Mondays are productivity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
We’ve all had those days that are completely scattered. Things are constantly pulling our attention this way and that, and by the end of the day, we’ve gotten little done and we’re exhausted.
Here are 5 ways to regain your focus:
1. Turn Off The Phone
It’s hard enough to focus under normal circumstances with phones ringing, but if you’re having trouble concentrating, one ring can derail you completely. Even if you don’t answer it, we have been trained to respond to a ringing phone in one way or another.
To avoid this distraction, you can turn off the ringer, send the phone directly to voice mail, or turn off the phone. Turning off the ringer can usually be done on the phone itself with a volume button; however, most cell phones allow you to set the phone to silent. If you are at your office, most commercial phone systems have a “Send All Calls” button which forwards the phones directly to voice mail; check your instructions to find how to do this. Or you can always turn off (or unplug) the phone altogether.
2. Turn Off The Email
Email is a habit. Most people (myself included) check it incessantly. It’s not because we need to respond to email; we check because we are looking for distraction.
The solution to this is to turn off your email. If you are on a computer, exit the program entirely. If your email goes to your phone, shut your phone off (see #1). If your email shows on a notification (think iPad or iPod), turn off those notifications.
Additionally, if you use web-based programs, you can also use programs installed on your computer to limit the amount of time you spend on these activities (like Leechblock).
3. Eliminate Physical Discomfort
One of the hardest things to overcome if you are trying to concentrate is physical discomfort. If you are too cold, too hot, hungry, thirsty, sleepy, in pain or stiff, you will find it hard to ignore these things and focus on what you are doing.
Take steps to remedy whatever physical discomfort you are experiencing to smooth the way for focus.
4. Keep Paper Nearby To Dump Nagging Thoughts
Of distractions, one of the hardest to control is that distractions that are presented by our own minds. As soon as I tell myself I need to concentrate, a million thoughts start springing to mind – and most of them have nothing to do with what I am trying to accomplish.
Having a piece of paper nearby to dump all these thoughts out works well. You write the thoughts down (no editing, because this takes more attention away from what you are doing!) and get them out of your mind.
5. Practice Your Focus
With our modern lifestyles, we have been trained to multitask and shift focus at a moment’s notice. We can be reading and pause to respond to a text. We can be at dinner and answer the phone. This lack of concentration and focus can become a habit, which does not serve us when it comes time to actually put our attention exclusively to one task.
As a long-term solution, practice focusing on one task at a time. Use a timer, and gradually increase the time you focus on a task until you can do so as long as you wish. Start with 30 seconds (don’t laugh – we’re going for the easy win) and gradually extend your focus by 30 seconds until you can accomplish the time with no problems.
Do you have any methods for regaining your focus? Share below.
Photo by helgabj