You’re sitting at your desk shortly after returning from lunch. Your coffee mug from this morning sits empty beside you. There are a million tabs open on your desktop, and your list of tasks for the week is long. Yet, you can’t help but glance over to the window and look out at the blue sky and the green leaves blowing in the gentle breeze. Your mind starts to drift to how nice it is outside and what you could do after work to enjoy the warm weather. Maybe you’ll go for a walk, or possibly grab a drink with some friends at an outdoor bar. Then again, you really should do laundry and dishes, and you can’t forget to make that student loan payment that’s due today. But it’s summertime, and the living’s easy… An email notification pops up, reminding you of the task at hand. Oh yeah – you’re supposed to be writing a blog pos, and the clock is ticking. I may or may not have just described how I spent the past five minutes, but let’s face it – we could all use some tips for how to stay focused at work, especially when it’s finally starting to warm up outside.
The good news about getting side-tracked at work is – you’re not alone. Nearly 50 percent of American workers surveyed admit they work for about 15 minutes before becoming distracted, and 53 percent confess they waste about an hour or more a day because of disruptions. If you’re younger, you likely have an even shorter attention span because of your constant exposure to technology. People who are in their twenties tend to have shorter attention spans, research suggests. Men also have a harder time focusing than women.
4 Tips for How to Stay Focused at Work
There are some easy tips you can follow that will help you to concentrate better, like making sure your basic needs are met. If you are hungry or thirsty, you’ll likely have difficulty staying focused while working. It will also help if you don’t let distractions from your life outside of work into the office. Meditate or do something before work to clear your head. This will help you to stay calm and collected during the workday. Here are some additional tips for how to stay focused at work:
1. Dump your distractions
We all get distracted by things like the ridiculous selfie your mom posted on Facebook or texting a friend about weekend plans. It’s important to identify what those distractions are so that you can eliminate them. Working offline, if possible, or putting your cell phone out of reach, are ways to make sure you stay focused on the task at hand. Taking a complete digital detox isn’t a bad idea, either.
2. Make a to-do list
Having a solid list of what you need to get done each day is another way for how to stay focused at work. If you’re like me, checking items off your list and knowing you got everything done within the allotted time is satisfying. Also, doing your work in smaller chunks of time and then allowing yourself little rewards between each task, like taking a quick walk, grabbing more water, or eating a snack, can help you to focus better and concentrate harder.
3. Find things that help you focus
Drinking caffeine, taking short walks throughout the day, and listening to music are all ideas for ways to improve your focus at work, depending on who you are. Caffeine is definitely a personal preference, but there are many studies that reveal the benefits of walking during the workday. When it comes to music, some people say that it’s distracting while others claim that certain types of music help them to improve their concentration.
4. Like your job
The most important tip for how to stay focused at work is to enjoy what you do and to work for a company with a positive work environment or culture. If you’re passionate about your job, you’ll have an easier time bringing your mind back from thinking about unrelated things, such as what’s for dinner. $1 empanadas on special sound way better than cooking though, right?