Remaining focused is one of the biggest challenges facing us today. With constant distractions provided by continual notifications on our phones, constant emails on our computers, and colleagues starting counterproductive conversations, it can sometimes feel like getting yourself to just concentrate on a specific task is impossible.
Recent research has confirmed as much. According to a recent study, those who rely on a computer for their work are getting distracted every 10.5 minutes on average. Every workday, the average employee loses 2.5 hours to distractions.
With that in mind, what are the main benefits of becoming focused? And how can you improve your ability to remain “on task” for extended periods of time?
Why Keeping Focused is Good for Us
It could be argued that the ability to focus is the one of the most valuable skills in the today’s world. If you can complete tasks to the best of your ability despite the distractions provided by television, radio, mobile phones, the internet, social media and any other distracting influences, then you are going to become a valuable member of any team.
Being focused not only increases your value, but also provides a whole range of benefits:
- You can complete tasks faster – When you remain focused on completing a single task, your brain functions on that task alone. This allows you to complete the task much quicker than if you were trying to juggle several tasks at once. By using 100% of your brain power on just one job, you can’t fail to complete it quicker than if you were dividing your attention between a couple of tasks and a few distractions.
- You produce higher quality work – Similar to the point made above, if you commit all of your focus to a task, it is likely to be of a higher quality. You’re less likely to make mistakes, and you are much more likely to be creative when approaching the task. When you’re bouncing from item to item, you can easily make silly errors and forget the good ideas you had at the start of the project.
- You become less stressed – A lack of focus often results in falling behind with work objectives. As you become more and more distracted, you tend to fall even further behind and your mounting work load can cause all kinds of mental health problems related to stress. When you aren’t focused you can end up taking on work that should be delegated or outsourced, building your work pile so high that you feel that you can’t escape.
- You enlist the help of your subconscious – Think back to when you learnt to ride a bike or drive a car. Remember how focused you had to be when you first started out? Notice how you can now do both without even thinking now. This is thanks to the subconscious parts of your mind taking necessary actions whilst your conscious brain focuses on more important tasks such as surveying the road ahead. When you focus on just one task, your subconscious brain starts to help you by working on a separate part of the task. For instance, if you beginning the task of writing an article your focus is immediately on creating a catchy introduction, whilst the subconscious will get to work on organising the points you are going to make within the body of the piece.
5 Tips for Improving Your Focus
Luckily you can improve your focus by just following a few simple but effective rules. By improving your focus, not only will you see the benefits in your professional life, but in your personal life too.
Here’s 5 easy tips to improve your ability to focus:
- Eliminate Distractions – This may seem an all-to-obvious point, but it’s rare that individuals actually follow through with eliminating all of the distractions around them. Remove devices that light up or make noises to get your attention such as your phone. Tell those around you that you’re getting on with a task and that you don’t want to be disturbed. Turn background noises such as radio or television off, and knuckle down to your task.
- Complete one task at a time – People often accidentally multitask. Scientific studies have proven that multitasking is very bad for us. Studies have shown that multitasking results in a 40% drop in productivity, an increase in stress levels, and a drop in IQ of up to 10%.
- Practice mindfulness – One way to beat distraction and procrastination is to become more aware of it when it’s happening. If you catch yourself doing something not related to your specific task, take a moment to recognise that you’ve gone “off task” and try to understand what triggered you to become distracted. Follow it up by making a plan for avoiding the same situation from taking place again.
- Improve nutritional choices – People seldom make the link between what they put in their body and their performance in the workplace or at home. However, making better choices with your nutrition can lead to huge increases in your ability to properly focus. Avoid relying too much on caffeine, cut down on foods that cause huge spikes and falls in blood sugar levels, and start eating more food linked to increased brain function such as oily fish and eggs.
- Take frequent short breaks – No matter how well you can focus, everyone’s natural focus levels decay with the passing of time. Therefore, if you have a large task that is going to take up the majority of your workday, it’s impossible to be 100% focused for 8 hours in a row. You are much more likely to achieve peak focus levels by breaking the task down into 8 one-hour chunks, with 45 minutes of solid work followed by a short 15-minute break to refresh your mind.
Get More Helpful Information on Improving Your Health and Wellbeing
Mastering your ability to focus can lead to a wide range of positive benefits in both your professional and personal life. Better still, by following some simple rules you can graduate from an individual who struggles with distractions and procrastination to someone who has the focus of a ninja!
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