Distractions are everywhere. Whether you’re watching the news or looking at social media, there is always new information to digest. When trying to stay on task, it can be difficult to know what to tune out and when. For a clear and uncluttered mind, proper preparation can help.
7 Tips On How To Stay Focused
1. Know where you want to go. It’s easy to become distracted if you already feel lost. Knowing which direction you’re going in can make a huge difference. When at work, understand which project needs to be managed first before breaking it into smaller steps. This way, you have a firm understanding on what the overall goal is that you’re trying to achieve.
2. Prioritize. Once you know the ultimate goal for a day’s work, each project must be broken into smaller tasks. By breaking a project goal into smaller and more manageable pieces, you can avoid the stress that comes along with feeling cluttered. Since stress and anxiety can lead to sought-after distractions like social media or wikipedia, avoiding unnecessary anxiety is key when it comes to productivity. To successfully prioritize a project, first examine all of the parts that need to get done. Once this is accomplished, you can rank them from most important to least important.
3. Set breaks. Distractions can occur when we’re lagging. Late afternoons can be especially difficult to plow through once the morning coffee has worn off. Creating a snack or coffee break every few hours can help you to recharge after staring at a screen or driving a car for long periods of time. Setting designated time slots for distractions can motivate you to work longer and with more focus because you know that you will be able to take a designated, intentional break in a relatively short time.
4. Exercise. Getting enough exercise throughout the day is important, especially if you work on a computer. Going outside in the fresh air is recommended, but if you cannot go outside, even doing an at-home workout can be greatly beneficial. By stepping outside for a ten minute walk every few hours, your mind has time to rest. When we feel refreshed and energized, we can often return to a task with better focus and concentration.
5. Unplug. For those that do not need to be online or connected to a smartphone, unplugging can eliminate many unnecessary distractions. Phones and computers can cause people to lose concentration when notifications or alerts come up. If you cannot unplug from a computer, turning off these alerts can make a difference. Closing out social media windows or tabs and muting the volume allow for maximum concentration if you need to work online.
6. Stop multitasking. Multitasking can seriously compromise our ability to complete tasks well. While it may seem like we’re getting more done with our time, many projects can actually take longer to finish while we are dividing our time into multiple projects. By focusing on one thing at a time, we can give our full attention to quality work while minimizing the stress that comes with shifting our attention back and forth. If you have trouble accomplishing one task at a time, try only using one tap with one open window on a computer screen. Although it may seem slow at first, production is usually better performed this way.
7. Pull yourself out. Everybody gets distracted from time to time. When you find yourself staring at an article you didn’t mean to read or flipping through pictures on social media, pause and take a time out. Say to yourself, “I’m distracted” and then count to ten before going back to the task at hand. By acknowledging you are distracted, you can slow the thought process down in your head, avoid negative self-talk and remember where and when you were distracted. This way, when it happens again, you can start to see a pattern.
Concentration Takes Practice
Concentration is a skill. By training our focus on one thing at a time, we can learn how to harness our attention. Reading is an easy way to do this. By reading a physical book, we are not distracted by screen time and can concentrate solely on what is written on the page. By practicing this way of operating, the quality of any project can be improved.