Do you have trouble staying focused during the day? If so, you’re not alone. Many of us deal with a lack of focus at work, while some of us find it easier to tune out distractions in the workplace. The truth is, nobody stays completely locked-in 100% of the time–and we could all benefit from finding ways to ignore distractions in the office. Staying focused at work is easier said than done. One study found that office distractions eat an average of 2.1 hours of our day. That’s a substantial amount of productivity going down the drain. Smartphones, social media, and email help us accomplish amazing things, but they also distract us. Technology isn’t the only thing disrupting your concentration in the office. We’ve constructed a list of 5 common workplace distractions that you need to address.
5 Reasons Why You Can't Focus
1. Office distractions are killing your focus
Most workplaces aren’t conducive to focus. They’re full of distractions that affect our ability to produce quality results and attain gratification. The feeling of curiosity you get when you see an email notification, or receive a text message may ultimately lead you to disengage from a more important task. But, there are things you can do to mitigate these office distractions. I’ve shared a few below:
● Try to work near productive people: This may seem obvious, but it is worth repeating: Productivity is contagious. Working around productive coworkers can give you motivation to stay on task.
● Take a walk around the block: If you’re having trouble concentrating, step outside and take a 10 to 15-minute walk. Research has shown that light exercise can rejuvenate the brain.This not only gives you something to look forward to, it also lets you know when it's time to get back to work.
● Be transparent with your colleagues: Communicate with your colleagues. How else will they know not to disrupt you while you’re working. There's nothing wrong with sending an email around that says, “I’m busy working on a time sensitive project. Please only reach out to me with issues that can’t wait until tomorrow.” That way, they’re less likely to disturb you, and can also help pass on the message to others.
2. You have too much on your plate
We all love the team player; the guy who’s willing to take on new tasks, no matter how daunting his current to-do-list may seem. Truth is, when it comes to multitasking, people often assume that they’re actually doing multiple things at once. But, they aren’t. Instead, they are actually going back and forth between tasks and not completing their work any faster.
Working hard can mean enjoying life, being productive, and realizing your ambition. But, when taken to an extreme, it can have a crippling effect. Learn to delegate responsibilities to others. Prioritize and manage your time accordingly. There are times you can multitask. If the task at hand feels like it will not require a great deal of concentration, then go ahead and get it done alongside other small to-do's.
3. Big city life is taking a toll
When you live in the constant hustle and flow of a major city, there's no shortage of opportunities and rarely any dull moments. But, researchers have found that living in the big city can be hard on the brain. It’s common knowledge that natural landscapes are a much more calming backdrop than urban landscapes, but the constant stimuli is much more than just a background; it’s something that city folks must be actively engaged in. Paying attention to street signals, weaving in and out of traffic, and watching for other drivers and pedestrians takes its toll and leaves us mentally exhausted. This cognitive overload leaves you less equipped to maintain your focus throughout the day. Using public transportation and telecommuting are some of the ways to reduce the effect city life has on your ability to concentrate on work.
4. You’re not catching your Z’s
Rest is a key component to success and happiness, but sometimes we fail to realize how integral it is to our concentration and productivity. Routine activities, like grocery shopping or doing laundry, can feel like overwhelming tasks when you're tired. Knowing this, we still push ourselves to the limit each day, in an attempt to squeeze everything we can out of our 24 hours. This type of “cramming” we become accustomed to in college is counterproductive. Fatigue slows your thought processes. Scientists measuring sleepiness have found that sleep deprivation leads to lower alertness and concentration. This hampers your ability to perform tasks that require logical reasoning and complex thought.
5. Stress is wearing you down
Everyday life is fraught with distraction. It seems that the more distracted we are, the less happy we become. According to the American Psychological Association, when stress starts interfering with your ability to live a normal life for an extended period, conditions become dangerous. You might start to feel fatigued, unable to focus, or irritable for no good reason. This is how stress can kill your ability to stay on task; it competes with your cognitive centers—the areas in the brain that are responsible for quick, sharp thoughts. Proven remedies for dealing with stress include: meditation, getting regular exercise, and sharing your problems with others.
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