Whether you work from home by yourself or in a large office building with hundreds of colleagues, it’s easy to get distracted. You could be completely in the zone and then before you know it you’re on Facebook updating your status. Suddenly everything but the task at hand seems to take priority and holds your attention for longer than it should. This lack of focus can become an issue if it prevents you from getting your work completed to a high standard and on time. It can also stop you from reaching your potential and developing further. While there are distractions at work that you are unable to control, there are some changed you can make to boost your focus and productivity. So instead of giving into your distractions and letting your work suffer, use this guide to get you on a more focused and rewarding track.
Organize your work space
Your work space is your home away from home. It’s the place where you will sit for the majority of the day and will house everything you need to do your job. But having a desk or room that is scattered with papers, tools and oddities can make it hard for you to concentrate. Not being able to find what you need when you need it can also take vital time away from important tasks. So take some time to sort through your work space. You may have to do this outside of office hours so you don’t get into trouble with your boss. Arrive at work an hour early, work through your lunch or stay behind to create a more functional area for you to work in each day. Determine which items you need for the tasks you are currently working on and put everything else in designated drawers and folders. Make sure these essential items are placed neatly on the top of your desk where you can grab them without losing focus. You then need to maintain this level by always putting things back in their place and removing anything that is not relevant at this time. Clearing your desk each night will give you a clean slate each morning. This will make for a far more functional working environment and make it easier for you to stay on task.
You may also find that you are more inspired and enthusiastic if you surround yourself with things that you like. Sitting in a office or space that is dull and uninspired can cause further distractions. So why not add a framed art piece, family photographs or ornaments that make you feel happy and positive. Bright colored items will also be more inspiring than whites and neutrals. This will most likely depend on your workplace, so always check with your superiors beforehand. If you work in a corporate industry, you may find that they disapprove of anything too personal or fun being on display. Whereas more arty and creative environments are likely to encourage it. Even if you can only use colorful folders, at least, your space will appear more exciting.
Create a To-do list each morning
We all have tasks that we are required to do each day. Some are minor and take seconds to complete whereas others can take up a significant amount of our time. Knowing which tasks need to be prioritised is essential and will keep you on track throughout the day. So each morning before you start working, write down a to-do list. Creating a daily to-do list on your phone or tablet is fine, but it could make you tempted to check social media or go off task. So use a daily planner that you can keep near to you so you don’t waste time looking for it as the day progresses. Work out how much time you have available, while remembering to schedule in regular breaks. This should make it easier to plan your time at work more efficiently and give you a set deadline for each task.
The most challenging and time-consuming tasks should be at the top of the list and done as soon as you start work. It’s been reported that the majority of people will be most productive during the first few hours of the day. So you need to use this time to your advantage. Once these tasks and activities have been completed, you can move onto a task that you consider to be less important. Finish off the day with a task you enjoy or ones that don’t require too much time or effort. Cross off each activity as you go as this will make you feel rewarded and spur you on to complete the next activity.
Make sure you have plenty of food and drink nearby
Hunger, fatigue and thirst are some of the most common distractions at the workplace. No only do they make you feel lousy, but they also often take you away from your desk or work space. This makes it more likely for your colleagues to ask you questions or get you involved in non-work related activities. You may find that the quick trip to the cafeteria actually takes longer than you intended. Or if you work from home you may feel inclined to pop to the local shop for your lunch, which can also take you away from your essential tasks. While it’s important that you stop to have a break, doing this too often can put a strain on your schedule and create a backlog of work for you to complete. So clear out an easily accessible drawer in your desk where you can store drinks and snacks. These items will keep your cravings at bay for longer and reduce the amount of time you spend walking to and from the kitchen or breakroom. You should always store water because it keeps you hydrated, makes you feel more refreshed and helps you feel full without eating. Consider which other items you keep in this drawer, particularly ones that slowly releases energy. For instance you can view Kiss Me Organics for more information on their green tea powder or find out how to make high protein snacks. These items will make you feel fuller for longer and enhance your focus and energy levels.
Sort out your posture
If your job requires you to spend a lot of time sat in front of a computer, you may find that you experience frequent back pain. This can prevent you from fully concentrating and committing to the task at hand. This kind of discomfort can be highly distracting but it’s something you can deal with quite quickly. The chair you spend most of your day sitting on should have comfortable support for your back. Sit in your chair with a straight back and see if your chair is giving you enough support. Also, check that your desk is at a suitable height and that your computer or equipment is position in a suitable place. Your feet should be flat against the floor, and you should not be over-reaching or sat in an awkward position. If you don’t feel completely at ease and comfortable , you may need to rethink your workspace. Otherwise your back and shoulders will become strained and ache more frequently. This is not something that will get better over time and could mean you have to take time off work due to spine and muscular damage. With a more suitable chair and a more comfortable set up you will begin to notice your pains decreasing.
If you do a lot of work standing up, you can also experience an aching back, shoulders and legs. Again, make sure your desk is at a suitable height and doesn’t require you to bend or stretch in an awkward position. Also, try to keep your back straight as you work to avoid hunching your shoulders. This will keep you comfortable and less likely to experience any more pain and discomfort.
Inform your colleagues
It might seem harsh, but letting your colleagues know what you don’t want to be distracted is one of the easiest ways of reducing distractions. If you have a particularly important task you are working on, make sure the colleagues around you are fully aware. If they want to ask you a question, suggest someone else who might be able to help or arrange a suitable time when you aren’t as busy. Also make sure you appear offline and direct your calls to voicemail. If everyone knows you’re busy, then they will be less inclined to distract you with questions and activities.
Only you have the power and ability to stay focused at work. If may take some time to find the right technique for you to apply to your worklife. But eventually something will click, and your lack of focus will become a thing of the past. If after trying these techniques you still find it difficult to stay on task, it might be beneficial to talk to your manager or superior. This should help you determine what the issue is and what steps you can talk to resolve it.