The average working day is eight hours. That’s a long time to stay focused and most people find their concentration dipping at regular intervals. If your boss is fairly relaxed and doesn’t mind if you take regular breaks, then a degree of procrastination isn’t an issue. But if your job demands a lot of focus, it can be a problem if your mind continually wanders away from work.
There are a few things you can do to try to stay focused for longer. Read on to learn more.
Have a Break
It may sound counterintuitive to suggest taking a break in an article about maintaining focus, but studies have shown that short breaks are the best way to help the brain stay on track. It is unreasonable to expect your mind to focus with laser-sharp precision for hours at a time. That’s not how our brain works.
Have a short 5-minute break every hour, where you get up and move around. You could use the time to make a drink or stretch your legs. It’s good for your brain as well as your back.
Have a Work Plan for the Day
You won’t find it easy to stay focused if your day has no sense of purpose. Try to get into the habit of making lists of tasks that need doing and prioritizing the most important tasks. Start each day by looking at your list. Begin by doing the most urgent or difficult tasks while your mind is fresh. That way, even if you do lose focus during the mid-afternoon slump, you won’t see a massive drop in productivity.
Switch Off Notifications
Modern tech is hugely convenient, but it is also very distracting. Most people can’t concentrate when their smartphone is pinging away with multiple notifications, or their email program does the same on their screen. To avoid falling into the habit of checking social media posts every five minutes, switch off notifications and place your non-essential devices in a drawer, out of sight.
Design a Comfortable Workstation
Nobody can concentrate when their workstation is cluttered and sitting in their office chair gives them backache. Design your workstation so it is comfortable first and foremost. Choose a desk and chair that meets your needs and be prepared to pay a bit extra for a good quality, ergonomic chair. If work laptops rather than PCs are handed out by your company, invest in a laptop stand, so your screen is at the correct height.
Pay Attention to When You Lose Focus
Listen to your body. If you continually lose focus around 3 pm, it’s probably because your blood sugar levels are low and tiredness is creeping in. Some people are better off working in the early morning, or even in the evening if they are natural night owls. Try to organize your working day around the times when you focus the best. And if that isn’t possible, make a cup of strong coffee 30 minutes before your mind usually begins wandering.
Don’t lose heart if you struggle to focus at work. Try the above tips and give it a little time for your brain to adjust.