If you’re having trouble focusing on the job, you’re in good company. Udemy’s latest Workplace Distraction Report found that approximately 70 percent of workers feel distracted at work, with 16 percent admitting they’re nearly always distracted.
This issue is most problematic with Millennials and Gen Zers, with 74 percent reporting hindrances with their workplace focus.
Zeroing in on the task at hand in today’s information-saturated world is complicated, but not impossible. Here are some ways to stay on track during your office hours.
Determine Your Concentration Peak: Some find their attention span is sharpest first thing in the morning after a good night’s sleep, but have a hard time getting back into the swing of things after their lunch break. Other people find they are most effective in late afternoon hours when they start to feel the pressure of the end of a workday creeping up on them. Whatever the case, choose your most difficult or least exciting tasks and allocate them to your peak concentration period. Speaking of most difficult tasks…
Work on Grueling Tasks in Small Increments: When working on something particularly intricate that requires your undivided attention, it can be easier to break the project into smaller sections and to take them on over brief segments of time. You can also opt to work on the assignment as a whole piece but take a break when you reach a mental block. When you’ve hit that wall, it’s best to move on to a more straightforward and unrelated duty, only returning to the complicated project when your brain has had time to cool down.
Prioritize Your To-Do List: It’s great to have a list of things to accomplish, but it’s even better to arrange the items in a way that will give you the best shot at productivity and completion. Your tasks are not all equally important, so your list should organize your tasks based on their urgency and importance.
The Eisenhower Matrix, for instance, is an excellent method to help you divvy up your duties. Created by former U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower, a four-quadrant matrix can guide you through separating urgent tasks from important ones. In short, urgent tasks are things you feel like you need to take care of immediately, such as emails, phone calls or responding to news. On the other hand, important tasks contribute to you or your company’s long-term mission, values and goals. Check out the quadrant via SlideModel to learn to perfect this technique for your benefit.
Stop Multitasking: Work is not the best time to lose focus on individual tasks to accomplish multiple objectives at once. Employee productivity and results can actually suffer due to too much multitasking. Give your undivided attention to those big projects and try to ignore the other things looming over you. One of the principles of the Lean methodology is limiting work in progress. An excellent job on a critical assignment trumps a mediocre job on several tasks performed simultaneously.
Of course, things do come up and you may need to stop what you’re doing to pay attention to something that’s particularly pressing.
If you’re using Pipefy, you can move your previous task to “on hold” before you put something else on your “doing” column. That way, you’ll know you must return to that first task after you take care of the more urgent one.
Block Online Distractions: Is ignoring your Facebook notifications impossible? Do you mindlessly scroll through your Twitter feed out of habit? Is Instagram making it hard for you to concentrate on the task at hand?
Download SelfControl, an application that blocks certain websites that keep you from working, and it does so for a set amount of time. You can opt to set SelfControl up to prevent you from accessing these sites during all your scheduled working hours.
Ready or not, another work day is surely approaching. Start off on the right foot by taking these tips into account.