Sometimes it’s hard to stay focused. It doesn’t matter if you’re a manager or a staff member; there are days when it’s tough to stay on track. In fact, the average employee loses just over two hours every day to work distractions. How can you improve those numbers by eliminating distractions and staying focused on the job?
Tips for Staying Focused
You know the drill. You’re working away, and an email pops up. Or an instant message. Or maybe a coworker stops by your office. Each of these events takes you away from what you were concentrating on. This type of context switching happens every day, and each time you must regain your focus somehow and get back to the job. Until the next distraction. What can you do? Here are seven tips.
- Go into the day with a plan. Before you shut down your computer for the evening, map out the next day. Write down the small or large goals you want to achieve. Quantify the goals with the time they’ll take and add that into your calendar.
- Focus on the most challenging tasks early in the day when you are fresh. Save the busy work, like checking emails, for just after lunch when your body is busy digesting.
- Set a limit on your day. Instead of staying until the work is done, set a time limit for when you’re working—and when you’re not. Having a quantifiable day is important, particularly if you’re working from home. Stay focused at the end of the day, which in turn may help you focus on the work that will help you get there.
- Do not multitask. You heard that right. The studies show us that humans cannot multitask well. Each time you try to juggle more than one thing at a time, your productivity reduces by 40%. Block out time on your calendar when you are not answering emails or IMs or even your phone if you need to do heads-down work. Let your coworkers know you are trying to improve your focus with organized time and that you’ll respond to their emails, texts, and IMs between the hours of (blank) and (blank).
- Take a walk after lunch. Take breaks. There’s plenty of data showing that getting up, moving around, stretching, and just getting away from the computer for a time will improve your focus when you return. You can (and should) do the same if you work from home.
- Get enough sleep. We know you’ve heard this before. You also probably know Americans are chronically sleep-deprived. But sleep sharpens your attention and gives you the energy you need to stay focused throughout the day.
- Declutter your workspace. In fact, take 15-minutes at the end of the day to not only jot down your schedule and goals for the next day but also to declutter your desk. When you come in the next day, rested from a good night’s sleep with a good plan in place, you will have a clean, organized desk to keep you on track.
Sometimes it isn’t you but the job that is causing distractions. If you’re considering a job move, consider Stellar Staffing. We help employees find better work environments every day. Call us to find out what we can do for you.