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Whilst working have you ever found yourself playing with your thumbs, staring into space, or maybe endlessly scrolling down your Facebook timeline reminiscing about your recent holiday? In this day and age with our increasing use of technology in the office and in our social lives, it is easier than ever to be distracted and lose focus on what we're meant to be doing. Your level of productivity in the office will directly impact your success at work, which could be the difference between you getting the pay rise and the deposit on your new home you've been dreaming of all year, or being laid off and going back to the dreaded job hunt. There is no doubt that your level of focus plays a great part in your level of productivity, so doing all you can to ensure you remain focused will be a great step for making sure you're successful at work.
Here we've put together 20 tips that you can implement into your day to improve your focus, increase your level of productivity and make sure you are heading in the right direction.
1. Set Goals
Having clear goals set, preferably written in front of you by your desk, will serve as a constant reminder of why you're pushing yourself to be productive. These can either be performance related goals, such as "I want to be doing X amount of sales a week to be earning X amount this month", or material goals, such as "I want a Audi A5 by December." Either way, if you're truly passionate about reaching your goals then having them written in front of you will help you stay focused.
2. Set Breaks
It goes without saying that having breaks throughout the day can help relax the mind if you've been busy on the phone to potential customers all day or sat in front of your computer screen. You may only get your lunch hour once a day, but if your boss is relaxed maybe you can take a breather outside for 10 minutes every 2-3 hours. If you have a sales job from home and you've been on the phone to clients for 3 hours, maybe taking the dog out for a walk or having a stroll through the park would do your mind some good and help you regain your focus when back in the office.
3. Consider Deep Breathing and Meditation
If you're unable to leave the office for a cool down, maybe trying some deep breaths at your desk is a good idea to help improve your focus. A great technique would be to set an alarm for every 90 minutes to 2 hours, and engage in some deep breathing exercises for 5-10 minutes to help you relax and get you prepared for another few hours of hard work. Meditation is also an old technique practiced by millions of people which is supposed to help you regain focus and be more productive amongst other benefits. There are meditation iPhone apps you can download which could be a great start, see here for more details on the best meditation apps available in 2018.
It is proven that exercise stimulates the mind and can help you be more focused throughout your day. Dr. Karen Postal, a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School, claims that "when we exercise, new brain cells are born in the hippocampus- the brain's gateway to new memories." This scientific evidence proves that exercise is great for anybody looking to improve their focus and get the most out of their time spent in the office. Many people would recommend exercising in the morning, which is known to be great for stimulating your brain and getting you ready for a day in the office.
5. Get Fresh Air
It goes without saying at spending all day in a hot, stuffy office is no good for our concentration levels. Having a fan by your desk is a great way to stimulate your mind and help regain your focus, but getting out for a 10 minute break in the fresh air every few hours would be optimal for anybody looking to work at 100%.
6. Turn Off Phone Notifications
Whether it is you and your friend's WhatsApp group chat, your Facebook notifications or recent news popping up on your home screen, there is no doubt that your phone can be a massive distraction to you whilst you're working. If you're using an iPhone, you can easily set your phone on 'Do Not Disturb' to ensure you don't have to listen to that distracting pinging sound every time somebody messages, or you could simply go to Home > Settings > Notifications and switch all notifications off, that way you can just check your apps when you're having a break and avoid being distracted, but can still take any important phone calls.
7. Challenge A Colleague To A 'Productivity Challenge'
If you're working in sales for example, you can use competitiveness to work in your favour when it comes to getting focused by challenging a colleague to see who can get more sales within a 2 hour period. If you both have a competitive edge there will be no doubt you'll be spending your time ensuring you get as many sales as you can instead of getting distracted. You could even think of a small prize or bet money - that will be sure to have you both with your heads down.
8. Eat Healthy Foods That Will Improve Your Focus
It is well known that what you put in your body highly affects your levels of focus. Chris Parker of A Life Of Productivity claims blueberries, green tea, avocados, leafy green vegetables, dark chocolate, flax seeds, and nuts help you become more focused, mainly due to their anti-oxidants which are proven to stimulate your brain and have a positive effect on you physically and mentally. When you're next on your lunch break, why not consider shopping at Whole Foods or Holland and Barrett instead of McDonald's as an easy way to boost your productivity and improve your focus.
9. Make Sure Your Desk Isn't Cluttered
Ensuring your work space is clean and tidy every day should help you be more focused. It is proven that a messy, untidy desk can distract you whilst a clean, well-organised desk can help improve your focus. Try implementing this simple technique to help improve your focus and boost your productivity.
10. Plan Your Day Whilst Commuting
The average commute time in the UK is around one hour. It is easy to spend this free time listening to music, scrolling through Facebook or speaking to friends, however if you're really looking to boost your performance in the office, planning your day ahead will help you become more focused as you'll have more clarity on what needs to be done. If you get the train then this can be as easy as writing a list of things that need to be done, or maybe even writing goals.
11. Limit Computer Notifications
Just like your phone can be massively distracting, your computer can also be the same. If you're working in a sales job from home and you've got social media, betting and other apps on your laptop then you may find the constant popups incredibly annoying. Try closing these apps whilst you're working - there is nothing stopping you from checking them on your breaks.
12. Stay Hydrated
Many studies show that being hydrated can increase your energy levels, your concentration and your focus, therefore improving your productivity at work. Most offices have water dispensers so be sure to keep topping up your water, however if your office does not have one of those then make sure you bring in a 2L bottle of water everyday, which is known to be an adequate amount to drink daily for your body to work at optimal levels, physically and mentally.
13. Get Enough Sleep
Making sure you are getting enough sleep is crucial if you want to stay focused and work at full performance. According to HULT International Business School, adults should be getting around 7-8 hours sleep to avoid sleep deprivation, that is proven to cause poor productivity in the office as well as having the potential to cause problems to your physical health. One study suggests that people who get less than 7 hours of sleep are 3 times as likely to develop a cold.
14. Enjoy Your Social Life, But Not Too Much
As I previously wrote on this article I wrote for Freelance Broker, if you're working 8 hour days in the office 5 times a week, it will be of benefit to you to get some downtime on the weekend. However you should be cautious about your alcohol intake, as alcohol is proven to hinder your performance at work and can massively affect your focus. If you're looking to work at your optimal performance in the office, you may want to consider drinking only on Friday night, giving you two days to recover from a hangover you may have. If you have important meetings or just want to work at the best possible level you can, maybe it is best not to drink at all, or maybe just have a special night out as a reward if you hit X amount of sales.
15. Write A To Do List
Planning for the day will ensure you do not waste time on anything of low importance, and will leave you to focus your time on areas of high importance. When you have a clear plan of what you need to do it is also more difficult to become distracted. Writing a list for the day that you can have on your desk will be the best option, as you will know what you need to focus on, making you less distracted by unimportant things such as social media or the news.
16. Give Yourself A Social Media Break
Whilst it is all well and good turning your notifications off, you may still get an urge to reply to a message from this morning on Instagram, or tune into a special live feed that you saw advertised on Facebook. The best thing to do to stop social media being a distraction is to simply remove the apps from your phone, or better still deactivate your accounts. You can go on a 'social media break' whereby you can challenge yourself to go social media free for a week or maybe longer, and you may find your productivity and focus improves in the office.
17. Wake Up Earlier
Despite us explaining the importance of 7-8 hours sleep, making sure you get up in time is also equally important. If you're rushing around in the morning because your train arrives in less than 15 minutes and you haven't done your tie and brushed your teeth yet you can almost ensure that your focus will not be working optimally once you arrive in the office. Waking up at a reasonable time also gives you more time to write notes, create to do lists and get started for the day ahead.
18. Consider Brain Training Exercises
Many people believe engaging in brain training exercises can be a great way to improve your memory and focus. This can be as simple as some Sudoku on the train to the office, or you could use one of the many brain training apps available to use on your iPhone.
19. Read Books
The next time you're busy scrolling through Facebook, consider reading a book instead. As well as being able to educate you on whatever subject is valuable for you to learn, they can also help to improve your vocabulary and help improve your focus and concentration.
20. Do Not Stress
If you're stressed then you'll most likely find it very difficult to focus. Everybody experiences stress and sometimes it is unavoidable, however there are certain things you can do to help avoid getting in stressful situations. One example would be to wake up early to ensure you don't miss the train, or backing up your work to ensure you don't lose your work. If you do find yourself getting stressed in the office, maybe consider engaging in some relaxing breathing exercises to put your worries to the back of your head. This should help you regain focus on what is important and improve your productivity in the office.
So there you have it, 20 simple techniques you can implement to improve your focus in the office. With 2019 around the corner maybe you'd like to write all of these down and keep them by your desk, and then you'll be constantly reminded about what you need to do to be working at full performance, which should set you off for a great year. Thank you for reading!
Written by Oliver Court of MediaHabitRead more
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