Your phone dings – alerting you that you have a new text message. Do you successfully resist the temptation to check it, or do you immediately grab it to see who’s contacted you?
Most of us fall in the latter camp – unable to leave our notifications unchecked for more than a moment.
This constant need to stay up-to-date on all of our digital activity and social media only makes it more and more difficult to maintain adequate concentration and focus on the task at hand. In fact, many of us now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish.
With such a short attention span, it’s become increasingly hard to stay focused during the workday and complete all of our necessary tasks. How do you do it?
Below are 5 easy ways to help you master staying focused at work – so you can step up your productivity game and cross off your To-Do list for good.
Start Your Day off on the Right Foot by Exercising
Instead of downing several cups of coffee and relying on a caffeine rush to help you stay focused, you may want to try an alternative stimulant…exercise.
It’s no secret that exercise has been shown to improve things like memory, cognitive functioning, and relieve stress.
To reap these great benefits, all you need to do is get moving and get your blood flowing for as little as 20 minutes. That’s all it takes!
Getting up and getting your blood flowing first thing in the morning will give your brain the boost it needs to get those creative juices flowing straight away, so you can start your day off strong and set a solid tone for the rest of it.
Set Your Goals with Lists
If you know that you have X amount of tasks you want to accomplish on any given day, writing them out in a list is a great way to help you maintain focus throughout the day.
Begin by writing out each individual task you want to accomplish, and cross them off as you complete each one. Once you complete and cross the first task off your list, that will trigger your brain to release dopamine, which fires reward circuits making you feel good. You’ve accomplished something! Yay!
And once you’ve gotten that first taste of that sweet, sweet To-Do list dopamine, you’re going to want more.
As you prioritize the tasks on your list and begin to see the rewards of accomplishing them, you’ll probably find that your day’s been a lot more productive than you anticipated at the start.
Eliminate Distractions (Put Your Devices in Airplane Mode If You Have To)
One of the biggest keys to staying focused is to eliminate any and all distractions you face during your workday.
If you can’t stop pull yourself away from your phone for longer than 5 minutes, it might be time to utilize the Airplane Mode function, so that you’re not obsessively reaching for it and making it impossible to stay focused.
If you have Facebook (or any other distracting websites, for that matter) up on your laptop or desktop, that’s got to go, too.
There are plenty of tools to help you eliminate distractions so you can get more done during your workday. For example, if you (like most people) are a Chrome user, StayFocused is a free plugin you can add to your browser that limits the amount of time you’re able to spend on distracting websites.
Take a Meditation Break
Believe it or not, taking a few minutes out of your busy day to meditate has several positive benefits. At face value, meditation might seem like it’s a useless time suck…why should you take time out of your day to perform breathing exercises when it’s something you’re going to be doing no matter what?
The answer’s simple. If you perform breathing exercises for as little as 10 minutes each day, you’ll be setting yourself up for improved memory, cognitive functioning, and more.
If you’re a meditation newb and don’t know where to start, just pull up YouTube and search for tutorials there.
After just 10 minutes, you’ll begin to feel more at peace, making it easier to concentrate and get sh*t done.
Consider Giving Fasting a Try
If you’re an avid follower of health and fitness trends, you’re probably already familiar with intermittent fasting. If not, it’s quite simple. Intermittent fasting is the practice of not eating for extended periods of time.
One of the most popular forms is the 16/8 fast. For 16 hours each day, you don’t eat anything, and only consume unsweetened, calorie-free beverages like black coffee, tea, and water. The other 8 hours are your “feeding time,” where you consume all of your calories for the day.
Intermittent fasting has many different benefits, but one of the biggest ones, (aside from weight loss, of course) is improved cognitive function.
It’s been said over and over again that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but if you choose to try this form of fasting, an easy way to get started is by simply skipping breakfast. And if you’re constantly on the go, chances are good that you’re not making the best breakfast decisions anyway.
By skipping breakfast and breaking your fast around 12 or 1 p.m., you’ll improve your focus in the morning – because your body doesn’t have to expend all of its energy just to digest your breakfast. This frees up more resources so you can focus on accomplishing what you need to.
You’ll increase focus, boost your metabolism, and, as a result, you may even lose weight. What’s not to love?