Distractions are a very common part of the work day.
Whether you work in an office, or from home, you probably can’t easily escape the sounds of your cell phone, doors opening and closing, others walking around and talking. It’s clearly a disruption to your workflow. Our best recruiters tend to set daily objectives to have completed by certain times of the day. This method is adaptable by nearly any office or work from home setting.
Here are 4 tips to help keep you focused throughout the work day.
This should go without saying, but you’re at work to perform daily responsibilities. The silver lining is that you are able to complete these tasks at your own pace throughout the day. Figure out a few of your responsibilities, set a time frame, and crush your goal. Once you have accomplished your first set of objectives, it is okay to take a brain break and check email or answer a text. Studies show that if you are able to take a few rewarding breaks throughout the day you’ll stay more focused in the long run and accomplish more. These breaks need to be a reward, and not whenever you hear your phone buzz.
Have a list of your daily goals, and check each one off as you work through your day. By avoiding Multitasking, you’re able to give 100% focus to a single task and thus performing at a higher level. Our mind is unable to focus on more than one thing at a time, and in fact, ‘multi-tasking’ just means switching from one thing to another very, very quickly. And the more we switch, the more energy we use (And the more energy we use, the less we have to stay focused on what matters).
Bonus: Sort your daily tasks by level of priority.
You’ve probably noticed that you’re able to stay more focused at different times of day. For most people, our peak distraction times occur between 12-4 p.m. and we feel an especially strong ‘crash’ around 2:00 p.m. Your brain handles tough cognitive loads best in the late morning hours (around 10am). At this point in the day your brain is fully awake, it’s (hopefully) fed, and humming along quite nicely. We recommend scheduling meetings, conference call, interviews, and anything of high-importance from 10am-12pm.
If you are scheduling your day correctly, your week will fall into place perfectly. Here’s why, any tasks that were pushed to the afternoon or tomorrow are now considered ‘high-importance’, meaning you will accomplish those objectives the following morning around 10am. The cycle continues, as you will continue to push lower level tasks to the afternoon, only to complete them in the mid morning the following day. Simple right?
Research shows that chewing gum increases the oxygen flow to the parts of your brain responsible for attention. It also improves your long term memory and injects a bit of insulin into your blood which may help give your brain that added energy boost.
If gum’s not your thing, have a snack. Your brain gets energy from glucose, and you need around 420 kcals in order to maintain normal function. That’s about 100 pistachios or 4 bananas.
I prefer sunflower seeds.
If you’re in a position that requires you to be on the phone a lot, please be courteous and not chew gum while having a conversation.
By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll have been distracted at least 2 times.
Finding your focus is really as simple as just making things a little bit easier on your brain. Reduce the amount of stimuli that your brain has to put up with, work around your brain’s schedule, and be mindful.
Work smarter, not harder.
Thank you to crew.co for the excellent input on distractions.