Alt Title: 5 Tips for Better Focus at Work
If you want to be more efficient and productive in your job, it all starts with focus. And if you want to stay focused, you have to develop a proactive plan that allows you to power through distractions and zero in on what matters most.
5 Tips for Increasing Workplace Focus
The human brain is a receptor. It’s constantly identifying, processing, and responding to external stimuli. And as sophisticated as the brain is, it has trouble consciously focusing on multiple things at once. When you consider how many distractions are present in the workplace, this is troublesome for office workers who are trying to stay focused.
“Doors opening and closing, notifications from your cell phone with new social media mentions and text messages, and more tabs open on your computer than you can possibly manage at one time… this is a recipe for disaster,” The Organizing Zone mentions. “It’s no wonder you can’t stay on task!”
Being mindful of the need for focus is the first step. But in order to successfully block out distractions, you’ll have to be intentional with how you fight through the noise (literally and figuratively). Here are some tips:
- Avoid Digital Distractions
The constant ringing and buzzing of your devices is killing any chance you have to be productive. Though there’s a time and place for email, SMS, and social media, you’d be wise to create periods of silence throughout the day.
For at least two to three hours a day, you should silence all notifications and log out of any app that could distract you. If you find it hard to completely step away, try one-hour segments. You should be able to carve out at least a couple of 60-minute blocks to silence the noise and focus on getting work done.
- Limit Task Switching
On average, employees who spend most of their work time on computers are distracted once every 10 minutes and 30 seconds – an incredible but believable statistic.
“Many of those interruptions come from external sources – like an incoming email or a colleague stopping by to chat – but a significant portion of the interruptions came from the individuals themselves,” productivity expert Becky Kane writes. “Voluntarily switching from one task to the next without finishing the original task first accounted for a full 44% of work interruptions.”
If you want to stay focused, the onus is on you to limit your task switching. Regardless of what you tell yourself, you are not a good multitasker. You’re better off starting and finishing a task before moving on to the next one.
- Try Vagus Nerve Stimulation
Focus is extremely fickle. Sometimes you can coax yourself into a state of deep concentration, but most of the time, you need some help. One of the best tricks is to use something called vagus nerve stimulation (VNS).
VNS is the process of stimulating the vagus nerve, which is responsible for releasing calming neurotransmitters such as serotonin and acetylcholine. By using a VNS device like Xen, you can practice vagus nerve stimulation with nothing more than a pair of headphones. This allows you to maximize the benefits while you work.
- Get Organized
Your brain is directly influenced by your immediate surroundings. If you’re working in a messy office with papers strewn all over your desk and dozens of icons and apps cluttering your computer screen, your inability to focus should come as no surprise.
Getting organized is one of the smartest things you can do. Keep as few items on your desktop (physical and digital) as possible. If something doesn’t serve a purpose, move it elsewhere.
- Ask for Accountability
Have you ever noticed that you work better when there’s a short-term deadline or some element of accountability? If you’re struggling to be productive on an everyday basis, ask a coworker or superior to be more stringent with deadlines – possibly even setting hourly benchmarks. This will give you no choice but to focus.
Adding it All Up
Every minute of focus that’s taken away from your work is a minute of focus you’ll never earn back. If you want to be the most productive and efficient worker possible, you must look for ways to fight through distractions and zero in on what matters most. Hopefully, this article has given you some tools to do just that.