In a working world that’s becoming more automated every day, the most sought-after jobs are those that require us to come up with creative ways to solve problems that didn’t even exist five minutes ago. What’s the magic stuff you need to prove your ingenuity and make your managers stand up and take notice? Meet the five-letter word that will put you on the fast track to advancement: F-O-C-U-S.
But while being able to focus is a superpower, people and events seem to pop out of nowhere around the office that throws us off our game. These distractions are like Kryptonite, negatively impacting people’s productivity and overall efficiency. Is there a way to navigate the ongoing stream of Slack messages, floods of incoming emails, and the chatter of colleagues with whom you share an open space?
Here Are 5 Ideas to Help You Focus at Work:
1. Do one small task at a time, and do it right
First thing’s first: people aren’t naturally good at multitasking. We usually depend on others for guidance or automated workflow systems to help us. The quality of your work improves with these digital tools, and you’ll actually get more done if you you’re able to hone in on one project at a distinct time. To achieve a state of laser-like focus, you should think about temporarily turning off your email or any other notifications, as well.
2. Prioritize ranked by complexity
Not all tasks are created equal. You’ll want to prioritize the most complicated projects and work on them as soon as you get into the office. This is because the first hour at work is usually our most productive. Later in the day, work on those routine administrative tasks. Prioritizing this way will help you stay focused throughout the day, and not spend too much time on unimportant tasks. One more thing: make a new to-do list every day. Create this list at the end of your workday, since that’s when you’ll know exactly which tasks need to be prioritized.
3. Download the right kind of distractions
Sure, we live in an age of digital distraction. And, yes, being constantly switched on via smartphones and other devices has made it more difficult for people to concentrate. The good news is that this Age Of Information is also full of useful apps and software that are helping people focus better. The trick is to identify when you feel the least focused. Is it early in the morning? After lunch? During a meeting? Based on that, you’ll be able to craft the perfect time strategy tool for you.
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4. Here’s to your health!
Staying healthy will supercharge your ability to stay focused. Exercising for at least30 minutes a day is proven to have amazing benefits, both at work and for your entire life. Another health-related tip may be a bit harder to accept since we live in a global, 24/7, hyperconnected world: sleep a lot. Lack of adequate sleep, meaning less than seven hours every night, adversely affects people’s workplace performance. One way you can get some serious sack time is to lay off the caffeine at work since too much coffee can lead to insomnia. Try swapping out your daily Chestnut Praline Latte for high-quality H2O.
5. Does your company culture support your focus?
Your company also needs to be all in on encouraging you and your colleagues to think more deeply. One big thing your company should do is give you as much time as you need to work out a particularly complex problem. Focusing on focus is a win-win: for people who want to work in a place where they get to flex their creative muscles and decision-makers who understand that their peoples’ creativity, critical thinking, decision making, and complex information processing are the keys to their company’s long term success.