Recent research found that around 60% of employees rarely or never do even an hour or two of deep, focused work each day without being interrupted by a distraction.
In this digital world find ourselves constantly distracted. The very sound of our phone’s notifications, new emails, or even a telemarketing phone call can be distracting.
Unfortunately, many of us struggle with a lack of focus and concentration on our work. According to a study, we are distracted 7-8 times every hour, this makes 64 times in a day. This hampers our productivity and mental stability, and we end up struggling to complete even the most mundane tasks.
Improving your mental focus though achievable requires time and consistent efforts.
Here are a few tips to help you improve your focus on work –
- Create a planner – Creating and maintaining a daily task planner helps with improving your concentration. List down the tasks for that day in decreasing order of priority. This will help you to prioritize your daily tasks. Through this practice, you can plan your day better.
- Set a timeline – Once you have prioritized the tasks, set a deadline for each. Focus on meeting the deadline.
This will give you a sense of achievement and act as motivation to do better. It will also help to plan your day effectively. It will also make you more efficient.
- Monotask – Multitasking is often considered a sign of an effective manager or employee. However, it is a myth. Concentrate on completing the task at hand or one task at one time. Do not bite off more than you can chew. Thus you can pay attention to executing the task more proficiently and motivate yourself to outdo yourself every time.
- Remove digital distractions – Use site-blocking apps to access the internet at set intervals. Minimize the notifications by selecting the ‘Mute Notifications’ option on WhatsApp or other social networking sites. Limit the use of your cell phone.
- Do not check your phone – Develop the willpower not to check your phone every 10 minutes. Get used to selecting the “do not disturb” mode on your smartphone or keep it face down.
- Manage emails – Disable email notifications or assign a fixed time to check your inbox. Do not sync your email id to all the devices you use. Set urgent notifications only to specific email ids. Unsubscribe the senders that can be a distraction.
- Use the Pomodoro technique – The Pomodoro technique was invented in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo. The technique requires one to work in short bursts of time.
For example, if you have to complete a task, set the timer to 30 minutes, and work for 30 minutes without any distractions, once the timer rings, take a 5-minute short break, and repeat the process for all your activities or tasks. This will help you develop efficient work habits.
- Limit your downtime or breaks – Treat your downtime or breaks as a reward. This will motivate you to work harder for that reward. This will train your mind to do distracting activities such as checking your phone or scrolling through social media in break time as a reward for your hard work.
- Cultivate a distraction-free environment at the workplace – Decluttering your desk will help improve your focus. A cluttered desk can often be a reason for a lack of concentration. Organize your desk for better productivity.
Decorate your desk with things that help you calm your mind and make you feel happy. Use ergonomic chairs and desks.
- Mental health – Problems like lack of sleep, mind wandering, trouble concentrating, or even illnesses like ADHD affect your ability to focus on your work. It is important to have mental stability and be careful of your mental health. Meditation is proven to have many mental health benefits. Practicing mindfulness or meditation can help facilitate greater concentration.
The bottom line is, we are surrounded by distractions that affect our productivity and mental health. But consciously keeping ourselves focused and making small changes in our habits will contribute greatly to our efficiency and productivity and increasing concentration.
MIT School of Distance Education is an institute engaged in the holistic development of working professionals. Hence along with academics focusing on mental health and mental conditioning is necessary.
MITSDE Harbour is an initiative focused on helping students make positive changes in themselves to achieve their goals. It is an initiative for students beyond the usual periphery of the course.
The program helps to deal with stressful situations, provides guidance on techniques like time management, effective study, self-awareness, and coping strategies, and motivates you to always do your best despite any challenges you may face along the way.