Does this sound familiar? One minute you’re whizzing through your to do list, the next minute you’re watching cute puppy videos on Facebook or scrolling through your favorite retail store’s website. If it does, you are not alone. A recent study by Microsoft revealed that the average attention span is eight seconds. NO wonder it takes effort to stay focused.
Too many distractions can cause you to get behind on necessary tasks and deadlines. Even the smallest of distractions can begin to add up and affect our lives in every area. When you find yourself playing catch up to finish the things that MUST be completed, it can begin to take away from your own personal time. Based on my twenty seven years of experience as a personal trainer, I can confirm that exercise and preparing meals are usually some of the first things that get pushed onto the back burner when there is a time-crunch. The good news is there are things you can do to limit distractions in your day and maintain your concentration.
How To Stay Focused
Here are a few tips on how to stay focused throughout your day and guard your precious time.
Take breaks. Yes, breaks actually help you stay focused. Give yourself a short break every thirty minutes. Your body will thank you for it and taking a moment to stop and reactivate your goal can help you maintain your concentration.
Keep your cell phone ringer off while working on deadlines. Technology is a wonderful thing and we all need to stay connected. However, research is showing that receiving texts or phone calls can result in more mistakes during a computer task. If you’re working on a deadline it’s a good idea to turn your phone to silent and then set a time when you will check your phone and return messages. Keeping it on silent allows you to have it close by in the event of a true emergency.
Limit multitasking. A recent study suggests that your brain can’t handle more than two big tasks at one time. It can divide two tasks successfully but any more than that is too much for your mind to juggle. Personally, I think it’s a good idea to experiment with multitasking. Figure out what works for you. You may be someone that performs best when you focus on one big task while passively performing another. For example, driving while listening to an audio book is a great way to learn while commuting from one place to another.
Practice awareness. If you notice your mind wandering off, take a pause from whatever it is you are doing at that very moment. Whenever I’m supposed to be writing a blog post and find myself surfing Facebook, I look at the clock and check to see if it’s time to get up and move. It usually is so I’ll get up and get some water, a snack, or even throw in a load of laundry. During that time I’ll get my thoughts together and even give myself a little “focus pep talk” This helps me become more present in the moment and take back control of how I’m spending my time. We all drift off from time to time; it’s being aware of it that helps us redirect our attention back to the task at hand.
When it comes to successfully completing tasks, focus and discipline are necessary ingredients. No two lives are the same so I recommend you experiment with these tips and then figure out what works for you personally.
Here’s to being super productive and successful!