“Where was I again?” I often ask myself this question after getting distracted. My attention span is very limited. I find it hard to focus on almost everything. It is pretty annoying when I am often troubled by distractions. The more I am interrupted, the less I am able to concentrate. And when I return… I am not sure where I left off.
How do people manage to stay on track throughout the day? We live in a world filled with diversions. Like today, the stubborn me took over. Instead of working, I am making rounds on my blog, attempting to write about how to focus. It is beyond 7 p.m. anyway.
How can someone like me with a short attention span focus? Here is how I do it.
Arrange My Workspace
Keeping our workspace tidy has a huge impact on our ability to focus. A cluttered desk is distracting most of the time. Before I start working, I make sure everything is tidy and within my reach: my food and drinks. So I do not have to get up to get food or drink in case I get hungry or thirsty.
Create a Task List
It became my habit to make a to-do list before starting work, clocking out, and going to bed. I categorize them according to their importance and due dates. Every time I slash out a task, it motivates me to do everything.
There were times I had to switch from one task to another. Changing tasks makes my brain stay alert sometimes. Oftentimes, it (multi-tasking) is not effective for me. More pending tasks are happening.
Play Some Music
Listening to music could calm my troubled mind and improve my performance. It can even make a tedious chore more enjoyable.
When I am feeling down, I listen to the classics: cellos and violins. When I am bored, I listen to rock music. When you see me wearing my headphones, it means I am either trying to concentrate or I am bored. Whichever of the two. So don’t.
I limit my phone use in order to stay focused and complete my tasks on time. I usually put it aside and concentrate on my work. Notifications easily pull my attention away from what I was doing, so setting it to silent mode can have a significant impact.
Take Mental Breaks
Short breaks are the best thing to do when you cannot focus any longer. Taking a little rest allows our minds to recharge or reboot. Our brains are not capable of working for 3 hours straight. This is why I set my hourly alarm (even though I am at work). I am training myself to focus on a task for 45-50 minutes, then take a 10-minute break from the computer.
When you see me stretching away from my desk, I am taking my mental break seriously.
Distractions are everywhere. And remaining focused is a difficult challenge. Following these can be daunting at first, but with perseverance and dedication, we will increase our focus.