As human beings, we are nurtured to have goals and dreams from the moment we are born. We are all encouraged to do better and work harder to live the life we want to. One of the most distinguishing factors between a success and failure is the amount of effort an individual invests into directing it the way they want it to go. This direction of effort is called focus, and it is an imperative factor for us to fulfil our aspirations, whether acing a test or building a company. Being focused is what puts us ahead in life and two steps in front of those who are lax and laid back. The key is consistency in the amount of focus we put into our plans in order to build a life of purpose and ambition. However, most people find it hard to maintain concentration and often end up unfocused, which brings us to the biggest obstacle in the way of getting what we achieve – distraction.
Research has found that most people spend less than half of their time at work actually being productive. In today’s world, which is especially driven by social media, people often underestimate the impact of distractions on their attention span and efficiency. One of the biggest reasons for lack of focus is attention residue. We all function with the misconception that as soon as we will check a text message, go for a walk, scroll on Instagram for just five minutes or call a friend we will get back to work. We think it is that easy to regain focus in a split second after doing a small task as a “break”. However, implementing these kinds of distractions as breaks can often do more harm than good. Attention residue refers to the phenomenon when the thoughts that we have while taking these breaks linger on in our memory which makes it hard to bring our mind back to focus. For example, even after we scroll on Instagram the thought of some post still lingers on in our mind after closing the app, or if we speak to a friend then something they say will still stay with us after we disconnect the call. Even though these may seem like minor distractions, cumulating the time we spend on these miniscule occurrences can add up to a large chunk of our day. Regardless of all of this, there are multiple ways we can keep our focus in check to achieve what we want and feel like we are in control of our life.
The feeling of accomplishment after having a productive day is unmatched, and these tips can help one attain just that:
Organize your workspace
We often underestimate the impact an arranged and organized workspace can have on our productivity. Being able to function out of a clean environment which is not cluttered and cramped will not only help you maintain focus and work efficiently but also limit distractions that could easily divert your attention. Organizing your workspace before you begin to work every morning can be a huge bonus, especially while working from home. Taking a few minutes out of your day to declutter can go a long way.
Try the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method meant to improve focus and productivity. It breaks down your work time into 25-minute intervals separated by 5- minute breaks. After repeating these 4 times, you can take a longer break of 15-30 minutes. This method is especially helpful to get work done in the time you already have rather than work against it. Deliberately taking a break helps you to concentrate for longer periods of time and this method is very efficient when you have a long to – do list to tackle without feeling overwhelmed.
Keep the gadgets away
A huge part of getting things done is actually staying away from what prevents you from completing your work. One of the biggest distractions we face today is from our electronic devices which keep us connected to the world through social media. If we are using our phone or laptop to work and cannot keep them away, it can even be helpful to switch off the push notifications so our phone isn’t always buzzing and close unnecessary tabs on our laptop browsers to minimize any kind of interruptions in focus.
Make a to- do list
Time management is a crucial part of accomplishing goals. Prioritizing tasks based on their urgency can be a great way of getting things started. Juggling multiple projects and assignments can be difficult for many, so having an exhaustive list of the things you need to get done can help you to stay on track. A proper schedule can motivate you to work within a time frame while also giving you an overview of how much you have already accomplished which can act as a reward to work harder.
Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine
It is a no brainer that exercise has a noticeable impact on productivity. Following a regular fitness regime not only helps to boost energy levels but also combat stress and fatigue and is even known to increase brain function. When an individual is motivated and happy, they are more likely to get things done and work for longer periods, driven by purpose and intention. While all these steps may seem like small things, incorporating them into your daily life can actually yield great results. The most crucial thing to remember is to know your why behind what you do, because having a strong determination is key to kickstart your journey towards getting what you want.