Do you struggle with fulfilling your work or home duties? Every time we lose concentration, our stress and anxiety levels pay the price. If your life feels like it is crowded with competing priorities and distractions, you are not alone.
Read this guide to learn how to stay focused and achieve your goals.
10 Tips to Improve your Focus and Avoid Distractions
Distractions exist in every corner of our lives and are caused by external and internal factors such as social media and fatigue. But you can overcome them with the following strategies.
1. Make a Schedule or To-Do List
Be intentional about where to focus your time. Dedicate a few minutes at the start of each morning to manage your schedule and write down important activities that must be completed for the day to be productive. From there, prioritise each task and how you will reach them. That way, when you are next distracted, a quick glance at your to-do list will get you back on track.
2. Set Smaller Goals
Beat procrastination by breaking a large project into smaller bits. This idea removes the intimidation of bigger goals and makes accomplishing your tasks much easier, as it requires your attention for shorter periods of time.
3. Take short breaks
Get away from your workstation for five minutes every hour to boost your energy, refresh your body and mind, and stay centred for longer. Being too busy to not take regular breaks can result in mental exhaustion. So, take a walk in the fresh air or grab a cup of tea.
4. Stop Multi-Tasking
Try to focus on your most important assignment or chore instead of constantly switching between projects. Multi-tasking is stressful and restricts your creativity and productivity. This is where making a daily agenda comes into effect because once you set your biggest priority, you can make time to work on it foremost without interruptions.
5. Create the perfect work environment
Design an environment that enables you to stay focused with limited physical and mental clutter available to distract you. Whether it is working from home in silence or a cafe/office space with ambient noise. In addition, make sure your desk is organised and remove anything that can steal your attention.
To prevent your thoughts from hindering your productivity, keep a pen and paper nearby. So, whenever an idea or extra task pops into your mind, you can jot it down and revisit it later.
6. Put on Headphones
Having a little bit of classical or instrumental music in the background improves motivation and concentration. However, if you prefer tackling duties in silence, wearing headphones can be a subtle sign to chatty co-workers not to interrupt you.
7. Turn Off Notifications
We live in an interruption-based culture where persistent notifications and messages are everywhere. Our attention also dwindles as we subconsciously check our devices for new information. Stop reaching for your phone by muting all notifications or putting it on “Do Not Disturb” or “Airplane” mode.
Alternatively, you can leave your smartphone out of sight. According to a study from The University of Texas, just having your phone within reach drains your cognitive capacity.
8. Talk to Yourself
Say aloud: “What do I need to be doing right now?” to re-clarify your focus when you feel unsure what to do next. Then state your task, like “I am going to prepare my meeting notes.” Self-talk does help you regain control and encouragement.
9. Improve Your Sleep
Adopting this tip ensures you complete your responsibilities with enhanced mental strength. It is counter-productive to sacrifice sleep in an attempt to work longer hours and get more things done because a lack of consistent quality rest causes higher levels of burnout. At least 7 hours of sleep per night improves your overall health and increases energy.
10. Reward Yourself
This is a prominent form of self-care, acting as a stress reliever as well as developing your creativity and confidence. By setting up a reward system for fulfilling certain tasks, you will ultimately feel more positive and motivated about making that effort.
Related Reading: How to “Switch Off” After Work
It is inevitably to fall prey to distractions as they exist in every corner of our lives. However, this does not mean that you have to face them unprepared. Instead, use the 10 tips above for staying focused and avoiding distractions to get more done in less time.
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Additional Reading: 10 Habits to Stay Organised