Are you constantly checking your email, social media, or messages on your phone?
It can take up to 23 minutes to recover from even the smallest distraction, according to recent research. In today’s fast-paced world, there seem to be more and more demands and distractions competing for your attention. The challenge is often even greater for remote teams.
Adapted from the Hartford’s Small Biz Ahead, here are five foolproof ways to ditch the distractions and stay focused on the job.
1. Move Often
Studies have shown that getting up and walking around for five minutes every hour can boost productivity and help you regain focus.
Workers who stood up and walked around every hour showed less fatigue and increased happiness compared to their desk-bound colleagues.
It’s easy to get so caught up with meetings and tasks that when you finally stop to check the clock, you realize hours have passed. Setting a timer or alarm every hour to remind you to get up will help you stay energized throughout your workday.
2. Quit Multitasking
Multitasking does not work, and science proves it.
Coined by Georgetown University professor Cal Newport, “deep work” is the act of completely immersing yourself in a task that requires brainpower without interruption – producing better results in less time.
Instead of starting your day rummaging through your inbox and jumping task to task, consider starting work early and finding a quiet place to work on a specific task for an hour. Your emails and to-do lists will still be there, and you can start the day with a sense of accomplishment.
3. Limit Background Noise
Ambient noise interruptions mess with your attention span and could increase stress, which triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone designed to ease that stress.
Constant stress disrupts the prefrontal cortex — the part of the brain that regulates your ability to learn, plan, reason, and remember stuff. Consider noise-canceling headphones for the times when you can’t escape background noise.
4. Block and Batch
Practice the Pomodoro technique and organize your day into manageable bite-sized pieces.
This method works great for people who can’t devote hours at a time to a singular task. Break a tough task down into short, timed intervals, balanced by short breaks. Work for 25 minutes, take a five minute break and then go back for another 25 minutes. This technique can also help improve your attention span.
Alternatively, you could set aside a specific amount of time to accomplish tasks in bulk. Do you have to respond to emails or approve documents? Instead of spacing the activities out over the course of the day, try compacting them into one block. Knowing there’s an endpoint to a series of tasks can help you stay focused until you finish.
5. Airplane Mode
Turning your phone on Airplane Mode is a sure-fire way to stay focused.
Software and technology companies actually designed their apps to be addicting. Sometimes, you need to silence the notifications to get your work done.
In order to preserve your most precious resource (your attention!), you have to take charge of both your schedule and your environment, and design a work day that works for you and your business.
What’s your favorite hack to stay focused?
Stay focused my friends.