Do you ever find it hard to go back to your tasks after getting distracted? Is it difficult for you to stay focused at work? If yes, then you are not alone.
A study from the University of California Irvine found that office workers can get interrupted every 11 minutes, while it takes around 25 minutes for them to refocus.
With that in mind, it is not unusual if someone gets frustrated from being trapped in the cycle.
However, everyone can train themselves to stop this problem. In this article, you will learn how to stay focused at work, both in an office environment and while working remotely.
- Staying Focused at the Office
- Staying Focused while Working Remotely
Why Does Staying Focused Matter?
Staying focused in the office is hard enough because of the pressure from our workload. Apart from that, various workplace distractions also affect productivity. They include, but are not limited to:
- Phone notifications
Larry Rosen, a psychologist, stated that most people’s ability to focus is only between three to five minutes. Nevertheless, increasing your attention span is not impossible. There are several tricks that can help, the key is to make them your habit.
Mastering the tips below will enable you to enhance your performance and endurance against stress. What is more, you will also able to develop a healthy and productive work ethic.
Staying Focused at the Office
Here are eight ways to help you focused at work while in the office.
1. Set Daily Goals
Did you know that setting daily goals can increase productivity? Without doing so, you will get distracted more easily – be it because of other people or procrastination.
Having goals keeps you motivated at all times and will help you to stay focused at work.
To integrate this habit into your life, you should plan what needs to be achieved at the end of each day. For example, try to write to-do lists for each working day, with a detailed plan for every hour.
2. Get Comfortable
Preparing yourself for work with a positive mindset is a must.
According to research in the University of Chicago, doing so will put you in the state of “flow” – a state where a person is able to do challenging tasks with joy, without getting frustrated.
The key to achieving this condition is to be comfortable with what you do. Otherwise, you will not be able to concentrate on your work.
Cruising through the day is not the only way to get into “flow.” Another effective method is to meditate in the morning. Doing this will enable you to start the day much more prepared.
3. Organize Your Tasks
As it was already mentioned in the first section on this list, creating to-do lists can help you to finish plans and stay focused at work.
If there are tons of tasks, however, organizing them is crucial.
You can use any task management techniques, whether it is using tools like Trello, Google Calendar and Any.do or the traditional “grocery list” method.More importantly, you have to be able to organize your assignments based on their importance.
If you think it can help, try to divide one big task into smaller ones. Doing it will make you feel more rewarded every time one subtask is done.
4. Turn Off Your Notifications
Let’s accept it – we are addicted to our phones. A research by Deloitte found that the average American checks their smartphone 52 times a day.
Many people, and maybe even you, cannot resist the temptation of checking notifications because of the fear of missing out, otherwise known as FOMO.
This is anxiety caused by leaving important messages unopened, feeling like we’re missing out on something, thus prompting us to look at our phones constantly.
This habit is not beneficial for productivity, and you can learn to stop it by turning off notifications. If it does not work, set your phone to airplane mode, and you will not receive any messages or calls.
5. Only Open Your Worksheet
Even without a phone on our desktop, we often procrastinate by checking non-work related matters. These things include social media, personal email inboxes, and unimportant websites.
You can get out of this routine by setting some rules for yourself. To help you focused at work try to open your email every two hours instead of doing it all the time.
If you cannot fight the urge, block websites that are not useful during working periods. Cold Turkey is one of the many tools that allow you to block not only browsers but also the entire computer.
6. Establish Some Working Agreements
Sometimes, what reduces the ability to concentrate is not you, but your surroundings. The office, for example, can be a noisy place at times.
However, you can agree with coworkers to not chat with one another unless there is a very important matter to talk about. Suggest agreeing on deep work hours, where co-workers should be as quiet as possible, for a certain time of day, to help stay focused at work.
7. Schedule Breaks
Working for eight hours straight is possible but will not make you a better worker. Instead, it can bring fatigue and boredom.
Because of that, you should include occasional breaks while planning your working days.
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that you can try to organize scheduled breaks. The technique divides your time into 25 minutes of working, followed by three to five minutes of recess. After four cycles, take a longer break for 15 to 30 minutes.
8. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
No matter how much of an achiever you are, having a healthy body is a must. Otherwise, keeping up with tight deadlines is only going to get harder.
To keep yourself healthy, consider exercising for at least 30 minutes a day. But that is not the only practice you should do.
The National Sleep Foundation states that not having enough sleep affects people’s performance at the workplace. With that in mind, you should leave work in the office, and sleep for seven to nine hours every night to rejuvenate your body. Don’t forget about the sleep quality as well – even such thing as a comfortable mattress can greatly affect your sleep quality.
Staying Focused while Working Remotely
It is normal to see freelancers or remote workers today. Because of that, here are some additional tips for those who work from home or co-working spaces.
1. Have a Dedicated Workplace
There are tons of possible distractions while working from home – whether it is a television or a bed.
Due to that reason, it is crucial to dedicate a space that can accommodate your productivity.
Try to find an unused space, and transform it into a mini office with a comfortable desk and chair.
2. Set a Schedule and Boundaries
Even though remote working means you are at home, it is important to set the “office hours.”
Some people have the misconception that by being at home, you are available. Because of that, you need to let people know when you are working.
Establishing time boundaries is also one of the ways to stay focus at work.
3. Interact with People
Remote working is relaxing and can boost productivity for some people. But for others, it can give a sense of loneliness.
Interacting with at least a couple of people is a necessity when you are working from home. So, try to reach out to family members who are at home.
If you need to feel more like in an office environment, find a comfortable co-working space in your area.
Performing poorly at work because of your lack of focus is the last thing you want to happen in your career.
Practicing the tips we share in this article will help improve your attention span and stay focused at work. Let’s take another look at all of them:
- Have daily goals
- Get into the state of “flow”
- Organize your tasks
- Turn off notifications
- Open nothing but your work
- Make workplace agreements
- Take breaks
- Live healthily
For freelancers and remote workers, it is also recommended to:
- Create a dedicated space for working
- Set working hours
- Interact with others during breaks
Do you have other tips on how to stay focused at work? Let us know by leaving a comment below!