Who doesn’t need tips to focus at work? If you said, “Not me,” you sir, are a god.
Of all of the problems that the pandemic has caused, this one seems to be its own pandemic. People can’t focus.
With many workers juggling work, kids at home, countless restrictions, how does anyone stay on task? While writing this, I have 12 different tabs open on three separate windows; my phone is in my hand every other minute; my plants look like they need to be watered.
Whatever work environment you may find yourself in, your distractions are surmountable. It’s time to figure out how to trick your brain into staying focused. It’s time to get shit done.
Here are my four absolutely necessary steps I take to eliminate distractions and control my constantly moving brain.
4 Tips To Focus At Work
Get out of the routine.
First out of my top tips to focus is my personal favorite…Sometimes it’s a change of scenery. If you’re one of the growing number permitted to occasionally work from home you already know the value of this. Taking the laptop to a coffee shop is only the beginning. Find a park bench near the coffee shop. Try taking it to a university library. Try working at different times than you normally would.
If you’re in a growth phase of your career, you’re probably taking on more than your share of the workload, which means you’re also not working the 40-hour workweek. Instead of being annoyed by it, accept that this is part of what it takes to get to the next plateau.
That doesn’t mean you have to like it. But it also doesn’t mean you have to hate it.
Ever tried saving up low brainpower functions for a sprint session?
Try triaging email on Saturday afternoon over brunch. Maybe find somewhere with a Bloody Mary and mimosa bar. It doesn’t feel much like work.
Note: Day drinking is not one of my tips to focus better at work. Just to clarify in case you show this to your bosses.
Turn your phone over.
One of my favorite things to do when I need to focus is to turn my smartphone over. It’s a simple trick that’s effective. While I like to think that what I do is super important let’s face it, I’m not exactly a surgeon. If I don’t fire off the response to that text in the next half hour, no one is going to die.
It’s not easy. We have trained ourselves to be slaves to our devices. Break free.
Turn the wifi off.
One of my favorite ways to focus is to shut the laptop and grab a piece of paper. It changes how you think. There aren’t alerts popping up in your face making you question if you have ADHD:
- Becky likes your pic on Facebook.
- Dale sent you an email: where are we at with the proposal?
- Calendar reminder: pick up dry cleaning
- Tasklist reminder: schedule meeting with Mr. Zimmerman
- You have a LinkedIn request.
- Calendar reminder: Need to schedule a meeting to discuss what meetings we need to have.
The other reason why I start analog is that creativity it is critical.
When someone starts a logo concept or storyboard on their computer they are using tools that they are familiar with. When you start analog your mind is opened to possibilities that you might not have otherwise considered. The point at which you need to transfer it over to the digital world will allow you to understand what new skills you need to develop to execute.
Take a hike.
Sometimes all you need to clear your head is a ten-minute walk. The greatest philosophers prescribed to walking: Aristotle, Henry Thoreau, Jean-Jacques Rousseau…
“All is calm, expectant and at rest. You are out of the world’s chatter, its corridor echoes, its muttering. Walking: it hits you at first like an immense breathing in the ears. You feel the silence as if it were a great fresh wind blowing away clouds.” +Frédéric Gros