We live in a world where everything seems to fight for your attention. It often seems as though your work, online studies, personal life, and social circle demand you deal with them now.
This often leads to an unfocused, pressurized frame of mind, making it difficult to concentrate fully on a task at hand. Studies have shown that the result of a distracted mind is a lack of productivity.
How Distractions Affect Our Workflow
Researchers at the University of California, Irvine discovered that it takes an office worker who has been interrupted from work nearly thirty minutes to return back to the original task. Bob Sullivan and Hugh Thomson, authors of The Plateau Effect: Getting from Stuck to Success established that these interruptions at work reduce the efficiency and accuracy of the task by a whopping 20%.
While this constant thread of shifting attention is detrimental to our focus, it’s not impossible to beat.
Despite the distractions, it is possible to refresh your brain in order to flourish this Spring – helping you feel more accomplished in what you achieve throughout the day.
Eight Ways to Eliminate Distractions and Focus Clearly
1. Get rid of the worst first
There’s almost nothing worse than having a dreadful task weighing on your mind all day long. The longer it takes, the heavier it seems to become.
Beat it by knocking it out the way at the beginning of your day, freeing up that space in your mind to focus on other, somewhat better, tasks. Remember: Once it’s done, it’s done.
2. Reduce your digital pressure
In today’s day and age where our smartphones count as our time-keepers, our calendars, our connection to others, and even our books, it sounds impossible to shut them down for any amount of time.
It is important, though, to take time away from digital devices such as computers and phones with the intention of focusing clearly without the distraction of a screen. This allows your mind to readjust to a calmer pace, without checking to see if you have any new notifications.
3. Nurture intentional quiet time
One way to consider something clearly is to focus on something else completely. It sounds counter-intuitive, we know, but taking a mental inventory can be exactly what is needed to know what your priorities are.
Everybody has a different way of internal processing, so the method of having ‘quiet time’ is different for everybody. Some get the most out of mindful activities such as yoga or hiking, while others prefer more still methods, such as meditation.
Taking this time out on a daily basis can make a massive difference as it helps temper your day while you deal with your work, the people in your life, and any issues that might come your way.
4. Don’t skip the sleep
When pressure builds close to a deadline, it might be tempting to find additional hours to work from your allotted sleep time. This can become dangerous, as it is more difficult to watch your temperament and your productivity when you are facing fatigue.
To stay fresh, wake up fresh. And that means getting in a solid 6 – 8 hours of sleep each night.
5. Mind your physical health.
While you focus on replenishing yourself with sleep, integrate or maintain healthy habits to other areas of your life too.
Food and exercise can have a remarkable difference on one’s mood and productivity – and this can go in both directions. If you are eating well, getting in the correct nutrients, and treating yourself to a stress-combatting workout regularly, you’ll likely perform at your mental peak.
7. Find positive peer pressure and negate the negative
Some people seem to suck the energy from others with their negative behaviour. Too much of this can leave you feeling drained or valueless.
Considering your crowd is a good step to refreshing your mind, as you make room for well-minded, mentally healthy people to influence you in a positive manner. If you are goal-oriented, surround yourself with ambitious people who will elevate you to achieve more and aim higher.
7. Sort out your stress
When you are feeling stressed, your body releases adrenaline and cortisol as a way for you to act quickly to get out of the stressful situation. This results in ‘fight or flight’ responses, which is probably not the optimal way of dealing with things. This messes with your sleep patterns, your mood, and your immune system.
Finding a way to manage stress will have a compound effect, allowing you to focus and act with more clarity than when you feel under too much pressure.
Stress relief can be in the form of exercise, meditation, social interactions, and deep breathing.
8. Tend to your schedule
Finding out exactly what you have to do can have a profound impact on a day, as you know how much time to allocate to each task. If you are unsure what you have on your plate, it’s difficult to plan your day.
Find clarity on what your calendar looks like, and adust it to how it might best suit you. Sorting this out in the morning, or at the beginning of the week can save you headaches down the line.