improve concentration

How to improve your concentration at work to achieve maximum productivity

Improving your concentration at work can help you become more efficient and productive.
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It’s a busy day at work and you have a pile of assignments to finish before the end of the day. But instead of knocking one assignment after the other from your to-do list, you find yourself dazed, confused, and lacking focus to finish even a single task. No matter how hard you try, you just don’t seem to find the focus to get things done, which results in procrastination and stress. Ultimately, you rush into your assignments with half-baked ideas, resulting in mediocre and below-par results.

Although everyone finds themselves in such situations every now and then, a constant lack of focus can be a major obstacle in your career. Channelling the power of concentration is pivotal to your career. If you lack focus and have poor concentration at work, climbing the ladder of success in your chosen profession will seem to be a herculean task.

Irrespective of the importance of the task you are set to accomplish, your ability to concentrate can prove to be the difference between success and failure. Also, when you put your entire energy and attention into a task, it shows that you are putting your best foot forward.

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus,” Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, famously said. Hence, if you want to increase your productivity and become efficient, you must take steps to improve your focus. To make things easier, here are some of the ways that can help make you more attentive at work.

Set deadlines

Deadlines have an important purpose. They help us stay disciplined towards finishing a task within a stipulated time. If there were no deadlines at work, no task will ever get done on time, resulting in utter chaos. Deadlines help you stay focussed and eliminate distractions that can steal your concentration and cause unnecessary delays. To improve focus at work, you should also set personal deadlines, which will also lead to effective time management. However, while setting personal deadlines, you must not have unrealistic expectations of yourself. It is important to set a target that you can achieve. Having unrealistic deadlines can discourage you from enjoying your work and make you unproductive.

Sleep well

Sleep is important for your wellbeing. According to the National Sleep Foundation, USA, “healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night.” Research has shown that lack of sleep can cause major health issues such as obesity, heart attack, diabetes, depression and it also weakens the immune system. Moreover, lack of sleep also severely affects your ability to focus. According to Harvard Health, “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.” Hence, getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for your health and improving your concentration at work.

Create a schedule

Having a schedule gives you a clear picture of what you want to accomplish during the day. This allows you to establish a routine that will bring structure and discipline to your life. At the same time, having a schedule improves your concentration and keeps you focussed on your tasks to avoid unnecessary delays that can affect your productivity.

Minimise the distractions

According to a Talkbox Booth survey, “the average worker wastes 60 hours every month due to workplace distractions.” Think about it, how can you focus on your work when you are texting to your friend or replying to a comment on your social media handle? If you want to increase your concentration to become more productive, make sure to block all your distractions while working. During your work hours, request others not to disturb you, and mute your social media notifications. Keep your social media activity for later, after you have finished your working hours. This way, you will be able minimise the distractions and focus on the task at hand.

Incorporate mindfulness into your routine

Incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine is another good way of improving your concentration. When you practice mindfulness activities daily, you become more aware of your emotions, beliefs, and your thoughts, which allows you to stay in the present moment. Over time, you will learn to direct your attention where you want to without getting interrupted. Kim Willment, a neuropsychologist with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, told Harvard Health, “Mindfulness is about focussing attention on the present moment, and practicing mindfulness has been shown to rewire the brain so that attention is stronger in everyday life.”

Take regular breaks

When you have a packed schedule, taking a break might seem like a huge waste of time. But this is exactly what you need to improve your focus and get more done. When you are working on something for too long, you may start to lose your focus, which is why it is important to take timed breaks. It gives your mind the time to rest and replenish. So, the next time you feel overwhelmed while trying to wrap up work assignments, take a timed break to recharge your batteries. Go out for a short walk, listen to your favourite song, or just sit back and do short breathing exercises. When you return to work, you will feel re-energised and more focussed than before.

Set an incentive for yourself

A simple and effective way to improve your concentration at work is to reward yourself. When you strike out something important from your to-do list on time, give yourself a treat, such as a nice lunch. When you achieve a big target, acknowledge the efforts you have put into completing the task. This can work wonders in keeping you motivated and increasing your focus at work. A study titled Effects of Incentives on Employees Productivity revealed that “there was a positive relationship between incentives and productivity.”

Keep your workspace organised

If you find it hard to concentrate on your work when there’s a bunch of junk lying on your desk, you are not alone. According to a research titled Psychology: Your Attention, Please published in the Princeton Alumni Weekly, in her two decades of research on attention, psychology professor Sabine Kastner found that “visual clutter competes with our brain’s ability to pay attention and tires out our cognitive functions over time.” Therefore, you must take some time to declutter and organise your desk every day. A clean and organised desk not only puts your mind at ease but also enables you to focus on your work.

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