Here are ways to make sure you can concentrate on doing the most important tasks of your workday.
All of us know deep down that we can get things done properly and on time only if we concentrate on the task at hand. The problem is that we tend to get distracted by so many trivial interruptions, and thus we lose focus. It’s not always easy to get back our concentration immediately either.
So how should we manage these distractions? The following methods can help to boost our concentration so that important tasks actually get done.
1 Determine the Top Priorities
When you start the workday, take about 5 minutes to create a basic plan for your workday. Check over your goals and deadlines. Of all these tasks, which are the most crucial that you must focus on right away? Determine 3 of the top priorities, write them on a postcard, and then prop the card up on your desk as a constant reminder.
2 Create a Proper Environment for Focusing
You need to set up your desk or your workplace that somehow encourages you to concentrate on your work. So that means you should start by getting everything you will need, including your water or coffee. Set your schedule so that you’re not interrupted.
If you have to, close your door and tell your secretary that you’re not to be disturbed unless it’s an emergency. Another option is to move somewhere else such as a conference room where you won’t be interrupted.
3 Minimize the Distractions
Start with your smartphone, which tends to be the culprit for so many trivial interruptions. Set your smartphone on its “do not disturb” mode. If you’re working on your computer and doing work online, close all the unnecessary browsers windows and tabs. Lockdown any chat programs.
To avoid gossipy coworkers, use headphones. You may even go with noise reduction headphones so that the office noise doesn’t bother you anymore. Have a handy notebook and pen so that you can quickly write down any interrupting thoughts and ideas you may have—which you will then think about later.
4 Take Brief Breaks
You can’t simply work nonstop and expect to be equally productive as more time passes. Studies show that people generally have their concentration levels reduced after about an hour and half of focused work.
So you can take a break every 90 minutes or so to help you gain your concentration back. It doesn’t even need to be an extended break, as 5 minutes should work. Maybe you can go to the bathroom, close your eyes and meditate, or take a walk. Just leave your desk for the moment, and come back with renewed focus.
5 Know When You’re At Your Peak
Some people are morning people—they’re at their most energetic and mentally focused in the first hours of the workday. Others start slow but are at their most energetic in the afternoons. Whichever you are, make sure you reserve your most important tasks for the times when you’re at your peak.
At the time when you’re at your lowest, it’s also the time for your least important work. Use this time for filing papers or returning phone calls.