Science says that on average, humans have an attention span lasting for eight seconds. That is less than the one a goldfish has and because of the technological advancements, this has gotten even shorter. After all, human survival depends on focusing on what is important and with so many information in the digital environment, the focus falters.
This is especially problematic when you need to focus on your work and neglect everything else from your surroundings. However, this is not something that can’t be fixed so there are some strategies to improve focus at work and be more productive.
1. Start the day with exercise
Morning exercise is not only good for the body, but also for the brain. There is no need to visit a gym or workout for long to improve your focus. Basically, 20 minutes is enough to get the blood flowing and ignite your mind.
Yoga and cycling are perfect to start the day and you can do it at home, too, so that makes it easier to practice. Swimming is also another activity that will give you a whole body workout and wake you up, but make sure that you have time to go to the pool before work. Any activity that will present itself as nuisance can cause stress and that is counterproductive to focus.
2. Set the daily goals
Daily goals will help you examine the workload and plan your time accordingly which in turn will keep you focused and productive. Everyone has big goals, but daily ones are important as well since they carry small but satisfying rewards of achievement and accomplishment. And nothing helps you stay in the mood like knowing that you finished something that you started and doing it successfully.
3. Write down your tasks each hour
Writing down what you need to do in an hour is a perfect way to stay sharp and focused at work. Additionally, time how long it takes you to finish the tasks to create a sense of urgency and avoid slacking. This way, you will be able to concentrate on finishing tasks and not wander off on other matters or distractions.
4. Eliminate distractions
Distractions are one of the most dangerous enemies of focus at work, but they are also easily manageable if there is will. First of all, disable notifications on your smartphone except for emergency contacts and even put it on airplane mode if you can, but also, do the same on your computer. This will eliminate social media and communication apps from your work day and help you not get distracted with unnecessary drama and conversations.
When it comes to chatty co-workers, you can always try politely excusing yourself from the conversation and go back to work. If you feel uncomfortable doing so, install a Chrome add-on which when initiated will call you on your phone and thus give you an excuse to leave the conversation.
5. Create comfortable conditions to work
Even when you spend your day at work seated at your desk you will still feel physical strain which can cause distractions and even pain. This discomfort is easily resolved with a good ergonomic chair which will provide good back support. Also, make sure that the desk is appropriately positioned and at an appropriate height to avoid slouching, eyesight issues and back problems.
6. Try the intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is a fairly new approach to a dietary habit which has been popular in the health and fitness community. The idea is to fast for 16 hours of the day, and then eat the necessary calories during the remaining 8. This will boost your metabolism and help you stay focused in the morning since you are not using any energy to digest the breakfast.
7. Drink coffee
If you want to stay awake, put that coffee pod in the machine every morning and enjoy a delicious cup of this caffeine-infused beverage. Coffee helps you stay awake and focused and it's also recommended to have one in the afternoon for a boost. In case you are no fan of coffee, try black or oolong tea which is rich in caffeine, and can have similar effects.
8. Take short breaks
A study from the University of Illinois showed that when given a short break after 50 minutes of work, employees showed better performance. If you don’t take breaks, your focus will start faltering and until you completely lose it. So, in order to stay on top of your tasks, you need to take short breaks and allow your brain to rest for a bit from the work.
Improving your focus at work is an important issue which may turn into the challenge and require some getting used to. However, once you have everything in place and master the techniques, you will experience the benefits and rewards right away.