It doesn’t matter what you do for a living – staying on task with focus can be difficult, especially when you are juggling tasks and attempting to finish multiple to-do lists. In effort to help you stay productive and engaged at work, we’ve put together a list of strategies for better focus in the workplace that you can try out for yourself.
Establish a Routine. Of course, this may not be possible for every career, but it can still be a helpful strategy for many individuals. Having a routine can help to keep you focused by taking a lot of the decision making process out of the equation – you no longer have to consider what to do next, a process that probably eats up way more time than what you realize. Instead, a schedule can ensure that you not only get everything accomplished, but also stay focused by knowing exactly what is next.
Take a Break from the Multi-Tasking. While it is certainly tempting to multi-task at the office, research shows that we might be better off not doing so. Few individuals are actually good at multi-tasking. In fact, most of us are quite terrible and as a result, the work accomplished while multi-tasking suffers. Our brains just aren’t designed to take on more than one project at a time.
Set Clear, Defined Goals. The whole mentality of “I’ll get to it when I get it” doesn’t usually work. This is why having clear, written goals is often the best course of action, even if it is just a simple to-do list of a few items. Often times, these goals are referred to as your “wins” for the day – things you have to accomplish for the day to be considered successful. They help you have a clearer idea of what the day is about and can really help you zero in on how to complete them.
Get Comfortable. Distraction caused by discomfort is one of the leading causes of lost focus in the office. This is where proper ergonomics comes in. Make sure that you have an office chair that you can adjust and that you are keeping your feet flat on the ground, your arms parallel to the ground and your back straight and supported by ample lumbar support.
Work in Blocks. We have a limited reservoir when it comes to focus. Eventually, we will need to take a break and allow it to replenish. The best way seems to be working for 60 to 90 minutes then stopping for a quick break. This break only needs to be a few minutes – you can take a little stroll, go fill up your water bottle or make an unrushed pit stop to the restroom. Whatever you choose to do, let your brain rest – take a true break. Then get back to work feeling refreshed and ready for another 60-90 minutes.
Utilize Your Headphones. Music can help you drown out other distracting noises, whether it’s the printer behind you constantly printing or a coworker who speaks rather loudly over the phone. Just make sure that whatever you are listening to is suitable for the task you are completing. For example, an intensely detailed podcast might not be very conducive when you are trying to complete a project that demands your full attention.