Top Tips on How to Focus on Work
The skill of maintaining focus while working is something we might all need more of.
There are a variety of factors in our ever-evolving world that contribute to our inability to concentrate, such as distracting websites or games on your mobile phone.
So what can you do to stay focused at work?
Truth be told, there is no fast and easy solution to staying focused. The key is to be very strategic and consistent in your approach in order to train your ability to remain focused.
Read on to find out ways to stay focused at work and determine the best plan for you!
Before you can start on anything else, you need a work environment that keeps you grounded and helps you stay focused during work hours.
If your workstation looks like the aftermath of a tornado, that's exactly what you'd feel for the workday: disoriented and lost.
If your supplies are scattered everywhere, all your energy will be diverted to searching for them instead of working on more important tasks.
Less Coffee, More Water
Limiting your coffee intake while working may seem illogical. After all, doesn't coffee make you more alert?
That is true - but only in small doses!
Caffeine's cognitive-enhancing benefits can only be realised if it is consumed in moderation. If you consume too much of it, you may become dizzy, jittery or nervous, which may lead to you losing focus.
Try substituting water for some of your daily coffee cups instead!
Coffee has also been shown to make you dehydrated, and even mild dehydration causes mood changes, lower concentration, frequent headaches, anxiety, and fatigue.
Get in the Flow
Each of us is unique - we all work in different ways and have distinct habits that best stimulate our cognitive abilities.
As a result, it's critical for us to comprehend how our bodies and minds function. We can utilise this information to build a customised approach to stay focused at work.
Here are some methods you can consider to improve focus and self-discipline.
The lack of a proper plan is one of the key reasons why most of us lose our concentration. As numerous tasks pile up throughout the workday, you can get overwhelmed and forget your goals.
Creating an hourly work plan is a terrific method to improve the prioritisation process. When you block time in this way, you list all of your and then allocate one task per calendar timeslot.
Every minute you spend at work is visible - you know exactly what to do and when to do it, as well as what needs to be done at the end of the day.
For example, if you find that you're more productive during morning hours, plan your work schedule in such a way that tasks requiring more mental energy could be accomplished the first thing in the morning.
The Pomodoro technique is a time management method that encourages people to work with the time they have, rather than against it. This timing method helps you train your attention span to stay focused on a specific task.
Here’s how it works:
• Set your timer for 25 minutes and get to work.
• When the buzzer sounds, take a 5-minute short break.
• Then, set the timer for 25 minutes again and get back to work.
• Once you’ve done four rounds, take a longer break, approximately 20 to 30 minutes.
The strategy works by instilling a sense of urgency through the use of a timer.
Tip: You can use productivity tools or apps designed for Pomodoro if needed!
You know you only have 25 minutes to make as much progress on a task as possible, rather than feeling like you have unlimited time in the workday to get things done and then wasting that precious time on distractions.
The short breaks also serve to alleviate the frazzled, burnt-out sensation that most of us experience at the end of the day. The ticking timer reminds you to get up and take regular breaks, allowing you to feel refreshed between tasks.
Prioritizing your work is one of the ways that might help you stay focused at work. As a result, the first step in starting your day off well is to make a to-do list that you'll stick to.
Here are some tips to help ensure you achieve success with your to-do list:
• Make a list of all the tasks you need to get done today.
• Break these duties down into smaller subtasks that are easier to manage.
• Make a note of whether something is urgent or not, and if it is important or not.
• Reorder your list so that the jobs and subtasks you categorised as urgent/important are at the top.
• Remove tasks from your to-do list that have been designated as NOT urgent/NOT important.
• Put a checkmark next to each item you complete as soon as you complete it — seeing the number of things you've completed rise will inspire you to keep working and get to the end of the list as soon as possible!
Fuel your Body
We all know what happens when “hanger” strikes. This dreaded combination of hunger and anger is a major focus fail.
Your stomach starts to growl, your sugar levels plummet, and you can barely remember what day it is, let alone how to tackle that mountain of important tasks.
For an extra boost, try to include a few of these “best brain foods” in your day:
• green, leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, and broccoli
• healthy fats such as salmon and avocado
• berries, like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries
• tea and coffee for the caffeine, in moderation
You'll also want to keep some nutrient-dense snacks on hand at your desk in case you get hungry unexpectedly — almonds, walnuts, and dark chocolate bars are always invigorating, yet healthy options.
Staying nourished provides you with the brain power to accomplish tasks quicker, with better quality.
Get a Good Night's Sleep
It’s no secret that the majority of Singaporeans are lacking in the sleep department.
While a few nights of minimal sleep is okay, not getting enough sleep most nights can negatively impact your memory, as well as your ability to stay focused.
The recommended amount of sleep for adults aged 18 to 60 years old is 7 or more hours a night.
As a result, developing a consistent night-time routine is one of the most effective ways to ensure that you get enough sleep and thus improve focus and decision-making skills during work hours.
To boost your sleep health, try to:
• Avoid caffeinated beverages after lunchtime.
• Switch off all electronic devices an hour before bedtime. The light from these devices can stimulate your brain and prevent you from feeling sleepy.
• Take time to wind down. Read a book, take a warm bath, do some breathing exercises et cetera.
• Keep your bedroom cool and quiet.
Set a SMART Goal
If your inability to stay focused stems from feeling overwhelmed by a complex project, try breaking it down into smaller parts according to the SMART formula.
SMART stands for:
• Specific. What exactly needs to be done?
• Measurable. How will you track your progress?
• Achievable. Can it be realistically done by the deadline?
• Relevant. How does it fit with the overall plan or bigger goal?
• Timely. When does it need to be done?
When you take a large, complex project and break it down into smaller, bite-sized tasks, you can boost your ability to concentrate and focus on specific tasks because you end up with goals that actually feel accomplishable.
Don't Get Distracted!
Easier said than done, right?
While you won't be able to create a completely distraction-free workspace, you should make an attempt to limit or eliminate distractions as much as you can.
Listen to Music
For many readers, this may come as a surprise. However, do note that not every tip will work for you, yet those same tips can greatly help another.
Listening to some types of background music while at work may help keep your mind wandering by drowning out office chatter or sudden noises. Some people find that listening to music increases their adrenaline levels, allowing them to operate more efficiently.
For most people, classical music or lo-fi beats is the perfect white noise for staying focused. However, you personally may focus better on familiar songs with catchy lyrics. So, choose suitable music for you!
And make sure to use noise-canceling headphones so that your colleagues aren't distracted too.
Reduce Digital Distractions
One of the main reasons why we lose focus at work is cyberloafing, referring to accessing the Internet for personal purposes (surfing distracting websites, social media, etc.) during business hours.
Digital distractions, according to Cal Newport, a computer science professor and author of "Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World," are one of the key reasons why workers have trouble staying focused.
Try out the following tips for avoiding distractions:
Have a Separate Email Address
Each day, you receive a large number of emails, probably a mix of personal and professional contact, promotions and updates from your websites, and, of course, spam.
Having a separate email address for business and personal use is an excellent approach to avoid this. Make sure they're both customised to filter all emails.
When you have some free time, go through your emails again and unsubscribe from any senders you don't need. Then, sort through the emails you'll be responding to later.
Avoid Your Phone
Your phone is frequently the most significant impediment to your ability to stay focused at work.
You can use it to make phone calls, answer text messages, browse the web, upload photos to Instagram, and more – which, in business terms, means you can use it to spend time that you should be working.
So, if you want to get that important task done, avoid using your phone during work hours like the plague!
Just remember — you are surrounded by events and people at work that could cut off your momentum and affect your ability to concentrate.
Keep your mind on the task at hand, and remember that you need to build these habits to see lasting results.