Between phones ringing, text messages incoming, and a mounting number of emails, there are many distractions aimed at today’s worker. From the temptation to spend time on social media to chatting with colleagues, distraction is lurking around every corner. To combat distraction and stay focused at work, try the following seven tips.
Take Active Breaks
The importance of taking breaks is not stressed by most employers, but not taking breaks will impact your ability to focus and may negatively affect your health. If possible, plan to take at least a 10 minute break every 2-3 hours, and make your break an active one. Instead of talking with co-workers or grabbing another cup of coffee, take a short walk outside to get a breath of fresh air. Because exercise enhances your ability to concentrate, pairing it with a break from work will leave you refreshed.
Listen to Music
Listening to music in the background while you work can help you stay focused and drown out auditory distractions. However, it’s important to choose music that doesn’t compete with your thoughts and further distract you from the task at hand. For many workers, listening to classical or instrumental music is ideal and provides a calming effect. If your work environment is uncontrollably noisy, consider donning a set of headphones to listen to relaxing tunes.
Identify and Eliminate Distractions
Everyone experiences at least one or two preventable distractions during the work day. Whether it’s a co-worker interrupting your work flow or a steady stream of non-urgent phone calls, identify what distracts you the most while working. Then, establish boundaries by informing co-workers when you need privacy or let callers know your hours of availability in a voicemail message.
Because practically every task can be completed online, from banking to grocery shopping, giving work your undivided attention in an office setting can be challenging. Instead of attempting to overcome the temptation, eliminate it by working offline when possible. Use a note-keeping program to clip research and information that can be saved for offline review. Then, dedicate time to writing emails offline, completing reports, or brainstorming your next project.
Eat Healthy Meals
Staying nourished during the workday is one of the best ways to avoid fatigue and maintain concentration. Specifically, eating small, healthy meals throughout the day helps keep your energy up while avoiding dreaded mid-day hunger pains. Try keeping healthy foods, like granola, nuts, or raw vegetables at your work station for a quick snack in between meals.
Working in an office setting comes with multiple distractions, including the need to check your email throughout the day. Unfortunately, interrupting your work process to sign in, review new items in your inbox, and respond to messages can take your attention away for an average of 5-10 minutes at a time. During the course of a normal workday, these small breaks can add up quickly. Instead, use audible notifications to stay informed of incoming emails without switching focus away from your current task.
Though difficult to notice until it’s too late, neglecting to take vacations can gradually reduce your ability to concentrate at work. Even the most dedicated employees need time off to recharge their batteries; take time off periodically to boost your concentration at work.
How do you stay focused at work? Leave a comment sharing your tips!