From being sidetracked by chatty co-workers to noticing updates on social media, many office workers find that staying focused can be a major challenge. Furthermore, in addition to environment related distractions, modern employees often attempt to multitask their way through the day. Unfortunately, this typically only leads to less focus overall.
As covered in our earlier post, setting goals, minimizing distractions, and getting into a routine are just a few useful techniques for improved concentration. To continue, here are three additional ways to increase your focus while at work.
Divide and Conquer
Whether it’s a mountain of tasks or one big project, the majority of employees have a hard time wrapping their minds around what needs to be done (much less actually focusing on it). This gives rise to not knowing where to start or feeling overwhelmed. In turn, this type of psychological discomfort promotes procrastination and other time-wasting behaviors.
To prevent this from happening, begin the day by dividing and conquering. Namely, once you’ve decided what your top 2 or 3 goals are, break them into manageable chunks. By splitting a to-do-list or project into bite-sized pieces before getting started, you are able to focus more intently on a single task and get it done more efficiently.
Stay Well Hydrated
Let’s face it. Despite being grown adults, the majority of us don’t drink enough water in general, much less during the busy work day. However, even if you’re just sitting there in your comfy office chair, staying hydrated is important.
Specifically, according to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Nutrition, even mild dehydration can hinder your focus at work. In fact, it not only negatively affected participants’ concentration and energy levels, but also made them feel like the tasks they had to do were more difficult.
Thus, while what counts as adequate hydration varies depending on your physical condition and other factors, just remember to drink enough fluids. This may involve keeping a thermos within arm’s reach or scheduling in an hourly reminder to take a quick trip to the water fountain.
Implement a Task Timer
Also known as the Pomodoro Technique, getting work done with the help of a timer is a popular time-management method that has been around since the 90s.
Essentially, an employee sets a timer to ensure that they are working on a single important task for a certain amount of time (typically 25 minutes), followed by a small break (no more than 5 minutes). To keep their flow going, they completely ignore all distractions and unrelated matters for that time period.
Naturally, the above description is just the bare bones of this technique. However, many workers find that having a cycle of intense focus followed by short pauses not only limits burnout, but quite often results in extremely productive intervals. As a result, feel free to try it out and adapt it for your needs.
Even if you can only do a few pomodoros a day, many find that those moments of focus are frequently when they make the greatest progress on their most important tasks.