More studies are proving that multitasking is terrible for productivity. This is due to the fact that the brain just isn’t capable of doing two things at once, or at least very well. Instead, behavioral scientist are saying that focusing on a single task is the key to productivity. Here are three tips to help you focus at work!
Plan Your Day to Keep Yourself on Task
Day planning is a basic productivity task that a surprising amount of workers fail to do. The advantage of working with a schedule is that you’re less likely to divert from it when hit with a distraction, like a conversation about sports from a fellow employee, or a really intriguing URL that appears (also known as “clickbait”).
Now, there are many levels of day planning that can range from putting a few tasks on your day to being OCD about life and planning everything down to the minute. You will want to find out the right amount to day planning for your personality. Balance is good so that you won’t feel crushed by your schedule, or have too much wiggle room so that common distractions run amok. Remember, the point of day planning is to get you mentally locked into a task, not to plan out every minute and go crazy from it!
Ding! Use a Timer
While it’s a good idea to focus all of your energy on one task, studies have shown that the human mind can only focus on one thing for so long before turning into mush. When this happens, focusing on anything becomes impossible–thus the condition known as “zoning out.” On average, a person can accurately focus on a project for two hours before having to hit the reset button by taking a break. Therefore, to achieve maximum productivity, try setting a timer to go off every two hours, and use that break to step away from the project. This counterintuitive step will actually make it easier to focus for the next two hours.
Disable Your Notifications
It sure is hard to focus when you keep getting pinged about new messages. Notifications kill focus and productivity. If you’re glued to your notifications while working on a project, then you’re essentially multi-tasking. Every time you check a notification, your brain is taken away from the project and it must reset itself to find the place where you last left off. Plus, if the notification is about something near and dear to you, or if you’re expecting a reply to an important message, it’s going to be hard for you to focus on the task at hand–especially if the task is super boring.
You obviously can’t do without notifications entirely, but you can schedule the time for when you check them. Good times for checking your notifications are first thing in the morning and right after lunch. In case there’s an emergency, you can even set up an autoresponder with your email account to let people know when you’ll be checking your messages. By scheduling the times when you would check your notifications it will help you free yourself from the distraction of getting pinged every ten minutes, and it will allow you to give a project your best!
These are just a few productivity tips that will help you to improve focus. Everybody has their own ways of blocking out distractions and focusing better on the task at hand. What’s yours? Share them with us in the comments!