If you are like most of us there days when you just can’t focus on what needs to be done. You sit and stare at the computer in a futile attempt to get you brain engaged. All of us have days like this, how we overcome these slumps is what differentiates the highly productive from the average. There are projects and tasks that require us to concentrate to ensure they are done well and without mistakes. Being able to focus your concentration when needed is a skill that will help increase your productivity. Concentrating can be improved with practice and habits.
Here are five tips to help you increase your ability to concentrate and focus more effectively:
- Close email and chats: The pop-ups from these can be very distracting. They create a false sense of urgency so close them when you are focusing on tasks and plan time later to go through everything. The frequency that you check your emails will depend on how timely your responses must be. Many people can get by with checking in once an hour.
- Take breaks: We can only focus for short periods of time, so allow for a short break periodically. Plan on a 5 – 10 minute break every hour and your productivity will increase. This can be used to check those emails, but make sure you get back to work on the task at hand.
- Switch tasks: Alternate between high attention and low attention tasks. This gives your mind that break it needs to refresh and stay at peak performance. Use the breaks to help recharge.
- Plan your peak time: Take time to figure when you are most productive. For some it’s the morning and for others it’s the afternoon. Then plan to do the items that require the most attention and focus during the time of day when you are at your best. Everyone has a peak time when they really get things done. Use it wisely.
- Deal with worries: It is hard to focus when we are worrying about other things. These worries range from deadlines to personality conflicts and everything in between. When you find your mind wandering off to worry, write down the issue and set aside time later to address it. This will free your mind from holding onto it and it allows you to concentrate on the current task now and problem solving the worry later.
If you plan how you will deal with distractions it will help you when it’s time to get serious about concentrating on the task at hand. Establish methods that help you reduce the interruptions and carve out time to spend on the high attention tasks. The more you make focusing a habit the easier it becomes and the faster you will recover when you find yourself getting pulled into the interruptions.
Increasing your ability to concentrate requires a plan and methods for dealing with the daily distractions. When your priorities are clear, you know what needs your undivided attention, and you have methods for clearing your mind and reducing distractions you will increase your productivity and get more done.
What is your favorite method for staying focused?