8 Tips to Stay Focused at Work

February 28, 2017

In Employee Engagement

8 astuces pour favoriser la concentration au travail

Between emails, calls, social media notifications, and interruptions from your colleagues, it can be tricky to stay focused at work. Did you know that according to Time, nearly 50% of Americans can only work for about 15 minutes before becoming distracted? Even worse, according to psychologist Larry Rosen, Ph. D. in Business Insider, it’s hard to stay concentrated on a task for more than 5 minutes before being distracted by emails, text messages, or social media. What’s more, it’s estimated that disruptions cause about 53% of employees to “lose” an hour every day.

Thankfully, there are different methods that can help you maximize your focus at work. Here are a few.

1. Adopt a long-term perspective

You can use various motivational techniques to help you at work. Two of these methods are called extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. The former drives you to carry out a task in order to gain an external reward while the latter refers to the self-desire to see the task completed. This kind of motivation has a positive impact on your ability to stay focused. By identifying what pleases you about the task at hand, you’ll increase your odds of successfully completing it.

2. Adapt your work environment to suit the nature of the task

According to the Yerkes-Dodson law, an individual’s performance depends on both their level of brain activity (mental arousal) and the difficulty of the task. If routine tasks are easier to carry out when mental arousal is high, complex tasks might require a lower level of mental arousal to make it easier to concentrate. Make sure to undertake difficult tasks in a context that does not stimulate your level of mental arousal too much.

3. Plan “distraction” sessions

The average worker has become used to being disrupted by external stimuli. It is possible to train your brain to work on a specific task for a defined period of time and avoid becoming distracted. However, you should plan a few breaks where you allow yourself to check your emails and social media accounts. But make sure to respect the amount of time you’ve allotted for these moments.

4. Take regular breaks

To maximize your level of concentration, you should take regular breaks throughout the day. By taking a 10-minute break every hour, you’ll improve your ability to recuperate and your level of efficiency will increase. However, make sure these are quality breaks. Avoid using this time to stare at your screen for some online shopping or to check your Facebook feed. Instead, stretch your legs and go get a glass of water or socialize with a colleague.

5. Listen to music

This is especially useful if you work in an open-office setting. Music can help you stay focused at work by cancelling out irregular and unpleasant noises around you. Moreover, music can have a positive impact on your mood and improve your level of motivation.

6 – Organize your office space

Is your desk cluttered? A minimalist workspace with a few plants can help you stay focused on what you need to do. Try to add a touch of warmth to your surroundings. After all, you spend many hours a day at your desk.

7. Set your priorities

Do you sometimes feel like you don’t know where to begin? Make a list of the tasks you need to do and prioritize the urgent and important ones. This is a good way for you to get an idea of your workload and ease the stress that can impact your focus.

8. Get some sleep

There’s nothing like a good night’s rest to improve your efficiency at work! When you’re tired, you might have a harder time staying focused on a specific task. Try to maintain a sleep routine and go to bed at the same time every night.

What advice do you have to stay focused at work? Share these tips with your employees and maximize productivity in your organization. For more ways to keep your employees motivated, click here.

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