Do you have a hard time focusing at work? Do you find yourself getting sidetracked by your phone, email, social media, coworkers, or even small distractions? It is easy to get distracted but once you do it can take up to 23 minutes to recover and get back on track. Your time and demands are important and focusing on your work can be difficult.
While small distractions might not seem that important, it is estimated that due to these individual small distractions, companies lose over 30 hours a week. That grows to 28 billion hours lost a year and in turn $1 trillion for the entirety of the U.S. economy, according to Jonathan Spira, author of Overload! How Too Much Information Is Hazardous to Your Organization.
For those of us with small businesses, it is vitally important to stay on track and be productive during the work day. Read through these five hacks in order to stay away from distractions and stay focused while at work.
- Don’t forget to move.
Did you know that it is good to get up and walk around for five minutes every hour? It shows that it helps you get focused again and be more productive over employees that stay sitting at their desks for hours at a time. Workers that get up once an hour show not only more productivity, but also less fatigue and tend to be happier.
It is easy to get so caught up in what we are doing that sometimes by the time we notice, hours have gone by. I like to set a timer on my watch or phone to remind me once an hour to get up and walk around for a few minutes, get some water, and stretch a bit. If you do this, you can get back to your desk refreshed and ready to get back into focus.
- Learn to practice “deep work.”
Lot’s of times people tend to start multiple tasks at once and try to multitask. However, multitasking is proven to not work, but rather the idea of “deep work” is better. This means to completely immerse yourself into one task without interruptions. According to Cal Newport, a professor at Georgetown University, “deep work” will help us be more productive in less time. Staying focused on the details on a single task is key.
Consider starting your day by turning off your phone and focusing on one important task for an hour before checking your inbox. This way you can start your day feeling productive and accomplished instead of going through your inbox and adding multiple tasks on top of your to do list.
- Turn off the background noise.
A lot of people tend to turn on something in the background such as music, a podcast, netflix, etc. However, background noise actually is shown to ruin concentration. Background noise actually is shown to increase stress instead of decrease it. The more stressed we are, the worse our ability is to learn, plan, reason, remember, and organize. If you do not have a way to turn off the noise, consider noise canceling headphones for tasks where you really need to buckle down and focus.
- Block your time and batch your work.
While being able to sit and focus on one task for hours until it is complete sounds like a great plan, not everyone is able to do that. For those people we recommend trying the Pomodoro technique. This is split their days up into chunks of time that might not be hours long, but long enough to make significant progress every time.
This technique was invented by Francesco Cirillo to help people work on growing their attention span. He recommends work as focused as you can for 25 minute intervals with 5 minute breaks. This gives you time to focus but also a few minutes to breathe, walk around, go to the bathroom, get water, or just take a few minutes away from your computer.
Another way you could do this is by planning out specific amounts of time to get as many tasks done as you can. Instead of trying to spread out tasks throughout the day, set aside specific blocks of time to crank out all of those tasks. When people see an endpoint in sight, they tend to find it easier to be productive for those blocks of time.
- Put your phone in airplane mode.
One of the biggest productivity killers are our smartphones. It is so easy to get distracted by notifications or social media and end up down a rabbit hole of distractions. It happens to everyone as companies design these apps to be addictive. The best and fastest way to combat this is to cut yourself off completely. Put your phone in airplane mode for periods of time that you set aside to fully focus. Whether that is for 25 minute intervals or a 2 hour block, keep your phone in airplane mode until you finish your tasks.
If you are the owner of a small business or even someone who just has a hard time getting work done and staying focused, we are here to help! Contact us for a quote and learn all of the services available to help you and your small business. We can be reached at 310-534-5577 or email@example.com.
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