If you’ve ever tried to get work done in a distracting environment, you’re not alone. Interruptions happen – they’re pretty much an everyday occurrence and simply the nature of things in most workplaces. The unfortunate reality, though, is that being distracted at work can negatively affect focus and ultimately hurt productivity.
That being said, how can employees beat distractions and raise focus and concentration levels while improving on-task performance? Here are some sure-fire ways to boost concentration and increase productivity in the workplace.
Declutter Your Workspace
A clean and neat space has a way of putting your mind at ease and increasing your ability to focus. Researchers have found that when there are too many things in your field of view (a messy desk, for example), it has a measurable impact on productivity. Too much clutter actually causes people to lose the brain power necessary to focus.
Create Checklists and Set Daily Goals
Organize your day by creating goals, each with a clear purpose. This is essentially a detailed to-do list of prioritized daily tasks. Believe it or not, keeping a to-do list is the simplest and easiest way to ensure you stay focused while increasing productivity. Set reasonable targets for each day and be sure to check each one off once they’ve been completed.
Monotask, Don’t Multitask
To be clear, we aren’t saying to stay on one task only for an extended period of time – that causes burnout. We are, however, saying that since multitasking isn’t truly effective, you should give monotasking a try. Look at your calendar at the beginning of each week and assign yourself a specific focus each day. One day might be focused on administrative work, while another is concentrated on an upcoming project, for example.
Switch Tasks when Needed
Ever been hard at work on a project and totally focused, but after a while, you feel like you hit a wall? You’ve probably been focusing on one thing for too long, and now your brain needs a break. Try switching to a completely different task. Giving your brain a variety of things to work on can help you stay alert and productive for longer periods of time.
Break Up Large Projects with Smaller Tasks
In order to raise productivity, consider breaking up big projects into more manageable chunks. Similar to eating a meal with multiple courses, try breaking assignments down into smaller sections and completing these tasks one at a time. This way, you’ll stay motivated by not feeling as overwhelmed.
Take Mental and Physical Breaks
You’d be amazed at how taking a strategic break can boost your brainpower. Even a short break can provide a burst of inspiration and motivation. Taking a time out refreshes your mind, allowing it to reset. If you feel a mental block coming on or fatigue setting in, step away from your desk for a few minutes – go for a walk or simply spend a few minutes outside in the fresh air.
A distracting work environment can definitely be challenging and hinder your productivity. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to stay focused. Try the suggestions above and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you’re able to increase your level of focus and improve on-the-job performance!
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