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Increasing Focus at Work

Many people may have moments throughout their day where they find themselves distracted or unable to concentrate at work. While some distractions are inevitable, the problem is when it’s for extended periods of time and begins to affect your ability to be successful. Author James Clear writes, “Focus is how you knit the hours of the day together. With focus, the day becomes a beautiful tapestry. Without focus, you end up holding a bundle of loose string.” Being able to maintain focus at work is something we should all strive for. Here are some recommendations to help you begin.


Pay Attention

Start to pay attention to if there are certain times of the day you are less concentrated. Maybe it’s first thing in the morning when you get to the office, right before lunch, or during an afternoon slump. See if you notice any patterns. For instance, if you have a hard time concentrating before lunch maybe you’re hungry and just need to eat. Maybe you work in a busy office and the morning hours tend to be the loudest and that’s what you find distracting. By identifying the patterns and problems, you can hopefully get to the root and remedy the situation.


Limit and Remove Distractions

If you find yourself routinely checking your phone for texts, or looking at social media, be honest with yourself and assess if that’s affecting your concentration and perhaps even negatively impacting your career. This is where some discipline and healthy boundaries would be beneficial. Maybe you turn off the text alert notifications on your phone and limit the time you spend on social media to only during breaks.


Find Tools and Resources That Help

If you find that you’re easily distracted by loud noises, perhaps you should look into getting noise-canceling headphones and listen to music specifically created to help you focus. For some individuals that need assistance staying on task, following a to-do list can be helpful. Prioritizing the projects you need to complete that day can help you stay on task.


Think about Your Lifestyle

You may be doing all of the “right” things at work and trying your best to avoid distractions but if you’re not well-rested and taking care of yourself, it may feel impossible to stay focused. In an article on Harvard Health they write, “When people don’t get enough sleep, their attention and concentration abilities decline. Their reaction time lengthens, they’re inattentive, and they don’t respond as well to environmental signals.” Taking care of yourself outside of work by sleeping soundly, eating well, limiting stress as much as possible, and exercising can all improve your work performance.