Can you believe that the average person has the maximum attention span of 6 hours per week? Whether you are a business owner, a stay-at-home parent or an employee at a large company, you need to stay focused in order to do your job, chores, or take care of your kids, needy clients, bosses and co-workers. In the middle of all the craziness, you should understand the brain’s capacity and work to improve overall focus and increase your productivity.
In today’s digital age, it makes it even harder to focus because our minds are easily distracted. The human brain’s reaction to distraction is virtually unstoppable. If you find yourself losing your attention span easily, here are a few tips to help yourself focus.
1. Avoid checking emails first thing in the am
Emails can be a bit overwhelming. Once you start catching up on them in the morning, you get sucked in and it seems to never end. If you try and tell yourself to just check a few to make sure there’s nothing too urgent, you’ll end up checking 30 of them. Besides that, it’s not hard to click on links if they have subject lines you are interested in. Especially if it’s a blowout sale email from your favorite department store. This will really distract you aside from everything else you receive in your inbox. The same goes for social networking websites. With that being said, be sure to leave checking your personal things during breaks or after work hours.
2. Brain disposal
When you first open your eyes in the morning, do all the tasks you have to tackle for the day overcome your thoughts? The solution is brain disposal. Write all your thoughts and tasks down. You can even use an old journal or make a to-do list on your phone or calendar. Seeing your tasks written down with help you organize your priorities. This will help you become less overwhelmed. Plus, it’s a great feeling to strikethrough your list and make progress.
3. Be creative
We usually tackle the easiest tasks first and then work our way towards the toughest ones. This traditional method tends to drain energy and lower productivity. After an hour of work, you will have less and less capacity than you started with. Always try to remember, every problem we solve makes our brain more tired. If you want to be more focused, start with the hardest task first and then finish with the easiest ones. Basically, you are reversing the order of tasks. Save the deleting emails and doing dishes for last.
4. Take a break
Several studies reveal that people who take breaks throughout the day are the most productive. This is because our brains need breaks in order to stay focused. The recommendation is to take a break every 15 mins from focusing on work. For example, you can stand up and walk around or stretch at your desk. Perhaps even drinking water or having a cup of coffee. After this small break, you will realize that your focus and productivity is back.
5. Train yourself
The average person is wired to multitask on a regular basis. Unfortunately, this can cause more harm than good. It can reduce our intelligence and can cause several errors. Whether it be misspelling words or missing subtle cues, it can cause a lot of preventable mistakes. It causes our brains to think were achieving a lot, when in fact we’re rushing through important tasks and losing focus of what is important.
If you continue to multitask, you are training yourself to be unfocused. If you get rid of every day distractions and commit to your task list, one by one, you will improve your focus immensely. Start with about 5 minutes per day and work your way up to larger amounts of time. If you find your thoughts veering off, just return to the task again.
Studies find that people who focus best in the early morning or late at night are 90% of people do their best thinking outside the workplace. Keep in mind where and when you focus best and tackle your hardest tasks during that time.