So how can we focus with everything around us, and even our own minds, working against us? Here are a few tips that have worked for me:
1) Take a break.
The minute you begin to feel tired, feel fatigue, or the first sign of hunger -just stop what you are doing. Don't believe that you can just "push through it", if you start to feel yourself struggling through it you will become more and more tired and this is where there is going to be mistakes being made. Always take a deep breath and listen to what your body is telling you. This may result in you going to get a cup of water or even having a mini snack, three or four minutes break should do the job!
2) Close your eyes.
When you are losing focus, or feeling a little confused, simply take two minutes to sit back in your chair and close your eyes. This will allow you to see things more clearly, provide you with a clear mind, and a new direction to head in.
3) Manage what you focus on.
Train your focus by paying attention to your attention. Be mindful of when you start to lose focus, so that you can “apply the brakes” early and stop yourself from getting on the wrong train of thought before it takes over. Mindfulness meditation trains your brain to be better at concentrating because each time you notice that your mind wanders off from whatever you’re focusing on, you intentionally bring your focus back to the object of your attention.
4) Turn it off.
If you’re often temped to check your phone, or even replying to emails which are not a priority, turn them off. If you do this you will be so surprised at how much you can get done because you are not being distracted by those notifications whether that be from your phone, emails, or social media platforms. Try scheduling in social media or email checking into your day and make it so that you maybe allow yourself 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon. Once you put this plan in place you will be free to start or continue other outstanding tasks.
5) Learn your Circadian Rhythms.
Just like the human body has an optimal time to wake and to sleep, the circadian rhythm can help you plan your daily activities in order to get the most out of your day; from the best time to send a Tweet to the most productive time to get through that dreaded paper work.
Studies have shown that people work at highest brain capacity before lunch hour. Others suggest that this is the worst time to work and that you should arrange your challenging tasks first thing in the morning. Personally, I believe I work best in the afternoon usually after lunch, I find that my body feels refreshed from lunch break and I have eaten, which also helps. I tend to leave creative and demanding tasks for that time. However, this may not work for you. Over the next few days pay attention to your circadian rhythm and use it to your advantage when planning your day and prioritising your workload.
6) Get your work station organised.
Arranging things on your desk is essential as coming into work to a clean tidy desk will help you prioritise your day better. If you come in to lots of paper work over your desk and sticky notes that have to do lists on them then you are bound to get distracted. File away your paper work, schedule a time in the day where you are going to go through it and reply to anything you need to or contact anyone you need to. Try to ensure when organising your desk to make sure you are putting the most important things at the front, this will help you when it comes to looking for what you need, if you know there's a really important piece of paperwork which needs to be done, put it at the front of your file with a red sticker or something noticeable to remind you that it’s a priority.
Try and do one or two of the listed above, see how you get on and see if you can notice a change in the way you work. Feel free to share your strategies with me on LinkedIn I would love to know how you got on!