You get a message on Slack about the next work outing, two emails then pop-up and your colleague has asked you for some personal advice. Suddenly, you’ve lost track of what you were doing and are in a frenzy of where to begin!
If you - like many other office workers - find yourself in a similar situation on a regular basis, then you need these tips! Keep reading to find out how you can stay focused at work and cut any workplace distractions.
1. Think of the positives
If you’re stuck with a tedious task, you’re most likely going to slack and engage with distractions - you’ll do anything to keep yourself away from doing a mind-numbing job. To help you shift your mindset, you need to find fun in what you do and think of the positives.
Let’s say that you’re tracking the monthly budget, think about why completing this task is great; if you hit your target, will you and your team get a bonus? If so, use that as inspiration to get through this task.
2. Be comfortable
Having a comfortable desk arrangement is so important when it comes to productivity. If you feel uncomfortable at work, you’re going to get distracted and will find it increasingly difficult to focus for long hours on end.
According to Concept Seating, ‘The best computer chair for long hours at the office is an ergonomic chair that supports the body properly.’ You’ll need to ensure that your back is fully supported and your computer is set up at eye-level to avoid the harmful effects of sitting at a desk all day.
3. Get organised
If you’re the type of person that has piles of paper on their desk and lose files sitting on their desktop, you’re going to need to get organised! Start by only leaving the essential on your desks, such as a notepad, pens and your water bottle. Then move onto your computer and organise your files, so that both your colleagues and you can find what they are looking for without having to spend 15 minutes rummaging through your folder.
4. Limit distractions
While some distractions are unavoidable - like car horns from the busy road outside or your extremely loud colleague, there are a few things that you can control! To begin with, put your phone on silent and place it on your desk facing down to avoid the temptation of looking at it every time that you get a notification.
Besides ignoring your phone, block yourself from being able to log in to your social media accounts at work. Unless you work in marketing, you most likely won’t be allowed on any social platforms anyway, so refrain from the temptation by using a reliable site-blocking app.
5. Eat healthily
Eating healthy and balanced meals throughout the day will ensure that your productivity levels and focus remain high. If you fail to fuel your body with the correct nutrition, you’ll feel that mid-afternoon slump and end up wasting at least two hours of your working day.
So, to ensure you don’t fall into this hole, eat a healthy breakfast and lunch with plenty of snacks in between. You could keep nuts and dried fruit in your desk drawer to ensure that you have something to snack on when you start to feel that rumble in your belly.
6. Don’t engage in small talk
Finding out what Jane from accounting got up to on her blind date may be interesting, but it’s not going to help you complete your tasks. So, if you’re pressed for time, avoid the small talk and focus on the task at hand.
You can let others know that you won’t be available to chat for a while, so they don’t think that you’re rude. Research psychologist, Larry Rosen, advises making people aware that you won’t be able to get back to them right away to avoid putting a strain on your personal or professional relationships.
7. Allocate time for emails
If emails are taking over your life, you’re going to need to set some boundaries! To do so, allocate set times that you will check your emails and mute your notification sounds so you don’t get distracted every time a new message comes through.
To help you save time, you can create saved responses and templates and use these when you’re dealing with similar queries. Just be sure to read through the fine details before you hit the send button to ensure that your email holds the correct information and is typo-free.
8. Take frequent breaks
Even the smartest people on the planet are unable to stay focused for hours on end, so to help you increase your productivity levels, you should incorporate short breaks into your routine. During your break, move away from your desk and do something that doesn’t involve staring at a screen to help you relax.
A tried-and-tested method that we love at CareerAddict is the Pomodoro technique. This is when you work for 25 minutes and take a five-minute break, repeat this process four times and once you’ve done so take a 15 to 30-minute break before doing the whole process all over again.
9. Listen to music
If the noise level is high in your workplace, consider using some noise-cancelling headphones to listen to some music. Not only will this improve your focus, but it’ll also assure that you get through any tedious tasks that you have to complete.
Just make sure that the music doesn’t become a distraction in itself - you’ll need to play something relaxing. If it does get too much, simply turn the music off and keep the headphones in to make it seem like you’re busy!
10. Plan and prioritise
Planning your workweek is an essential step to take when you’re struggling with your focus at work. To help you identify what you need to get done, make a list of tasks that you must complete during the week and prioritise the most important ones.
By doing so, you’ll be able to complete your most urgent tasks as you’ll have your list to refer back to at any point throughout the day.
11. Set deadlines
Along with planning and prioritising, you’ll need to give yourself deadlines. If you don’t have any pressure from your boss to complete your task, you’ll end up procrastinating and taking a lot longer to get the job done. So, to help you stay focused at work, set yourself deadlines; you’ll also avoid spending too long on something that doesn’t require that much attention.
12. Learn new skills
If your workload is low and you have a lot of time to waste, you’re going to end up feeling demotivated and unfocused. To avoid getting stuck in this rut, use your spare time to learn a new skill that can improve your work and aid your department.
This new skill can help you lead a new project, which will give you a new and exciting goal to work towards - a proven way to increase job satisfaction, too.
13. Use productivity apps
With so many workplace distractions, it’s easy to get lured away from your work and decrease your output, which is where productivity apps come in! These handy tools can help eliminate distractions, increase communication and ensure that you get all your work done in time. You don’t have to use all of them, but find an app that will help streamline your tasks and help you work to the best of your abilities.
14. Get enough sleep
When you’re sleep-deprived, you’re going to feel cranky, lack focus and generally be in a bad mood. Therefore, if you want to be focused at work, you’re going to need to ensure that you get the right amount of shut-eye that you need!
Whether it’s seven or eight hours per night, good quality sleep can make a world of difference when it comes to your work. You’ll feel less stressed and more motivated to work hard!
15. Close your tabs
Are you guilty of having about 100 tabs open at the same time? If you’re nodding in agreement, it’s time to be more efficient and start closing those you don’t actively need! Extra tabs serve no purpose and can clog your internet connection and your mind. Keep your computer as clutter-free as possible by only having the tabs you’re working on open.
Mastering the art of focus isn’t an easy task, but by incorporating a few of these tricks into your life, you’ll be one step closer!
What tips have you used to increase your focus at work? Let us know by leaving a comment in the comments section below.