Three Strategies to Stay Focused at Work

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Hump day, Wednesday, the hardest day of the week to stay focused – so close yet so far from the tantalizing freedom of the weekend. Here you are reading this instead of working, but do not worry, we’re happy you are here. Everyone loses focus, we are only human after all. If you think you need help improving your focus then we have some convenient and easy to implement tips that can help you, not only at work, but in all aspects of your life.

Declutter your workstation

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It is easy to be distracted by having too much clutter on your desk and desktop. Not only does it make it more difficult for you to find what you need, but it also creates stress as you have a visual reminder of all the work you have yet to do. This causes you to lose focus and despair.

Spend some time organizing your area. The proverb “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” applies at work and at home. Spending 10 seconds to properly file something on your computer or cleaning up the crumbs from lunch is an investment in your future. By doing this now, instead of procrastinating, you are saving time. If you wait a week or a month to do this it will take so much longer than the little bit of effort it takes to complete initially. A happy and healthy mind follows from focus. If you stay focused, and you can bask in the healthy glow of having done something positive and beneficial,  then you can continue to use that positive momentum toward higher focus and productivity.

  • Tip 1: Get that stack of papers off your desk.
  • Tip 2: Save computer files in the right place – not on your desktop!
  • Tip 3: Wipe up your crumbs from lunch!

Take a break

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Breaks are not only healthy for you but healthy for your productivity. People are incapable of focusing on anything for more than 90 minutes at a time. The brain consumes a lot of energy and it needs to recharge. If you are feeling distracted after an hour of work, take 10 minutes off to recharge your brain. Watch YouTube videos of funny cats, go for a short walk, or eat a snack. Whatever it is, it’s important to switch your brain to a different task, especially one that is inspiring and fun. When you can make something your own you are much more likely to stay focused.

Being productive is the most important thing and with breaks every hour or so you will be productive longer. Remember all those marathon study sessions you did in college, studying 8-12 hours at a time before a final? Be honest with yourself and ask how much of that time was really, truly beneficial to your studies? Without proper rest the brain tires and you lose focus. If you continue to work with no focus you will spend an hour re-reading the same sentence and still have no comprehension of it. In that 8-12 hour span you were probably truly productive for less than half, likely less than a third.

Working smarter, not harder, actually includes not working at all! Take a little break every hour to stretch or relieve your eyes. Laugh at funny cat videos or listen to a podcast. You will find yourself much more productive and less stressed out by doing so.

  • Tip 1: Take a walk to the water cooler.
  • Tip 2: Watch a funny video.
  • Tip 3: Get out of your chair and get your eyes off your screen!

Be unreachable

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Not every email needs to be responded to immediately and not every phone call is life or death. Death by little distractions is an easy way to lose focus, be stressed out, and miss deadlines. Prioritize what you are doing. Update your Slack status as unavailable or disable notifications from your email for a short period of time. By making yourself unavailable to other tasks, and focusing solely on the important task you are currently working on, you will improve your focus and your workflow.

  • Tip 1: Set aside a specific time to check your emails.
  • Tip 2: Disable your notifications.
  • Tip 3: Make a to-do list at the beginning of the day and tackle one thing at a time.

Employee Assistance Program

Need more resources or tips on how to stay focused or reduce stress? There are many free services available to Aliat co-employees and their families through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). If you are a Aliat co-employee and would like to access the EAP, contact us.