Have you ever been trying to get something done that should only take a small chunk of your time, but ends up taking the entire day? It’s almost as if we know something needs to be completed, but we’ll find hundreds of excuses or reasons for why we couldn’t do it that day.
We live in a world with infinite distractions. From our phones, to our co-workers at the office, and even the laptops we work on. With just a click of a button we can now be easily taken away from our daily goals and redirected to many other things. There is so much around us that’s constantly trying to grab our attention, and sometimes it can seem nearly impossible to focus on what needs to get done.
What if we told you that there are actual tools you can start implementing that will improve your focus and productivity? Focusing, or being in a “state of flow” and accomplishing a goal is one of the best feelings ever. When you get lost in the work you’re doing and feel productive without distractions, it’s extremely rewarding. Why is this so hard for so many of us though? Here’s how we can break the cycle:
The Era of Distraction
Have you ever opened up Instagram to search for your favorite restaurant’s account only to end up down a rabbit hole of best restaurants in your city nearly an hour later? You’re definitely not alone. Social media and our phones are uniquely and specifically designed to keep our attention. As humans, we’re visual creatures and we all like to keep up to date with what is happening in the world through photos and videos. We don’t want to experience FOMO right? Here’s the thing though, the technology we have at our fingertips has come with a serious cost, and that cost is called distraction.
Distraction can be a good thing, for example, watching your favorite netflix show or getting lost in a YouTube series can take you away from reality and provide you with comfort during a bad day. Distractions can also be detrimental, especially when it comes to your goals and your focus.
A study was conducted by CareerBuilder that surveyed 3031 full-time workers in the United States about workplace distractions. Here is what they found the most disruptive as distractions at work:
- Mobile phone/texting: 55%
- The internet: 41%
- Gossip: 39%
- Social media: 37%
- Co-workers dropping by: 27%
- Smoke break or snack breaks: 27%
- Email: 26%
- Meetings: 24%
- Noisy co-workers: 20%
- Sitting in a cubicle: 9%
As you can see from this list, there are quite a few things taking our attention away from fully focusing at the workplace. Being in close corners of others isn’t always easy for optimal productivity, but it’s certainly not impossible! In order to start focusing better throughout the day, we must limit the distractions within our control as much as possible. Yes, that means starting with unnecessary gossip and constant texting.
Ways to Improve Your Focus
Now that we have a solid understanding of many common distractions that take place on a daily basis, especially at our workplace, let’s talk about how to start focusing better.
Limiting cell phone use:
Our cell phones have basically become an extension of our bodies. We can’t imagine going anywhere without them, and oftentimes we keep our phones beside us all day. Did you know that the average smartphone user actually checks their device 47 times a day? This has become a serious habit and distraction for so many of us and being mindful of our cell phone use is ideal for starting to use it less.
One suggestion we have for limiting cell distractions is to keep your phone away from you at work. It’s definitely tempting to keep your phone in your pocket or right beside you at your desk. The issue with this is that it’s easily accessible and sets you up for checking on it a little more often than you should.
Another way to limit your cell phone use is by putting your mobile on “do not disturb,” or silencing your notifications. Did you know that many apps you have on your phone right now will purposely send out notifications to you throughout the day to grab your attention and bring you back into the app? It’s absolutely brilliant from a marketing standpoint, but not so helpful if we’re trying to stay focused on our goals throughout the day.
The pomodoro technique:
Did you know that pomodoro is Italian for the word tomato? This popular time management technique has helped millions of people around the world boost their productivity and focus much better. Here is how this method works:
- Step one: Pick a task
- Step two: Set a 25 minute timer
- Step three: Work on the task until your time is up
- Step four: Take a 5 minute break
- Step five: Every 4 pomodoros take a longer 15-30 minute break.
This is a great way to slowly start improving your focus and using a timer to train yourself to stay on track of your tasks and goals!
Set a reward for yourself:
Rewards are something we all enjoy and look forward to. Dopamine is responsible for the feeling we get after being rewarded. Dopamine actually spikes in our brain when something important is about to happen or does happen and gives us a surge of pleasure and satisfaction. A great way to start improving your focus and accomplishing your goals is by setting a reward for yourself.
Your reward can be anything from treating yourself to a nice dinner after work, to taking an extra 10 minute break and going for a walk. Setting a reward will make you more determined to get your tasks complete and will give you an amazing sense of completion and accomplishment.
Fuel Your Body:
An overlooked aspect of focusing is proper nutrition and what we’re consuming or lacking on a daily basis. We actually become less focused and more easily distracted when we haven’t gotten enough sleep or adequate vitamins and nutrients. It’s not always easy to optimally take care of ourselves every day and sometimes we need that extra support to feel our best.
We have supplements that we highly suggest that help with mental clarity, focus, performance, and energy! Here are just a few you can begin to implement in your daily routine:
Better focus comes with practice, commitment, and utilizing the proper support and tools. When you start to make focus and accomplishing goals a priority in your life, you’ll notice so many benefits. It feels good to be productive, and hopefully this article has inspired you to shift away from distractions and more towards results. Cheers to productivity!