Have you been daydreaming when you were supposed to be working on a presentation? Are you using more and more excuses to skip out early for the day or take longer breaks? If either of these sound familiar, chances are you’re having trouble focusing on your work. However, there are things you can do to improve. Here are four of them to try.
- Start Your Mornings Off on the Right Foot
You know that breakfast is an important part of your day, but not just any breakfast will do. It has to be something powerful, balanced and packed with exactly what you need to have a successful day at work.
There are so many options for that are not only quick but are exceptionally healthy as well. Try a hearty bowl of oatmeal, an egg scramble, avocado toast or a smoothie supercharged with green superfood powder. When your mind and body are properly fueled at the beginning of your day, you’ll notice a big difference in how you feel over the next several hours.
- Know When To Take a Break
While you might feel it’s counterproductive, taking breaks throughout your workday is an essential part of maintaining focus.
Finding the most effective ways to work with the break time you have is important. Aim to take a walk outdoors at least once per day, and don’t be afraid to set aside time to unplug and be with your thoughts — even if you do it at your desk. If you think you’d do better with more structure, consider following the Pomodoro Technique.
- Limit Distractions
Distractions are a natural part of the workday. Maybe it’s the background noise that gets to you, the notifications from your phone or the 15 open tabs on your browser. When you’re looking to improve your focus there’s only one answer. Figure out what’s distracting you and try to eliminate it.
Since it’s not always possible to do this entirely, you might need to get a little creative. Try noise canceling headphones if background noise is your nemesis, or move to another location if possible. Silencing notifications or stashing your phone out of sight could be helpful in keeping your focus on the task at hand. Try installing a blocker on your internet browser to eliminate any urge to browse the latest spring clothing line or news stories.
Since some of your distractions might be more habitual, it will probably take time to work through them. For instance, chances are you might not have realized that your habits of drinking too much coffee or eating candy might be making it hard for you to stay focused. Try replacing your coffee with water, seltzer or decaffeinated herbal tea. Stash nuts, dried fruit or even dark chocolate in your desk for a midday pick-me-up. Your body and mind will appreciate the nutrients, and you won’t be left feeling jittery or foggy afterwards.
- Create a Plan
The to-do list has been around forever, and for good reason. It’s a way to not only keep on track, but to hold yourself accountable as well. However, lists are only helpful if you put in an honest effort and make them part of your daily routine.
When you have a big project or deadline looming, one of the first steps you should take is to create a plan. One of the most important things you can do here is to ensure your plan is realistic and achievable, allowing you to digest smaller pieces of the project at a time rather than tackle it all at once.
If you stick with it, your progress will build momentum. Before you know it, your project will be completed.
Experiencing a lack of focus at work can be frustrating and can also put you in danger of losing your job. Since neither one of those situations is pleasant, it’s important to do whatever you can to make improvements. With some effort, regaining your focus is possible.