How To Focus On Your Work If You're Easily Distracted
I’m sure that we’ve experienced moments when we’re easily distracted at work after being in the workforce for some time now. Facing the computer screen for at least eight hours a day does not help much either as both our focus and energy levels would dip, making us lose our concentration. It doesn’t matter what field of career we’re in.
With that in mind, I hope to provide a handful of tips that I hope would be of great assistance in preventing you from distractions.
1. Crack the toughest work in the morning
First and foremost, you should endeavour to complete the hardest tasks first thing in the morning. That’s when your concentration levels are at its highest, especially after having breakfast and a well-rested night. Once you can fully concentrate on your work, it permits you to place more focus on the tasks at hand. High Performance Lifestyle elaborates to ‘put whatever focus work you have as close to the morning as possible when you have the most energy when you have the most vitality.’ What this means is that you should get working as soon as you’ve clocked in at work instead of engaging in conversations with your colleagues, even if it is before the start of an office hour. You are better off saving those small talks for the lunch break and whenever you need fresher ideas.
2. Prioritize and prioritize your work
You should also prioritize your tasks according to its urgency or its expected completion date to prevent the need for multitasking. Although multitasking would prove to your superior that you’re good in concurrently balancing a wide array of tasks, Very Well Mind writes that ‘juggling multiple tasks at once can dramatically cut down on productivity and makes it much harder to hone in on the details that are truly important.’ It is assumable from this quote that multitasking may be a double-edged sword. Not only could you run the risk of being distracted, but you might also end up making mistakes as a result. Your concentration is divided across the tasks instead of on one thing at a time.
3. Respect the lunch hour given to you
Another advice is to strive to catch your lunch out of the office and not to fall into the temptation of working through your lunch break. As I’m guilty of doing this myself, I can assure that it is not a good thing at all. By not giving your mind that hour’s worth of rest, you are more susceptible to exhaustion and distraction before the end of a workday.
4. Take timed breaks.
While on the topic of taking a break, you should take five in a safe place whenever you feel yourself losing focus on the tasks at hand. It doesn’t matter where you head, be it in the pantry or in the toilet, as long as you’re away from the computer screen for a minute.
For me, when this happens, what I do is to push the task aside and allow my brain to rest by momentarily doing something else. Very Well Mind encourages this by penning, ‘Shift your attention to something unrelated to the task at hand, even if it is only for a few moments. These short moments of respite might mean that you are able to keep your mental focus sharp and your performance high when you really need it.’ This would include having timed breaks to stimulate your mind when you’re running low on ideas, creativity or mood to complete the work. Sometimes looking at the piece of paper with the hopes that it’ll give you an angle to work with would only cause to procrastinate.
5. Listening to music
If you ask me for my personal opinion on this, I’d say that it is a double-edged sword. As music can be a good form of accompaniment in the office, most of us including myself would rather listen to our music with headphones to concentrate on our work. It is not a recommended advice if you’re someone who is easily distracted by just a tad bit of noise.
Rics Recruit emphasises on this point because of this: the ‘fine line between the amount of ambient sound that can help you be more productive and something that is simply distracting. As mentioned earlier, new music can occupy your attention while songs with lots of bass and other dissonant features can disrupt your focus.’ What this means is that your song choices could cause more harm rather than give you the much-needed concentration. If you can’t work in the silence, you could opt to listen to classical music. Classical music doesn’t have any accompanying vocals and is soothing to the ears. If you’re not a fan of this genre, you could try searching for the dedicated playlists on Spotify as an alternative. RicsRecruit.com encourages this because ‘it can be difficult to concentrate in a noisy office. Chatter from nearby colleagues, ringing phones or even just a loud photocopier can draw your attention away from the task at hand.’ Failing which, you and your colleagues could agree on a list of mutual favourite songs to listen to in the office with a good quality speaker.
The above are my five personal tips to prevent any distractions from happening in the workplace. I hope it will assist you as much as it did for me working in an open-plan office, being surrounded by the sounds of videos playing in the background and chatters.
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