It’s no secret that we live in the age of distraction. With endless information at our fingertips, both on computers and cellphones, completing a 30-minute task can seem like an impossible feat. People can’t even make it through a one-minute video! In theory, a person should be able to accomplish a lot within an eight-hour workday, but this proves difficult if you don’t have solid work habits.
According to psychologists, it’s unlikely that people focus or give undivided attention to any one task for more than three to five minutes at a time. Emails, text alerts, social media notifications, calls, conversation, and more are primary distractions. The crazy thing is that you can leave all of those things by the wayside, but you’re drawn to those distractions. Each person is very capable of avoiding work by paying attention to the aforementioned distractions.
How Do You Fight The Distractions?
The ability to focus is one of the hardest things to master in this life, and it’s one of the primary keys to success. The fact of the matter is that the brain can’t deal with perpetual distractions that try to disrupt your focus. However, you are able to train your brain and avoid the temptation of common distractions. You have to power to find more focus at work to function better and not be dependent on distractions. Below, you’ll find out what these tips are and how they can help improve your focus at work.
Put Your Phone Face Down
Studies have shown that each notification you see on your phone results in a small release of dopamine in the brain. The alert makes you feel excited, connected, and happy. It’s not feasible for someone to go from checking their phone all day to not checking it at all. For this reason, start small by facing your phone down and turning off the ringer. If you don’t see the notification, you won’t want to check it constantly. Additionally, set a timer on your phone for once every hour. Dedicate no more than five minutes to checking texts or emails, and then set the phone face down again.
Work In Blocks
Experts say that our attention span and ability to focus wanes as we continue to work throughout the day. By the end of the workday, it’s more common to get sucked into the vortex of distractions. It’s beneficial to set timers to take small breaks toward the end of the day. Reset your focus every hour by stretching, walking around the office, or listening to a song.
We’re not talking about magic mushrooms, although the medicinal properties of brain-boosting mushrooms seem magical. Thanks to numerous teas, capsules, and powders, it’s easy to make a focusing cup of mushroom tea that helps enhance attention and productivity. Some great mushrooms that improve focus and cognition include cordyceps, maitake, lion’s mane, and reishi. You won’t get the jitters of caffeine when you take these mushrooms, either!
The Pomodoro Technique
Spoiler alert: this helpful tip does not involve eating the classic Italian tomato sauce that you mix with pasta. The Pomodoro technique is a proven work schedule that involves working for 25 undisturbed minutes, and then breaking for five minutes. The “pomodoro” is the 25-minute focused time of work. Studies have shown that people who work in shorter bursts with frequent breaks are more productive than those who try to engage in a more traditional work schedule.
Plan Out Each Hour
Many people thrive off visual goals, so writing critical tasks down for each hour helps the brain stay motivated. If you need to accomplish a task within the next hour, write it down and you’ll be more determined to complete it. Write down tasks every hour and you’ll find that you can manage your work much more efficiently. Crossing them off your list also fills you with great satisfaction.
Schedule Distraction Time
Everyone needs distractions, no matter who they are. Some people need to check social media and others need to get lost in a pointless game that helps reduce stress. Make your distractions work for you, not against you, by scheduling distraction time. You can think of this time as a small reward for powering through work for a solid chunk of time. Remember, set a time limit on this distraction time to avoid losing control.
Practice Things Without Distractions
How do you get better at avoiding distractions? The answer is that you practice not being distracted. Start small by eating lunch without watching something on your phone. Eat your meal and don’t read, check emails, or watch YouTube videos on your phone. Once you finish, reward yourself with some distractions. Don’t doodle on your notepad in meetings or play on your phone. Be in the meeting. These things will help you develop a less-distracted work life.