5 easy ways to stay focused at work

24 November 2015

 

We’ve all been there; the dwindling afternoon hours where the only thing pulling you through is the thought of the 4pm caffeine hit. But it needn’t be this way – ditch the coffee and stay motivated with our top five tips for staying focused at work.

1. Understand why the task is important

We all know that putting numbers into a spreadsheet isn’t the most exhilarating way to spend your time, but there’s a reason it’s sat on your to do list. If you’ve been putting a task off for a while, just think to yourself: Who will this task benefit? How will you feel once it has been completed? Staying focused on the positive aspects of a task and realising how it will impact you, others around you, and the company you are working with will allow you to see how one seemingly menial task contributes to a wider mission and accomplishment.

2. Find your prime time

If you know that you focus best in the morning, structure and prioritise your to do list according to this. Carry out your most challenging tasks in the morning, when your brain is switched-on and focused. Leave the lower priority tasks until the afternoon when your energy levels start to dwindle.

3. Eliminate distractions

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram might be an essential part of many jobs in the communications sector nowadays, but that doesn’t provide any more license to trawl through your personal accounts for hours (which is so easily done). Give yourself a time slot to visit these sites, ideally coordinating with any regular breaks you take, and use a Google Chrome extension such as Stayfocusd to limit the amount of time you can spend scouring the web.

4. Take regular breaks

Taking a break - however short - is a proven way to sustain concentration and improve energy levels throughout the day. There’s only so long that your eyes can focus on a screen for, and it’s important to step away from the workload and recollect your thoughts away from the stressful office environment. This also allows you to break your work into smaller chunks of time, as you work in, for example, hour long windows each dedicated to a single assignment, meaning that you can focus on the task at hand more effectively.

5. Get some rewards

As simple as a square of chocolate, or a cup of tea, offering yourself a small, short-term reward at the end of a task is a great way to improve efficiency. Anyone who has used the gummy-bear technique of placing a sweet at the end of a paragraph will be a dab hand at this, as you begin to realise how very motivating a tiny, sweet incentive can be.

So, next time you’re feeling sluggish after a busy morning at work, put our top tips into practise, and watch your productivity reach new heights.