Eyes on the goal to meet those deadlines
Have you ever said: ‘Okay, I’ll browse Instagram for five minutes before getting back to work’, only to find yourself wondering what to Swiggy/Zomato for lunch an hour later? Or thinking about making a new trending reel while scrolling mindlessly for hours liking random posts? You’re not alone. It is particularly difficult to stay on task when the distractions we harbour are so many, especially when you’re WFH.
Lack of focus affects productivity, and with the pandemic forcing us to stay at home, all of us need a bit of help to counter that. Focus can be trained, say, like a muscle—all we need is to be consistent and mindful of how we spend our time. Here are a few tips that could help you stay on track….
1. DO AWAY WITH DISTRACTIONS
As obvious as it may sound, the fastest way to get your mind to focus is by getting rid of the distractions around you. The constant chatter around the house—like people talking loudly, TV blaring in the backdrop with news anchors with a penchant for melodrama or someone watching funny videos on loop—would distract anyone. Find yourself a quiet spot in the house, and the next time your mind wanders, consciously bring it back to the task. Easier said than done, but a necessary step towards bringing your mind back to the task at hand without being disturbed. Also, politely ask your partner or parent to use the earphones you gifted them to cut off the noise; a win-win for both parties.
2. CAFFEINE IN SMALL DOSES
Caffeine comes in many forms, coffee being the universal favourite. As per a 2002 study on the effects of caffeine on cognitive performance, caffeine in smaller doses helps you stay focused for longer hours. It elevates your mood and keeps you vigilant, to remain on task. Too much of anything can never be a good thing, and caffeine is no different. Remember to have your caffeinated choice of drink in moderation.
3. SET A TIMER
Concentrating on a task reduces the time required to complete it. Working for long hours without a break will impact your productivity. The next time you see your attention faltering try applying the Pomodoro Technique. This technique helps train your brain to stay focused for a shorter period of time by setting yourself on the clock.
Here is how you can do it…
• Set a timer for 30 minutes.
• Once the timer buzzes, take a break for five minutes.
• Start the timer again, and continue the cycle.
• Once done with around four to five rounds, start taking longer breaks of 20 to 30 minutes and watch yourself get productive by the minute.
4. DON’T LET SOCIAL MEDIA CONSUME YOU
If your idea of taking a break is sitting on your phone browsing Instagram, Twitter or FB for hours, then you my friend, need an intervention. In fact, blocking social media while working is highly recommended. There are enough apps out there on the Internet that help in temporarily locking Instagram, Facebook and even Twitter. Don’t let these applications hinder your workflow unless you are a social media manager, then we highly recommend you to not use this tip.
5. LIMIT YOUR FOCUS
Multitasking. As fancy as this term may sound, it isn’t the most practical way of working. Juggling multiple tasks at once results in you not finishing any task at all. Remember the saying, Jack of all trades, master of none? So, focus on one job at a time. Prioritise. Start with one that needs immediate attention or completion. Then, move on to the next one. This way, you’ll end up channelling all your energy one job at a time, and eventually, finishing it all.
6. COPE WITH LACK OF SLEEP
When was the last time you had your share of sound sleep? The lack of defined working hours compels us to work late into the night. Or unwind by catching up on your favourite shows way past your bedtime. Poor sleep will affect your ability to focus. This means less productivity and missed deadlines. Sleep keeps your body and mind fresh. So, make sure you’re getting a minimum of seven hours of shut-eye each night. Switching off all the gadgets at least an hour before hitting the bed helps you relax. Read a book instead of being on social media. Meditation before going to bed and after waking up not only keeps your body calm but also your mind clear and focussed. This is a great tool to be added to daily living, as practising mindfulness leads to your overall well-being.
As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Focusing and getting rid of distractions takes practice, but we know you’ll get there!
[All Image Credit: Shutterstock]