Regardless of where you are working from, home, coffee shop, or office, distractions happen. Sometimes it is difficult and time-consuming to regain your focus after getting interrupted, while some can refocus quickly. If you are going to do your best work, you must learn how to avoid these distractions and stay focused.
Focus Is a Rare Commodity
It is essential to recognize that in a distraction economy, focus is a rare commodity. The distraction economy is defined as a “system that revolves primarily around paying, receiving and seeking what is most intrinsically limited and not replaceable by anything else, namely the attention of other human beings,” by Michael Goldhaber. Leaders must learn how to minimize distractions in the workplace and help their team members stay focused on their daily work.
As a leader, you should schedule a time to focus. What you schedule, you will accomplish. The first step is to set time on your calendar to complete your most important projects. It is recommended that you review tomorrow’s schedule at the end of the previous day and schedule time for your most important tasks.
Although we are social creatures, it is vital to spend time alone. Although I am not a fan of this, it’s helpful to close your office door or put on a pair of noise-canceling headphones, letting those around you know that you do not want to be interrupted. It would help if you also considered making a day in the week as a meeting-free day.
Spend Time Offline
You should take some time to be offline. The constant ping from the influx of emails, texts, and Slack messages distracts and can make it nearly impossible to truly focus. You may want to try turning off notifications or using a tool to block content. You may also attempt a plan to zero strategies.
You might want to lower the room temperature. To increase your focus, lower the temperature in your office. There are several studies that demonstrate that in warmer environments, “your mind becomes focused on maintaining its body temperature, either cooling or heating, in a room that’s too coo cold or too hot—taking away from your concentration.”
You should be comfortable. If you think you sit too much during the day, consider a standing desk. If you find it chilly in your workplace, consider keeping a comfortable blanket handy. Find what works for you, and you will find it easier to stay focused.
You may want to turn on some music. Research has found that listening to music increases creativity. This is called the Mozart Effect. After studying the effect of music on the brain, the researchers determined that music engages areas of the brain involved in paying attention, making predictions, and updating memory.
You should recognize that what you consume affects your focus. You must watch how food affects your focus. Pay attention to what you eat and drink. How does it make you feel when you are working? Does that second cup of coffee help you focus, or does it make you jittery? Perhaps it is important that you keep snacks handy or track your water intake to make sure you stay hydrated. There are several foods that have been shown to aid in concentration.
Create Mini Goals
You should establish mini-goals. A mini goal is a small project. One that you can accomplish in a set period. For example, you may want to create a mini-goal of writing a 500-word blog post in 45 minutes several times a week.
Finally, you should take frequent breaks. It is important not to attempt to power through your day without working in some breaks. It is vital to pause often, whether you make another cup of coffee, take a quick walk, or pause for a few minutes of meditation.
To get the most out of every workday, you must commit to being intentional with how you spend your time. Instead of letting every distraction capture your attention, make keeping yourself focused a priority. Implementing a few of the ideas suggested here can give you a focus boost. And this will help you thrive.