Let's face it; we are living in uncertain times, which isn't exactly a recipe for focus and concentration. But life goes on, and there are still bills to pay and work to be accomplished.
These days some folks are shedding their ratty pandemic yoga pants, donning work attire, and heading back to the office. Others are set up in a home office with a purring cat sprawled out on the keyboard.
Either way, we could all use a little help in booting the distractions of daily life to the curb.
So, we’ve gathered some valuable (and surprising) advice from experts. Keep reading to discover how you can easily up your productivity game.
1. Ditch Digital Distraction
Do you check your email and social feed constantly but don’t think your focus suffers? Well, think again, says Dr. Earl Miller, a professor of neuroscience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in a Time Magazine interview. This researcher has discovered that there's a cost every time you switch your focus from one thing to another. "Your brain stumbles a bit, and it requires time to get back to where it was before it was distracted," Dr. Miller explains.
There’s a multi-cost for multi-tasking, but there’s an easy solution: Switch off your phone and email when you have an especially complicated task to accomplish.
2. Focus on Your Top Tasks
There are 30 tasks on your to-do list, but how realistic is it that you’ll slay them all in just one day? And how effective do you think your ability to focus will be? Instead, focus on your top 2-3 “gotta-get-these-done-today” tasks. This is the best way to take solid steps towards accomplishing your goals.
Once you've earmarked your top tasks, tackle them ASAP. This method will help you stay focused on the task without getting overwhelmed. So before you get sidetracked, check off those top boxes. Life will inevitably cause disruptions, i.e., unexpected emails, a childcare issue, or a last-minute deadline. Try to get things done early before the chaos takes over.
3. Schedule Distraction
The Harvard Business Review suggests designating certain times of the day to “batch check” email, social media feeds, text messages, and the list goes on. Experiment with this work mode. You can use this method for online tasks and making phone calls, checking voicemail, and more. This technique can help cut down on multi-tasking.
Echoing the advice in #1, a Psychology Today article states that each task switch might waste only 1/10th of a second, but if you do a lot of switching in a day, it can add up to a loss of 40 percent of your productivity. Talk about a time suck!
4. Practice Self-Care
Stuck on a tricky project and just can’t seem to focus? Take a walk! Research suggests that if you're a desk jockey during the workday, regular activity breaks can help sharpen focus. And we aren't talking 5K runs; a short walk can suffice.[i] After a spurt of focused work, remember to take care of #1 with plenty of water, healthy snacks, and some well-earned time away from your screen!
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†These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.