It’s an inconvenient truth that for most of us, our inability to stay focused can often be embarrassing. We have become easily distracted, and the incapability to maintain concentration makes us feel like we’re perpetually drifting from one activity to the next without ever really getting anything accomplished.
We all face distractions that pull us away from what needs to be done. Our social media feeds, TVs and smartphones are constantly demanding our attention. In today’s fast-paced world, only a better focus can let you stay on task and get the job done. Here are ten practical tips that will improve your focus and concentration level.
The first step in improving focus is to get rid of the distractions that surround you. A good rule to follow when you need to concentrate is to go around the house and turn off all of the TVs and electronic devices lying around. If you do not need to watch a specific show or listen to a particular podcast, leave it off.
Take Short Breaks
A growing body of research suggests that taking short breaks from work helps us stay focused and creative, and this is especially true for knowledge workers who use their brains to do mental tasks.
A study done by Kalevi Korpela and her fellow researchers in 2016 found that taking short breaks helps increase productivity and decreases the risk of burnout. Furthermore, the rest times helped employees come up with more creative solutions to problems and think more clearly. Some employers may even allow employees the opportunity to work from home or take a vacation day if they need a break from work.
However, taking a breather is not all about going home and having a nap, though that is an excellent option. You can also take short walks, chew gum, or do some stretches as you work to get your body moving and the blood flowing back into your brain.
Reduce Time on Social Media
Social media has become a significant time suck for people all over the world. It is easy to get lost in your feed, scrolling through commentary on other people’s lives that has nothing to do with you. Not only does this take away from the time that you could be used for more critical tasks, but it also could be contributing to unhappiness because you’re constantly comparing your life to what others are posting about theirs.
If you want to boost concentration, block out the unnecessary distractions and refocus your attention on one task at a time. So, when you are working, make sure that your social media apps are closed, and notifications are turned off.
Stick to a Schedule To Keep Your Day on Track
Sticking to a schedule is an essential key to prioritizing tasks and being more productive. It trains your brain to work at peak efficiency. This is because a lack of consistency in your routine causes confusion and distracts you from the task at hand.
If your day is scheduled out for you, then there’s nothing left for your brain to think about – all the decisions have been made for you already! You can execute your plan without distraction.
Write out a list of tasks you need to complete. Include due dates, the task’s priority level, and how long each will take to complete. Next, prioritize those tasks based on urgency and importance. And lastly, go through your list one by one, checking things off.
Do the Most Important Thing First
We are creatures of habit. As a result, we can get stuck in a rut, doing the same thing day in and day out. It is especially true for those of us with a creative profession, where it is hard to know what to tackle first, where to start, and how to stay productive.
Some people use a common strategy to choose the first task based on the order of importance. If you are going with this approach, make sure you understand what your priorities and urgencies are before starting your day to stay on top of your work.
Taking at least one paid online survey in the morning can help you get into a productive groove and also give you a sense of accomplishment when you finish the job. Then when you have done this for a few days, it will be easier for you to see which duties are the most critical ones and tackle them first instead of spreading yourself thin trying to do several different tasks at once.
There is an alarming trend of mental illness in today’s world and a lack of mindfulness in daily life. If you invest your time in one thing only, meditation would be worth considering as it provides the most benefits with the least effort.
Meditation has been shown to significantly reduce levels of anxiety, depression, and mental fatigue while improving memory and focus. It also improves emotional regulation and positive moods. And finally, it has been proven that more mindful people are better at decision-making and problem-solving than those who do not practice mindfulness.
There is some evidence to suggest that multitasking is not as effective as most people think. In fact, it can be detrimental to your productivity and can even cause mistakes.
In a study conducted by Stanford University, researchers found out that participants who were the most competent at multitasking also had the worst performance in a test measuring their cognitive abilities.
Brainpower is finite, and when you are multitasking, your brain has to spend time shifting between tasks instead of focusing on one job, which you could have likely completed more efficiently with less effort.
Set a Timer
It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re working. A timer will keep you focused on the task at hand and help you determine how much time you should be spending working on the assignment to avoid procrastination.
For example, if you’re having difficulty focusing on the task at hand, set a timer for 15 minutes and try to work on it without interruption. Or, if you’re working on a project that requires multiple hours of work, set the timer for 45 minutes and have it alert you every 15 minutes. It will help you stay on task while also providing breaks so that your mind doesn’t get overwhelmed or bored with the task at hand.
Working in short bursts helps you stay focused, which boosts productivity and makes you more efficient when it comes to completing your work.
Get Enough Rest
Sleep is perhaps one of the most important things to consider if you want to have any chance of getting things done. If you are not getting enough sleep, it can be hard to allocate the right amount of time to your work and not get distracted.
At the same time, if you consistently sleep well, you can focus your attention and achieve higher levels of performance. More importantly, sleep is essential for optimal cognitive functioning, the ability to store knowledge, problem-solving, and to sharpen the skills needed to respond quickly to changing situations.
If you are struggling with staying focused and productive, this may be an area where you need to turn things around.
Regularly Remind Yourself of Your Big Dreams
There is nothing worse than waking up feeling unfulfilled and uninspired. It’s at these times when we need to remind ourselves of our goals and aspirations.
A great way to stay focused on your end goals is to write them down somewhere and review them often. Then, constantly remind yourself of the reasons that make you wake up every day and what you want to accomplish in life.