In the age of technology, we all struggle with distractions. Maybe your Facebook notifications go off throughout the day. Perhaps your email dings constantly. People are more likely to text than call. Some folks try to pay attention to the news regularly, too. Distractions come from everywhere, even beyond technology. Kids, coworkers, even our thoughts can interrupt us. So what’s a working person to do?
We all have to learn how to focus, which can be difficult. But there are definitely ways that can help support our efforts to concentrate.
- Turn off notifications. Our apps all have the capability of turning off notifications. Even Facebook Messenger has a way to mute chats. Make sure your phone isn’t consistently buzzing from social media.
- Turn your phone on silent. When you’re able, it’s a good idea to set your phone to silent mode. This way, you’re not overwhelmed by the outside world who wants your attention.
- Find a quiet place to work. This one can be tough, but finding a good environment helps boost your productivity. Pick up and go somewhere else entirely if needed. Silence – or anything close to it – is the top way to help you focus.
- “Do not disturb.” It may sound a little ridiculous to some but putting up a physical sign may help. By doing this, people will see that you’re seriously busy and know that you need to be left alone. (For kids who can’t read yet, explain that when they see the sign on your door, Mommy or Daddy needs to be left alone except in the case of an emergency.)
- Shut the door. Sometimes a sign is not realistic. In that case, shut your door if you have one. It’s the ultimate “leave me alone” signal without being rude. It shows that you need some privacy; then you can open it when you’re done without needing to announce that you’re available again.
- Prioritize your to-do list. Set up your schedule of what needs to get done. Prioritizing will help you see what is most important, which can help you better focus on getting it done.
- Reduce your tasks. When you have a long to-do list, sometimes your mind will wander to the other things that you need to do. Narrow down your list so that you can pay attention to one thing at a time without the overwhelming feeling that the list will never get done. It will!
- Work in blocks of time. Choose a block of time for you to work (30, 60 or 90 minutes) and only work for that amount of time. Take a 5 to 10 minute break, then get back to it for the same amount of work time. Taking a break helps keep your focused.