At work, as in everyday life, there are sometimes days with and days without... Like everyone else, you’ve probably experienced an uncomfortable feeling of inefficiency. And what could be more unpleasant than to find yourself in front of your computer while feeling like you’re suddenly unable to accomplish any task?
Rest assured, lacking concentration is a totally normal phenomenon! However, there are several methods to limit this and avoid the famous “blank page syndrome” as much as possible. How do you focus on work efficiently to improve productivity and accomplish all your missions without any problem, from the smallest task to the biggest challenges?
There’s only one good method: yours! Here are a few tips to add to your work routine, to best reach the goal that you’ve set for yourself.
Get to know yourself
Because each person is different, the causes of focus loss at work can be diverse and varied. Distractions, applications on your smartphone, stress... To counter them, it’s important to identify the reasons for which you’re distracted the most.
Recognize your blocks
When it comes to focus and attention, not all individuals are equal. Similarly, depending on the time of year, we’re not as productive as others, due to external events and our internal functioning.
The most important thing is to recognize your weaknesses in order to better counter them and become more efficient. If you’re unable to focus on certain tasks, perhaps it’s simply because you doubt your skills and lack confidence in yourself. Maybe it’s just a small slump or a problem you're having right now. So start by defining what the main source of your difficulty in concentrating is.
Identify the sources of distractions
Not all individuals are susceptible to the same sources of distraction. What are things that cause you to lose precious minutes? Are you spending too much time on social media? Are you telecommuting and also have your children at home with you? Are they constantly asking for your attention? Are you in the office and your colleagues are asking you for your attention all day long?
In order to maximize your concentration and avoid procrastination, it’s imperative to be fully aware of how you function and of the essential causes of why you’re feeling scattered.
Find ways to get away from distractions
Once you’ve identified the distractors, you’ll need to find a way to learn to deal with them. For example, perhaps it’s best to turn off your phone or put it on silent?
If your colleagues or your children tend to distract you, isolate yourself by closing the door of your office... Nevertheless, if you decide to change your habits at work, think of warning your colleagues. This could save you a lot of misunderstandings!
Surround yourself with things that motivate
On the other hand, certain elements that surround you are likely to boost your motivation. For example, consider personalizing your workspace. This is a very motivating factor.
Add a picture of your children, some flowers, or even a scented candle... Feeling good in the office is an essential element to maximize your focus!
Analyze your daily life
In addition to the intrinsic qualities and faults of each person, the small habits we have in our daily lives also have an impact on our lack of focus.
The impact of lack of sleep on focus
Sleep is a crucial element in focus. However, insomnia is a sleep anomaly that affects about 26% of the population. Fatigue tends to cloud the brain and reduce attention. To achieve restful sleep, think about doing the following:
- having a good mattress to avoid back pain,
- going to bed early enough to get enough sleep,
- reading and relaxing before bedtime,
- avoiding blue light before going to bed, and
- limiting coffee or tobacco consumption in the second half of the day.
On average, it’s recommended to sleep 7.5 hours per night.
Food as a driving force
As the saying goes, it’s important to eat a healthy and balanced diet. A healthy mind resides in a healthy body. So, do you have a healthy diet? By the way, what exactly do we mean when we talk about good nutrition?
Your breakfast should be nutritious enough to last you until lunch without cravings or hunger. It should give your body enough energy to stay focused all morning.
Similarly, your lunch should be sufficiently nourishing to allow you to remain efficient all afternoon. On the other hand, it shouldn’t be too heavy so that you don’t fall asleep during digestion and lose productivity completely.
Physical activity to boost your focus
Studies also show that physical activity has a very stimulating impact on the brain. In fact, concentration tends to increase considerably in the 2 to 3 hours following the practice of a sport activity. So think about incorporating some into your daily routine...
For example, why not walk or cycle to work? Lunchtime is also a good time to take a break from exercise. Perhaps there is a gym near your office? In general, there’s nothing more effective than an active break to stay motivated in the rest of your tasks.
Take time for yourself
Working seven days a week is a very bad idea! Your body and mind need rest and relaxation to remain productive. So think about taking some time for yourself, to cut yourself off from your work environment.
Give yourself a weekend away or a getaway every now and then. Go shopping with friends... Any moment of relaxation is good to take in order to cut yourself off from everyday life, to recharge your batteries, and to be able to focus again when you need to.
Adapt your work environment
To stay focused, working in a comfortable and ergonomic work environment is essential.
Check your work area
You’d be surprised at the impact a tidy, properly organized office has on productivity. Having everything at hand saves a lot of time.
Having the right tools and furniture also makes work more comfortable and enjoyable. So ask yourself the right questions: Is your chair comfortable? Is your computer in the right place? Do you have enough light? Or maybe too much light?
Simply put, your screen should be about 40 cm from you, at eye level. Your phone and frequently used tools should be on the side of your dominant hand.
Throw away, tidy up, clean up, and make a clean sweep!
A healthy work environment starts with being tidy. It’s therefore best to get rid of anything you don’t need in your work area. Do a thorough cleanup and make sure your work area is no longer cluttered.
A disorganized, overcrowded desk makes you feel like you’re overwhelmed by a mountain of work. On the other hand, a perfectly clean and ergonomic desk makes it easier to see clearly and eliminates stress.
Don’t leave anything distracting on your desk
As much as possible, avoid leaving distracting items on your desk, starting with your phone, unless it’s useful in your daily tasks. Don’t open your favorite social networking page on your computer screen either.
Distractions are particularly time consuming! To avoid them, consider scheduling a certain amount of time to answer your messages and emails in your day. The rest of the time, it’s best to avoid being bothered by these things.
To do this, try putting your phone on silent for a while or consider turning off your email or social media notifications.
Take breaks whenever necessary
Even if you make every effort to stay focused for as long as possible, it’s humanly impossible to stay attentive for several hours. So set aside time to work and allow yourself small breaks.
These are essential and help you to tackle new tasks on the right foot, being all the more productive. For a well-organized day, think about scheduling blocks of time, for example, by setting an alarm every 60 to 90 minutes to take a short 5-minute break.
Put your brain in work mode
The brain is a fickle organ that tends to scatter very quickly. To avoid getting scattered, work on yourself and put yourself in a more constructive frame of mind to help increase productivity.
Leave your worries aside
Easier said than done, but try as much as possible to leave your problems aside and not bring them to the office. The brain often has a hard time concentrating on two things at once.
If you have worries, leave them aside for the duration of your work day. Chances are, you won’t be able to solve them from your desk anyway.
Personal worries only add to your day-to-day problems, making you less effective in the workplace as well. Stay focused on your task...
Once you're satisfied with your professional mission, you'll be all the more likely to find solutions to your personal worries.
Change your mindset to motivate yourself
First and foremost, learn to take the time to start your day off right. If you tend to rush to work in the morning or arrive late, you’ll feel stressed from the start of the day. This is totally counterproductive!
Taking your time and changing your mindset on your way to work will help you stay focused for a long time. In addition, don’t look at your work as a constraint. Move forward with a positive mindset at all times.
Make task lists
Make it a point to prepare each day in advance and list all the tasks you have to accomplish. This will help you get everything you need ready ahead of time and mentally prepare for the workload you’ll have to accomplish.
Furthermore, having a plan prevents you from getting distracted. With a pre-filled agenda, you won’t have to wonder, and you’ll just have to follow the tasks one by one, without any interruptions between each one.
Ask questions, exchange with colleagues
Don’t face your problems alone, and don’t hesitate to check in with your colleagues and talk with them to help find solutions. Teamwork can sometimes be very productive. In fact, this is precisely why many companies organize brainstorming sessions!
Do breathing and meditation exercises
To stay focused and relaxed and to learn to tune out all the elements around you, nothing is more effective than meditation and breathing exercises. There are a lot of applications to introduce you to this practice. Similarly, yoga is a highly recommended activity to promote concentration.
If, despite these tips, you can’t focus on work, it may be that your job is simply not for you anymore. In this case, stop suffering from your daily routine and start thinking about changing your job now.
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