Technology, social media, the news – all move at a rapid pace. So our brains are accustomed to absorbing news fast, scrolling, and being updated. None of this encourages our minds to take their time and focus for designated periods.
Focus means the time that we are concentrating or paying attention to a particular thing, project, or person. Ideally, when someone is focusing, they are giving all of their attention to a specific thing. In terms of work, from the moment you open your laptop, to the moment you close, it should be spent in focus. But that doesn’t mean you would be in focus the whole time. Unless you are choosing deep work as a method to get things done.
There are many benefits to being focused. Teaching yourself to be able to concentrate and dedicated to the task in hand is essential. Increasing the length of time that you can concentrate on. Improving your absorption of information is great for being able to take in more complex information too.
The more often you are able to stay on task, the more you will be able to get done overall. Removing as many distractions as possible will allow you to get into the focus zone. You are more likely to get a lot of your work done if you work in focused periods.
When you can fully focus on what you do, you will produce a higher level of work. Your attention to detail will be greater. So not only will you be more productive, but you will be noticeably higher quality.
Something that is really interesting about using focus to your advantage. It is the momentum and motivation that it builds. Knowing that you have the capability to get things finished to a high standard, in reduced time with fewer distractions, feels pretty great.
When you are ahead of your deadlines, you will reduce the amount of stress that you have associated with your work. Tension builds up when deadlines are looming. However, when you are focused, with minimal to zero distractions, you will minimize your stress by ticking more off of your to-do list.
Now you know the benefits of focusing at work, how can you make it work for you?
Improving Your Focus at Work
There are a number of things that you can do in order to improve your focus at work.
You should train your mind to be able to focus for longer periods. This starts by using smaller, concentrated periods. There are a number of concentrated timers that you can use to help you create a focus and break routine. The focus and break routine allow you to have 15-20 minutes of deep concentration, followed by 5-minute breaks, and after 4 focus blocks, there is a more extended break. It is essential to use your breaks to take a walk and get some water. It will prevent you from causing neck strain, eye strain, fatigue, and a range of back issues like lower back pain when breathing, pressure, and pain.
If you have a large number of tasks, you are going to need to put the important ones up front. As the day goes on, you might lose some of your enthusiasm. List your tasks in order of importance. Another great idea is to ‘eat the frog.’ This means that you do the jobs that you are least looking forward to first. Overcoming that task means the rest of the day will feel much more comfortable in comparison.
You will be more productive if you have fewer distractions. This will enable you to stay focused on the tasks at hand – rather than having your concentration pulled in multiple directions. Try not to check out social media during your focused periods, and turn off any notifications that aren’t essential to your workday.
A space with fewer distractions, people passing by, or TV noise is going to be better for you.
Use noise-canceling headphones and try listening to binaural beats, classical music, and music filled with nature sounds. You can get very scientific on your playlist in order to increase your productivity too.
Learning to keep your mind quiet for long periods of time can help you in your quest to breathe through stressful moments and with the ability to push intruding and distracting thoughts away from your mind. There are many smartphone apps that can help you build up your meditation time. The calm app and Headspace are great places to start.
Stepping away from your work for periods of time is excellent for you. Spending some time walking in the woods, or by water will help your brain work in the background. Allowing for that space means your mind has the room to start making a different set of connections. Kind of like when you have your best idea at 3am or in the shower.
Taking breaks is very important. Using some breaks to exercise or get a walk is essential, and taking short breaks between focus sessions is also essential. But taking a real break means not working for a few days and longer at a time. This is to give you time to recharge and recoup. It is also great for your mental health to be able to take breaks and not feel guilty about it.
Regular breaks will stop you from burning out, and give you the energy to move forward when you go back to work.
Something else that can make a big difference to how energized you are and how motivated to complete your work is how much you sleep. If you aren’t getting high-quality sleep, then you might notice that concentration is impacted, and you find focusing difficult.
Creating a nighttime routine that works for you is essential. Ditching the mobile phone, swapping coffee for caffeine-free drinks halfway through the afternoon, and listening to sleep stories are just a few ways to improve your evening rest.