Multitasking has become common in the workplace. We often have our Web browsers using multiple tabs, switch between email, social media and work. Our attention is pulled in 50 different directions and we’re having trouble focusing on one task for more than five minutes. This lack of focus has led to longer, and less productive days.
It’s time to reclaim our focus at work and here are seven tips to help you do so.
- Practice productivity wind-sprints. While at work, we’re normally doing work while browsing Facebook or chatting. This can be harmful for productivity and shifts your focus from important work related activities. Interval training is a great way to increase your focus. Get a timer, set it for ten minutes, and focus solely on your work. When the timer goes off take a two minute break.
- Defensive scheduling. Our days are filled with commitments and we struggle to keep up with our projects or find time to work uninterrupted. Schedule a meeting with yourself at a convenient time. Treat this meeting like a real meeting, no interruptions. This is your time to focus on important tasks or projects.
- Socialize with your tablet. Separate work from social activities with a tablet. We’re often just hitting our stride with work when BING, we get a chat message. What do we do? Immediately reply to the message. When we do that we lose our focus and struggle to regain it. Why not use use your tablet for all social activities and work computer strictly for work? Combined with tip one, this could really help you focus.
- Realize your unconscious focus. The vast majority of managers often aren’t sure what the top issue in their mind is. It comes with multitasking, we’re always making less important ideas critical, and this takes our focus off the most important issues. To realign your focus take some time, let your mind wander, and make note of the ideas you keep returning to. These are your most critical issues.
- Focus on most important tasks first. When you get into the office in the morning switch off your phone and email alerts. Focus on your most important priorities, this will give you time to get your most important work out of the way, before you shift your focus onto other less important projects.
- Disconnect. Many of us don’t take time to give our brains a rest, we’re always thinking and possibly worrying about work. It’s beneficial to your mental and physical health if you take time each day to disconnect from the office. Temporarily sever all ties with the office and focus on something you enjoy doing. Remember, this is your time don’t think of work, focus on the activity.
- Can’t focus? Consider if what you’re doing is right for you. If you find that you really can’t focus, even with the previous techniques, it might be time to consider that what you’re doing is actually something you don’t care about or enjoy. If this is true for you, then it’s time to start looking for a change.