How often do you find yourself struggling to focus at work?
If you’re someone that gets easily distracted like me, your response will be something along the lines of “all the time.”
Right? Because no matter how hard you try to focus, there’s always a distraction that encourages you to procrastinate.
Over the years, I’ve found myself in the same position as you many times. Whether I’m sitting in a cafe working on new articles, or trying to focus on a project while waiting for a flight, distractions are pretty much everywhere that I visit.
But I’ve discovered that the best way to remain productive is by implementing different techniques that prevent distractions so you can focus on your work. In the words of Cal Newport:
“Clarity about what matters provides clarity about what does not.”
So below are a collection of ways to eliminate distractions & improve your focus in the workplace. Each one of them helped me to become more productive & significantly enhance my work ethic. I hope they do the same for you, too.
Optimize Your Environment.
If you’re surrounding yourself with people & things you find distracting, you won’t be able to remain focused throughout the day. So I’ve started using the library as a place to work as I find it easier to concentrate when I’m surrounded by other people that are also studying in silence.
Also, removing unnecessary tabs from your browser is a great way to ensure that you don’t end up watching four hours of YouTube to procrastinate on your work.
Take a moment to think about how you can begin adapting your environment to improve your level of focus. For example, expose yourself to natural light, keep a bottle of water by your side, and do anything else that may enhance your ability to concentrate at work.
Although these things may seem like small changes to make to your workstation, you’ll quickly notice that the increase in your productivity will be profound.
Turn Off Notifications.
One of the biggest reasons that I used to be unproductive was due to an unhealthy habit of regularly checking my phone. As I received dozens of social media notifications throughout the day, I frequently lost my train of thought & went off task for several minutes.
Even if you’re checking your phone for a few minutes each hour, it has the potential to destroy your level of productivity throughout the day. After all, research shows that it takes approximately 23 minutes to refocus on your work after a distraction.
During your work hours, put your phone in “Do Not Disturb” mode so you can’t be bothered by social media updates or anything else that can wait until the end of the day.
Because when you’re not distracted by notifications from your phone, it becomes much easier to remain focused & complete the task at hand.
Wear Noise Cancelling Headphones.
If you work in a noisy environment, blocking out external noise is a great way to improve your focus. So if you’re currently finding it difficult to concentrate, purchasing a pair of noise-canceling headphones could be the solution to your problem.
I’ve recently started carrying my headphones everywhere to ensure that I’m never distracted by external noise when doing any tasks that I have to complete during the day. As a result, the silence creates an opportunity to be alone with my thoughts so I can focus in any environment.
So if you find yourself having to work on a project in a cafe, at the airport, or anywhere else, wearing a pair of headphones will undoubtedly help to eliminate external distractions.
Schedule Your Day.
If you’re not in control of your schedule, you’ll discover that it’s challenging to be productive as you don’t have a defined structure to your day. Jim Rohnsaid it best: “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”
Since I first created a schedule detailing my activities for the day, it’s difficult to become distracted as I know which task I need to focus on during any given moment.
Begin creating a daily structure by writing down a list of important tasks and allocating specific times to each of them. For example, I’ll write new articles from 7–11 am, and then casually work on spreadsheets from 1–4 pm as my energy levels usually are much lower in the afternoon.
So instead of continually working without a defined structure, use a schedule to create a sense of discipline, and you’ll quickly find that it’s a lot easier to remain focused throughout the day.
Take Regular Breaks.
When you allow your brain to rest after intensely focusing on a task, it ensures that you’re not continually overworking yourself to the point of exhaustion. After all, research shows that mental fatigue is hugely detrimental to workplace productivity.
So whenever you get a chance, walk around for a couple of minutes, and you’ll notice that your brain feels less tired throughout the day as it’s regularly given a chance to relax. In the words of Brian Tracy:
“Set peace of mind as your highest goal, and organize your life around it.”
Remember: If you want to improve your focus at work, all you need to do is eliminate distractions so you can concentrate on what matters.