Distractions are everywhere. From never ending phone notifications to racing thoughts, it can feel like a battle to stay focused on the task at hand. Sadly, we can’t make more hours in the day, but we can change the way we approach work.
Here are five ways you can regain your focus, get back to work and get stuff done – without spending more time on work.
1. Start with a to-do list
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Set yourself up for success with a clear, actionable to-do list, ordered by priority. Whilst it can feel easy and satisfying to tick off smaller, less important tasks, you’ll still have that big project due on your manager’s desk by Friday looming over you.
Feeling unorganised can directly impact our ability to tick what matters off our list. Focusing your energy on the pressing tasks for your week will help you to understand what you need to do and by when. The University of Rhode Island outlines the different ways you can divide up your workload, including by day or by priority.
2. Listen to background music
Find a playlist of white noise or music with no lyrics to help your concentration, like this one on Spotify. Or, create your own personal playlist of music that helps you to get into the zone. There have been many studies showing that listening to music can increase focus and help you to absorb information easier.
But, it’s important not to distract yourself so much that you end up singing along instead of completing the job at hand! Find a balance of what music you work best to – lo-fi music is a popular genre that’s thought to calm you as you work.
3. Exercise regularly
Getting some fresh air and steps in before you start work or doing a home workout on your lunch break can help to release endorphins that give us that ‘feel good factor’. With more of us working from home, scheduling in time to take a break for exercise can have a huge impact on your productivity.
You don’t need to run the London Marathon – just set yourself a realistic, achievable goal each week. For example, you might start off with 15-minute walks this week and increase your walk by 15 minutes each week until you reach an hour.
4. Boost your mood
Our mood has a lot to answer for when it comes to how well we’re able to pay attention, no matter how soon that deadline may be. A negative mood can impact how we feel and act whether it’s taking a long walk, reading a few chapters of your new book or cooking a healthy meal, taking time out to relax and recharge your batteries will improve your mood.
Whilst it might seem counterproductive to get stuff done by doing nothing, it will allow you to come back to your project with a fresh mindset.
5. Practice mindfulness
You’ll have noticed a trend when it comes to getting work done: your approach matters, even when you’re not working. Mindfulness is a technique that everyone can take advantage of to improve your attention and performance.
By taking the time to learn methods that can help you work smarter, not harder, you’ll have more time to spend doing what you love – as well as the satisfaction of a job well done!
Do you struggle to focus?
With our motivational messages and expert advice, based on years of clinical and educational experience, you will soon find ways to reduce working memory overload and channel your attention.