Tips to Make It Easier to Focus on Work

Tips to Make It Easier to Focus on Work

The ability to concentrate greatly affects employee productivity and work time. Factors such as the environment, mental and physical health, and side activities affect the ability to concentrate.

Minimize distracting processes and things that disturb

Conversations and social media on the phone affect the ability to concentrate. The phone is often picked up to give you a little moment of respite. A Udemy study shows that 62% of employees spend an average of an hour on their phone during work, and Generation Z employees report spending 2 or more hours on their mobile phone for their personal interests [1]. Other times, people even check their phones on average every 12 minutes [2].

There’s a number of mobile apps to help avoid excessive audiovisual output during working hours. For example, applications Offtime, FocusMe, AppBlock where you can find where and how much time you spent on your phone. Nevertheless, employees want a workday that’s free from any distractions. Namely, 75% of employees admit that, as a result, they get done more and feel more productive, 57% feel motivated to do the job as good as possible and 51% feel more confident in their ability to do the job well [1]. Read more: The Impact of Social Media on Productivity.

Workplace noise levels also have an impact on employee productivity. According to the survey, 50% of employees indicated that disruptive factors in the work environment significantly reduce their productivity [1]. This points to the importance of a properly designed workplace. For example, an open-plan office setting makes the process of concentration difficult for most employees. Moreover, there’s a bigger chance of getting distracted by colleagues with questions about work and everyday conversations.

When it is not possible to change the layout of the workspace, it can help employees to stay focused on listening to music on headphones, thus avoiding office sounds. In the survey, 73% of participants said they felt more productive when listening to music in the background [3].

Avoid performing multiple tasks at once

Perform the task one by one, focusing on a specific step of work. While it seems that more can be done by combining tasks, this way of doing work makes it more difficult to concentrate. The study found that performing multiple tasks simultaneously or multitasking, compared to performing one task at the same time, is associated with lower performance, as well as impaired work and long-term memory [4]. Another study found that 96% of participants completed tasks more quickly and accurately without performing multiple tasks at once, but one at a time [5].

Take regular small breaks

Take time for frequent and short breaks. After 30 minutes of intense concentration, the ability to focus slightly weakens. Therefore, plan breaks during which you move a little physically, especially if you work while sitting. In addition, a 5-minute break every hour improves health and well-being, productivity, and creativity, reduces fatigue caused by intensive decision-making, and restores motivation [6]. Breaks help you focus better when you return to tasks. Companies can set up a lounge for their employees to rest during breaks so that employees can leave the workspace.

Create a task plan each morning

Make a to-do list or plan at the beginning of the day. Forgetting about some tasks can give you the feeling that everything is done and you can have some fun. The work plan helps to keep the focus and not forget about all the necessary, important tasks. As long as your work provides flexible working hours, plan to do your work at a time when you feel the most energetic and vibrant, and when there is less chance of being disturbed. For some, the best time may be early in the morning, for others – in the afternoon. See the purpose of the work as you browse through the tasks. Achieving the result in the mind motivates to work with a greater return, without leaving time for insignificant activities. Read more: How to Create a Great To-Do List.

Improving concentration skills

We need good and long enough sleep to stay focused at work. It is also important to devote time to walking and relaxing in the fresh air, as well as to take enough water daily. Interesting fact: the human brain is 2% of body weight, but at the same time it uses 20% of body energy [7]. So choose a healthy and micronutrient diet that provides a lot of energy to the mind and body.

Performing tasks one at a time, preparing a work plan, and taking breaks will help maintain focus. Similarly, by limiting your time on the bright social networks, you will not lose energy for work.

Improve the daily productivity of employees together with the Efectio platform: www.efectio.com. Efectio offers personalized programs for growth and health improvement.

Sources:

[1] Udemy, 2018. Udemy in Depth: 2018 Workplace Distraction Report. Available: 

[2] Ofcom, 2018. Communications marker report. Available: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0022/117256/CMR-2018-narrative-report.pdf

[3] Chignell, B., CIPHR, 2014. Easily Distracted At Work? Here’s 12 Ways To Fix That. Available: https://www.ciphr.com/advice/easily-distracted-at-work-heres-how-to-fix-that/

[4] Uncaper, R.M., Thieu, M.K., Wagner, 2015. Media multitasking and memory: Differences in working memory and long-term memory. Available: https://link.springer.com/article/10.3758/s13423-015-0907-3

[5] Lin, L., Cockerham, D., Chang, Z., Natividad, G. 2016. Task Speed and Accuracy Decrease When Multitasking. Available: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/283789225_Task_Speed_and_Accuracy_Decrease_When_Multitasking

[6] Selig M., Psychology Today, 2017. How Do Work Breaks Help Your Brain? 5 Surprising Answers. Available: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/changepower/201704/how-do-work-breaks-help-your-brain-5-surprising-answers%3famp 

[7] Wohlherr, A., Braineffect, 2015. Lack of concentration. Available: https://www.brain-effect.com/en/magazin/lack-of-concentration

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