Do you ever find yourself on the Youtube tab of your pc or just on your phone every time you have work to do? Then you find that tasks that are supposed to only take an hour end up taking 4 hours. The problem may be that you are struggling to stay focused to get the work done efficiently in the required time or less.
Well you are not alone in the struggle. You may be pleased to know that are scientific reasons for your inability to stay focused. Losing focus is actually natural and desirable – it’s an evolutionary system meant to keep us safe. Breaking focus is essentially bottom-down. It’s happens when your brain is noticing things that might need your attention. Evolution requires your concentration to break when something is either dangerous or rewarding.
Although there is a reason why you can’t stay focused on a task, if you have a busy schedule and looming deadlines, it is important to train your mind to focus on a task long enough so that you may work efficiently and achieve your goals.
Here are a few things that you can try to do when you find yourself losing focus.
1. Take Breaks
Taking enough breaks can re-energise and help you get more work done as compared to if you would have tried to work for long periods of time. Taking breaks helps you stay focused over long periods of time. Breaks can help you retain information in memory (important for studying or rehearsing a speech etc.) Taking short breaks every now and then help you re-focus on your big-picture goals. Generally, working for 50 minute periods with a 10 minute break will help you work more efficiently.
2. Change Scenery
You may have been sitting in your corner for a couple of hours working on a certain task. Changing your work space will refresh your mind and allow you to mentally start afresh. Choose your work space based on an environment that will help stimulate and ,motivate you to work. For me, I prefer a window that I can look out of. So working by a window or sitting outside to work helps keep me focused. Alternatively if there is a specific music genre that helps you focus, listen to it to get more work done.
3. Limit Distractions
You may be working on something very important and the next minute you’re on your phone. It is easy to get distracted by technology in the times that we live in. You don’t even have to think about it, you just pick up your phone and next thing you know, 30 minutes have gone by, The problem with losing focus is that it takes a while (about 25 minutes) to get back into “the zone”. So limit your distractions by keeping them off your work space. if you can’t see your phone, it won’t cause any temptations. You could also close all the tabs on your pc that are not relevant to what you are working on. Alternatively, switch off the notifications on your devices. if you don’t know that there is something new that has just happened, it reduces your chances of checking your phone.
This is an easy one; if you want to stay focused, then focus on one task at a time. Avoid multitasking. Multitasking has trained our brains to be unfocused. A study that compared light and heavy multitaskers has shown that heavy multitaskers have more difficulty ignoring irrelevant cues. Although multitasking may give you the satisfaction of “feeling busy”, it affects your overall productivity. You may appear to be doing a lot, but your output or results may be low.
5. Know your Why
Your inability to stay focused on a task may be due to the fact that you simply don’t feel like doing it. Your lack of motivation is because you have not defined your “why”. So staying focused on a task becomes very difficult for you. This is why it important to define your why and remind yourself of it constantly. One way to do this is to put up pictures of what motivates you in your work space. When your motivation is clear, then your attitude will change and you will transform how you work.
Do you use any of these tips in your daily workflow? Feel free to brag about your success in the comments!