No matter how calm and composed you are, it can be hard to deal with distractions especially when they are around every nick and corner – be it home or office.
The thing about distractions is that they might be everywhere but can be easily avoided. Once you get into the vicious circle of distractions, both your valuable time and productivity are gone for a toss. Successful people have learned the art of keeping distractions at bay and staying focused to produce great results.
If you’re constantly being distracted at work, we have got you covered. Here is a list of things that can help you beat distractions and develop laser-sharp focus at work:
1. Make to-do lists
Planning your day is quite beneficial as it prepares you for the next day in advance. Brian Tracey once said, “Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes of execution.” When you know what to do when, you save a lot of effort and time at the same time.
Planning and to-do lists both go hand-in-hand. Start making to-do lists and noting down your top five tasks of the day. It will not only bring structure to your day but will also help you focus on things that matter and not get distracted.
2. Get into prioritizing
Once you have made your to-do list, it’s time to get into the act of prioritization. You can categorize the items in your task-list as urgent, important, and urgent but not important and so on to have a fair idea of what should be done first and what can be left for tomorrow.
Prioritization is one of the best ways to trick your brain to focus on the top-priority tasks and not waste time doing inconsequential things. So, prioritizing is one of the keys to be focused at work.
3. Start timeboxing tasks
For all those who don’t know what timeboxing is, well, it is the act of allotting a fixed time-frame for an activity. If you start timeboxing tasks or activities, you would definitely experience a steep rise in your productivity
Although, it is one of the main project management methodologies that help to keep teams focused on accomplishing tasks but nowadays, people from all industries are using this technique to boost their productivity.
4. Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro technique is around the corner for years. Created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is one of the proven and popular time management life hacks.
Pomodoro technique is one the oldest and most effective methods to train your brain to develop more focus. In this technique, you are advised to work for 25 minutes without any interruptions and distractions and you can a take a break of five minutes afterward.
Here’s how to get started:
- Choose a task at hand.
- Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes and work till the timer runs.
- After one Pomodoro, take a short 5-minute break to step away from your work for rest.
- Keep repeating the action until 4 cycles.
- After 4 Pomodoros, take a longer break (about 15-20 minutes).
What to do during Pomodoro breaks?
- Get off the screen
- Take deep breaths
- Exercise a bit
- Move around
- Read something quick
- Have a chat
The Pomodoro technique is a great distraction blocker because if you get distracted and stop working, then you have to start over again. It is quite effective and can make you a more focused individual.
5. Learn to say No
It is great to lend a helping hand to others or entertain your co-worker’s requests but if you are doing it at the cost of your work, you might like to change that. Oftentimes, your friends and coworkers are the biggest distractions at work. There can be times when you are preoccupied doing certain things that you just cannot help others and you have to disappoint them by saying no.
At times, the two-minute-customary-small-talk gets extended to twenty minutes or more. If a chatty coworker is bugging you time and again, you can say something like, “Hey! I’d love to chat but I’m in the middle of something very important. If you don’t mind, can we catch up later?” It is one of the most polite and effective ways to stop letting others disturb you.
6. Take help from music
Music can be used as a great focus-building tool, provided you’re listening to the right type of music. According to a study, listening to soulful music in the background with fewer lyrics can make you more focused at work. The music that is soothing to ears and has sounds of natural elements could boost mood and productivity.
Also, if there are distractions around you, listening to music might help you to concentrate better. Moreover, people would think twice to disturb you for something which is not important enough.
How can you expect to focus at work if your desk looks like a complete mess? When your workplace is filled with clutter, you are bound to get distracted and stressed out. In fact, researchers from Princeton University found that clutter negatively affects your ability to focus and process information which further leads to stress.
Clutter isn’t always physical but mental as well. Our monkey-mind keeps on jumping from one thought to another – some useful while mostly idiotic. We create scenarios that aren’t even there in the first place and then trouble ourselves. Hence, don’t just declutter your workplace but also your mind.
8. Try meditation
This tip isn’t work-related but more of a lifestyle change that can make you a better human being – both professionally and personally. Meditation is a popular technique that can significantly improve your ability to concentrate and focus.
Breathing is an important part of meditation that allows you to be present and focus wholeheartedly on just one thing at a time. It helps you to develop an ability to keep your focus intact without getting distracted. To begin with, you can start with 15 minutes of meditation and increase it gradually.
I hope you found these tips insightful and use them to your advantage to eliminate distractions and focus better at work.