasons are, there are simple techniques to boost your focus and improve your productivity at work.
In a fast-paced environment, keeping a focused mind can be challenging. So we have gathered some of the most effective techniques and Science-backed ways to help boost your focus in a world full of chaos and distractions.
Prepare your Mind and Body
“Take five minutes to center yourself in the morning – set your intention every day.” – Oprah Winfrey
Start your day with a calm mind and a sound body. Several studies have shown that mental exercises and physical activities are highly beneficial for our mental wellbeing. Simple workouts will not only amplify your focus but can also your lift your mood – thanks to endorphins, which are released by our body during meditation and exercises, and act as natural painkillers and mood elevators.
A simple exercise and a meditation can go a long way, so don’t pressure yourself to do strenuous workouts early in the morning. Spend a few minutes doing breathing exercises, yoga, treadmill running, jogging or cycling. Do this with a partner or do it alone, in a quiet place where you can feel at peace and relaxed.
Plan Your Day
“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” ― Alan Lakein
If you know how to manage your time and tasks well, you can have a productive day ahead of you! Ask yourself: What’s the One Thing you can do this week such that by doing it everything else would be easier or unnecessary? (from ONE Thing book by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan). Avoid the last-minute stress by staying focus on and prioritise what is essential.
Here are some simple reminders to help you plan your day effectively for better focus and productivity:
- Check your schedule every morning and night. Organise your goals and priorities the night before, so you can easily determine what to do about them the next day.
- Make use of your daily planner or digital calendar when adding your appointments and reminders so you can easily see your incoming activities and plan ahead for your next move. Whatever platform you use, make sure to put your activities in one place.
- Set, track, and stick to your daily goals. Each goal must have a clear purpose so you’ll know where you are heading to. Monitor your progress by checking your digital to-do-list or the traditional notepad.
- Use the MIT (Most Important Task) method to help you concentrate on the most urgent tasks of the day.
- Apply the Pomodoro Technique. With Pomodoro Technique, you’re going to spend 25 minutes on each chosen task. Once the 25 minutes is over, take a short break for about 5 minutes. After the short break, restart your 25-minute work session. You can use the Pomodoro timer tool or the app version.
- Avoid creating a massive, daily to-do-list as this can be stressful to look at and can be difficult to manage. Instead, break down your tasks into smaller chunks each day so you can pay attention to one task at a time.
Improve your Diet
“Training your mind to be in the present moment is the #1 key to making healthier choices.” – Susan Albers
Studies show that a diet high in healthy fats can improve brain function. Dietary fats promote ketosis, a metabolic process that helps protect our brain against certain diseases as well increases the production of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which plays a significant role in learning and memory.
Some of the foods packed with healthy fats include avocado, salmon, healthy oils (coconut oil and olive oil), whole eggs and nuts.
Aside from dietary fats, other foods known to fuel your brain include:
- Caffeine in coffee, green tea and dark chocolates to help increase your alertness and concentration.
- Glucose from fruits and organic juices for a short-term boost of memory and mental thinking.
- Whole grains, which are rich in dietary fiber and vitamin E, to fire up brain cells
- Blueberries are known to boost concentration and memory for five hours due to its very rich antioxidant properties.
- Leafy green vegetables, which are full of B-vitamins and antioxidants, known to boost focus and overall brain power.
Organise your Emails
“For every minute spent organising, an hour is earned. – Benjamin Franklin
Are you guilty of spending too much time checking and managing your emails? Save your time for the things that matter the most and try these simple techniques to manage your emails effectively.
- Check your email once a day and set aside a timeslot intended for this activity.
- Unsubscribe from inappropriate newsletters and save or archive the ones that are only relevant to your work, hobbies or business.
- You don’t need to pay attention to each email that came in. Read and reply to emails that are of high importance. Save your time and energy to high-value tasks that require your full attention.
- Categorise important emails using a naming system that you can easily identify.
- Check the settings of your current email service and change/edit the settings that allow you to filter and manage your incoming emails.
Enhance and Declutter your Workspace
“Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions” – Barbara Hemphill
A disorganised workspace, at home or at the office, can create a negative impact on your concentration. Having a clean and clutter-free space can result in a clearer mind and a happier mood, thereby improving your focus and productivity while working.
Here are some quick tips to organise your working area:
- Get rid of the unnecessary things on your table. Throw the ones that are of no use, and keep the useful ones in storage for future use.
- Put a trash can under your desk, so you can easily throw away your crumpled paper and clear your desk from any mess.
- Organise your wires or cables by using a cardholder or binder clip. This will not only lessen the problems caused by tangled wires but will also reduce stress and frustrations when checking detangling wires.
- Store your physical documents and accessories in a desk organiser, store boxes and containers. You can opt for coloured containers that match your personality for a bubblier setting.
- Quickly organise your desk before going home so you can have a better view of your workspace when you sit for work in the morning.
Stay away from Distractions
“One way to boost our willpower and focus is to manage our distractions instead of letting them manage us.” – Daniel Goleman
You can encounter a number of distractions while working. They are unavoidable, but they can also be eliminated easily by following these tips:
- Turn off your phone notifications to avoid distractions from emails and social media.
- Wear noise-canceling headphones to work in silence or to simply listen to calming music. This can prevent other people from interrupting you.
- Inform your workmates that you don’t want to be disturbed and interrupted at the moment unless it’s very urgent.
- Rather spending time with negative people, surround yourself with positive, focused and productive individuals.
- Choose a room in your office where there are less or no people to regain your focus and mental agility.
Take a Break
“Taking a break can lead to breakthroughs.” – Russell Eric Dobda
No matter how busy you are, give your brain the break it deserves! Get high quality of sleep every night and maximise your breaks at work to energize your tired mind and body.
Lack of sleep has been shown to affect our cognitive performance and focus. If you go to work feeling tired and drowsy, you can’t think clearly or make decisions easily. To achieve maximum focus, try to sleep at least 7 to 8 hours a night. Research shows that good sleep results in better innovative thinking and problem-solving skills.
Taking regular breaks at work is a sure way to boost your mental focus. If you start to feel the stress or exhaustion stepping in, get up from your chair immediately! Take a quick walk outside the office, invite a workmate for a coffee, or try stretching for a few minutes. With a well-rested mind and body, you’ll surely get back to work feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
Focus is the key to accomplish what is necessary – easy word to spell, it contains only five letters but it is probably one of the most powerful words there are in order to move forward with confidence and with the expected results. – Byron Pulsifer
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Focus is crucial to our success, and if you don’t have it, distractions can easily get in your way, stealing your time, effort and attention. With a focused mind, the path to your dreams looks wider, and success becomes attainable and limitless.
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