To stay focused at work is one of the most difficult things to accomplish. Everyone knows those little evil factors that distract us whenever they can: a phone call, a message, construction work noises from the street, just to mention few of them. Sometimes it feels like they are working against us on purpose.
We all know them well, and how much they can limit our productivity when focusing on something. Today’s digital world particularly demands our attention even more than ever before.
Our brain works automatically and our reaction to anything comes naturally. Even when we want to concentrate only on one thing, our brain can react to some sounds, noises. Sometimes we don’t even realize immediately that we’ve lost our focus.
Multitasking and focus
While we might have thought that if we are good at multitasking it means our brain has a larger capacity to focus, multitasking doesn’t necessarily lead to better performance. In fact, our brain is programmed to react to everything, so when it comes to focusing solely on one thing, it can be very challenging.
Eventually, we have to teach our brain to focus exclusively on one thing for a period of time without any distractions. It can change the whole proceedings.
Here are 3 useful tips on how to focus and become more productive:
- Creativity in the first place
Often, we do those tasks first that don’t require too much thinking, just to kind of “warm up” for the tougher works. If we think of this as our body getting tired by the end of the day, our brain works in the same way. Mindless work lowers our energy and later in the day, we will have less capacity to do the other jobs.
Focus on the tasks that require creativity and do them first thing in the morning. Leave the less important jobs like scheduling a call, or deleting your emails, for later.
- Time allocation
We all work in a different way, but it’s very typical that there are “morning type” and “evening type” people. We do our best working or studying either in the morning or late at night. It’s very likely that we don’t fully pay attention to our work eight hours a day. We have to find those few hours when we are the most effective and put everything we can into those hours. As a pro tip, we not only have to find those few hours, but also create downtime. Almost all the successful minds have some sort of “me time”, where they just let their thoughts float and resilience.
Find your time of effectiveness, and if you can, look for a place where you can best concentrate on your task. It might be out of the office, where you can perform better.
- Brain training
“We’ve trained our brains to be unfocused” – David Rock
Our multitasking brain can be trained for focusing ultimately on a single task, according to David Rock, the author of Your Brain at Work.
Start “training” with short sections only. First, take 5 minutes a day in a distraction-free place. Try to fully concentrate in that 5 minutes and increase this time period slowly.
Read more about this topic: Your Brain at Work by David Rock, the co-founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute
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