You sit in the office surfing the web and looking for an article (like this one) about how you can improve your concentration at work. At the same time you have 12 new messages in your inbox, your phone rings for the arrival of the package you ordered last week from ebay, a colleague comes in and asks you a question and a couple of sms arrive on your mobile.
What do you do? You read the mail; arrange the receipt of the package, kindly reply to your colleague and read the sms. After all that fuzz it’s time to go back to work. Nah, I don’t think so!
Your body is in the office but your mind is on vacation. Even worse, you realize that you have at least five unfinished projects. Do not worry, you’re not alone. Here’s how to stay focus and concentrate better at work!
Beating the social media
Each status update is an occasion for a little chit chat with friends, each notification is temptation and every photo that made its appearance in your wall is another mental journey into the blue waters of an exotic beach which is far away from where you are at the moment.
When you “return” to work, it is reasonable that your concentration levels are low and work performance is reduced. What can you do? Unfortunately (for some), the only solution is not to login to Facebook and other social media networks as soon as you sit on your computer. If you need to take a “quick look” of what is happening, do it during the break and do not ‘forget’ to close it soon. Thus, the steady flow of posts and on-going twitter notifications will not distract you while you work.
E-mails from hell
They appeared unannounced in your inbox and almost shout “answer now.” Even the e-mails that are related to work distract you from the job you are doing at the moment. Let alone the e-mails of your friends, who analyse what they did last night or share the new joke that travels around the web.
We have mentioned this before, if you want to stay productive Instead of constantly checking your email, set specific times during the day to read and respond. The rest of the day, keep the window of your email client minimized and disable desktop notifications. If something is really urgent I am sure they will call.
Mute your mobile
Perhaps the single most disruptive sound other than the notification of new e-mail is your ringtone. Few can ignore an sms or a call, especially when we know that nine times out of ten is a friend. To avoid not only lose a few minutes talking on the phone put your phone on silent and leave it in your bag or in your drawer. You can look at the missed calls and sms during the break, and if necessary you call them back.
No more boredom
Some of the tasks we have to do every day are more interesting than others. Boring tasks are one of the greatest enemies of concentration: talking on the phone, browsing the web or even cleaning your office seems much more interesting than a job you are bored to do. We recommend that you make an agreement with yourself: for every boring task you finish, you get a ten minute break, a coffee or a phone call to a friend.
Manage work stress
It’s almost impossible to concentrate on a specific task when you are constantly thinking of your endless task list. The solution? Find a way to relax: try meditation, yoga, talk to your boss about your stress or learn to say “no” and do not assume responsibilities which you cannot respond (or are causing you too much stress). Go out for a walk, go jogging, take deep breaths or if all else fails-take a day off.
You are tired
You probably already know that (or read it in our other articles) fatigue and / or lack of sleep reduce your efficiency and affects attention and short-term memory. So, try to sleep at least seven to eight hours each day. Also take notice of the hours of the day you have more energy and use them to do the most important tasks first.
You are hungry
Less obvious from fatigue, hunger is also one of the biggest enemies of your concentration. If you do not usually break for lunch in the office, it is very likely that you do not feel hungry because your body is not accustomed to eating lunch. This is the reason why you cannot concentrate, because you have no energy.
What to do? First, do not ever skip breakfast. Also, avoid carbs like sweets and pasta, and choose whole grains for your lunch. Also, find out which foods can improve memory and concentration.
Wear your headphones
A proven recipe to keep your concentration (and your mental integrity while in the office) is to wear headphones. It’s the ideal way to show others that you are working on something important and do not have time for a chat.