7 Strategies to Stay Focused

Do you have a hard time staying focused and avoiding distractions while doing tasks at home or at work? Multitasking is becoming an essential component in everyone’s life, but trying to juggle several things at once can be frustrating. The best way to perfect the art of multitasking is to learn how to become more focused and avoid distractions. Below are 7 strategies that will help you do just that.

  1. Prepare for each new task.  Your first step in staying focused is the simplest: clear your head and take the time to settle yourself before beginning your task.
  2. Find some fun and interest in what you’re doing.  If your task is fun or interesting, you’re less likely to search for other stimulation. Of course, you can’t always count on every project being fun, so you have to find ways to perk-up routine tasks. If your task is one with a group, you can revitalize a dull regularly scheduled meeting by changing rooms or changing seating. If the task you’re trying to focus on is something you’re working on alone, you can also change locations. Complete one task at your desk, then move your laptop to a different place before starting on the second task. Reward yourself when you’ve completed a task. Take a brief walk to a café to get a caffeinated drink or just get out of your chair to stretch or do some light exercise. These little breaks are nice rewards and it also helps your mind file away one task before beginning the next.
  3. Eliminate potential distractions immediately. It takes valuable space in your mind to resist distractions. It takes brainpower to tune out stimuli on a regular basis. So, its easier to clear distractions out of your way from the outset. If you’re easily distracted by framed photos, papers, books, and knickknacks on your desk, just move them to a shelf behind you. Shut out audible distractions by closing your office door or wearing earbuds or noise-canceling headphones.
  4. Establish concentration time. If your job doesn’t offer you the ability to shut yourself off from the rest of your colleagues, you can still carve out some “concentration time” during the day when you can close your door, mute your phone, and let coworkers know you’re unavailable for a period of time.
  5. Work in manageable blocks of time.   Many people find it difficult to work on a single task to the point of completion. If this sounds like you, try the “20-minute rule.”  Rather than switching back and forth between multiple tasks, devote twenty minutes exclusively to one before shifting to another. Not only will the satisfaction of completing each time block give you a jolt of dopamine, but also the modest pressure to work within the time space will help you raise noradrenaline levels in your brain that mobilizes your body and brain for action. If you’re someone who can’t resist the beckoning call of a chirping electronic devise, you might use a different “20-minute rule” where you take a “tech break” every twenty minutes to allow yourself a two-minute break to answer a text, check your phone or surf the internet before you return to twenty more minutes of uninterrupted work. If you start with a modest length of time, you should find that you can gradually extend the periods you remain disconnected.
  6. Use your brain wisely. Recent evidence tells us that even something as innocuous as walking can interfere with your cognitive functions. The same has been found true for listening to background music while working–especially music with lyrics. Actually, the theories on background music have been mixed. If you’re engaged in highly repetitive tasks, music can increase your productivity. But if you’re engaged in an activity that requires reading comprehension or information processing, music tends to interfere with those functions.
  7. Keep your email habit under control.  A recent Harris Poll of nearly 5,000 hiring managers and full-time workers found that the typical professional spends 23% of their workday dealing with email. It’s unrealistic for most of us to go without email for an extended period of time. But, what we can do is develop a routine of checking emails at scheduled times during the day and leave your email notification off for the rest of the time. By consciously designating on and off periods for emails and texts, you lessen the dominance of these devices in your day. Becoming mindful of the role that cell phones and email play in distraction is the first step in improving your self-control.

 By following these seven strategies, you should find your focus improving and distractions diminishing.

~ Piece by KH
These tips were take from THE LEADING BRAIN,  available at these retailers:

Barnes & Noble
Hudson Booksellers

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