Sometimes we can focus on our projects, work productively and get all those tasks ticked off as complete, but sometimes this just isn’t the case. We all wonder why this happens – but more importantly we want to know how to combat it.
If you are having difficulties focusing at work and finishing your tasks on time, then these tips might help you turn your inbox into your outbox.
1. Music can be helpful – and a distraction!
Classical music is ideal for concentration, especially if you are working on a task that requires strong mental focus. On top of the relaxing effect it can have, classical music is proven to help stimulate brain function and increase mental working capacity.
Thanks to technology and online platforms we now have access to pretty much everything, instantly. For example on YouTube or Spotify you can choose from playlists like ‘Concentration Music’ or ‘Music to Focus’ which should help you while working.
You should try to avoid music with lyrics as these songs can have the opposite effect, drawing attention away from your work to what is being said – a huge distraction!
2. Nutritional support for your body
Just like cars, our bodies and brains need the correct fuel to function properly. Make sure your meals are nutritional enough – because if your blood pressure (or blood sugar) is low, you can lose focus. Do not skip meals! Always have a nutritious breakfast and even if you feel you have to skip a meal, try a healthy snack to keep you going.
Go for dried fruits and nuts instead of sugary, fatty junk food, which lacks the vitamins and minerals your brain needs to work properly. Sugar does give you an instant boost, however its effect won’t last long and you will quickly lose your focus again.
However, please remember that coffee will always there for you! Although excess caffeine is not good for your health, moderate consumption of coffee is proven to keep you alert, and will help support your mental focus and productivity. Unless you have a caffeine related health problem, 2 cups a day is totally acceptable. You can also opt for green tea, which has less caffeine but will still help.
3. Get Enough Zzzs
A good night’s sleep is essential for your brain to function correctly and for your concentration. The negative effects of not sleeping well are visible starting from the next day. Doctors recommend 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. To maintain a good sleep pattern, don’t go to bed too late, and even on the weekends don’t wake up late because this can damage your weekday routine.
Avoid using electronics in bed before going to sleep. Do relax with a book, and try not to think about work before sleeping, and let your brain enjoy the relaxation and recovery time.
4. Take a break and breath
Knowing when to take a break is as important as the act of working itself, so alleviate this with a break every couple of hours. Leave your desk, take a short walk around the office – or change environment for 10 minutes. If you work in an office where you cannot open the windows, step outside. Just like making sure you are eating the right food for your body, make sure you feeding your brain enough oxygen.
5. Tomato Method
If you have difficulty focusing for long periods of time, try the Tomato Method (a.k.a. the Pomodoro Technique). The technique is named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer which is popular in Italy, the home country of inventor Francesco Cirillo.
The principle is to work for 25 minutes, then take a 3-5 minute break. Then start the task again. After 4 ‘pomodoros’ you should take a longer break of 20-30 minutes. Focusing for 25 minutes is more manageable than focusing for hours and will help you stay on track. Sometimes you may not even need a break after each 25 minute session.
If you still find it hard to stay focused at work, maybe it is what you are doing that’s the problem. Perhaps your tasks no longer interest you, and your mind wanders because you are bored. Ask your manager for a change of work scope, for new responsibilities and for new tasks. Try working on different projects, or asking if you can join a training course to upskill.
Article written byTugce Gulsoy