Are you struggling to stay focused at work? Do you find yourself constantly thinking about what's for lunch and when the new episode of your favorite TV show will be aired? You're not alone. Most people who have a job, have either experienced this or currently do. Luckily, there are some DIY tricks that can aid the limited attention span, restlessness, and distractibility at work. Here's how to fight them off!
Prioritize your tasks
One of the most important ways to improve your focus is to prioritize the tasks that need to be done. Obviously, you want to knock out the ones that are most important first then the smaller ones for later. An easy way to keep track of them is to label them as A's, B's, or C's. "A" tasks need to be completed within two hours, "B" tasks need to be completed by the end of the day, and "C" tasks need to be completed by the end of the week. Failing to prioritize can easily lead to organizational and distractibility issues so try a new system that can help with that.
Designated email time
Many of us are guilty of checking our emails as soon as they come in. Sometimes it can even be overwhelming! With all of the constant emails that come in, they can distract you from the task at hand and quickly make you lose focus. Try setting a specific period of time to read these emails, rather than reading them as soon as they come in. Depending on your job and how time sensitive your emails are, determine whether those emails can wait or not. If they can wait a little longer, why not set a time?
Limit other distractions
Persistent calls/voicemails, texts, emails, and notifications can really be a huge distraction in the workplace. Just like setting time aside for emails, you can do the same for your voicemails! Social media is another major distraction, especially if you let your apps send you push notifications. You're working then Twitter pops up with the newest trending tweet, Facebook notifies you if someone comments on your post, Instagram tells you every single time someone is doing a live video. SO DISTRACTING. Try changing up your settings to not receive any of those notifications and maybe only checking them out at lunch and when you get home from work.
Smaller chunks of work
If you are feeling overwhelmed at work, chances are you may be taking on more than you can handle. If you start feeling stressed or anxious, try smashing your workload into smaller, more manageable bits. If you have something huge due by the end of the week, start at the beginning and work on it little by little every day. Surely, you will feel more prepared and confident the closer it gets to the due date. Procrastination and a full workload all at once has been known to throw people off their course and cause major anxiety. Avoid that!
Work in one location only
Some people don't really have to worry about this one. But, if you're like me, and you get distracted by a song and start singing all the lyrics instead of studying, then you may want to follow this. If you are in a coffee shop one day, the library another, and at your home office yet another, it can make you give in to distracting external stimuli. Being consistent with a location that is free from distraction is a great way to increase your work performance and concentration. At home may be one of the best, unless you have a really stinkin' cute pet that you can't stop staring at. (Me)
Set a timer
This goes back to prioritizing tasks. You always want to make sure that you are knocking out all of the "A" tasks within two hours so it's nice to have a timer on hand to keep your mind from going astray. This is also very helpful if your job consists of cold calling. You don't want to spend too much time talking to each person on the phone so you set a timer for maybe 5-6 minutes then come to a stopping point. That way, you can stay on track and call many more people.
Declutter you work space
Have you ever really needed this one paper that you were certain you printed out but cannot find it for the life of you? Same. That is because we are probably not the most organized with our work space. I've spent maybe 10-15 minutes looking for a sheet I really needed (that was written on and couldn't be printed) and I finally found it in between the two most random papers that had no correlation to the one I needed. I could have been doing a lot more productive things, obviously. So, I decided to start labeling folders, designating areas, and shredding old unnecessary papers. I am WAY more focused than before.
De-stress with relaxation techniques
If you have ADHD, are anxiety-driven, or even if you're just stressed, it is super important to take little breaks to get your mind back on track. Whether it be taking a walk around your office, meditating, breathing, or a quick yoga sesh, all of these can be very helpful to get your blood and brain cells going for work. Once you reassess, you will be ready to knock out tasks and the day will go by much faster. I've found that yoga poses have helped me the most. Not the crazy hard positions but the the mountain pose, cow/cat pose, child's pose, and downward facing dog are easy and feel amazing!
If you're feeling stressed or distracted in your workplace, then try out these very helpful ways to maximize your productivity and efficiency at work! 🙂