Often we get so caught up in our work day that we completely forget to relax. Our minds are everywhere, and stress builds. In order to be productive, we can’t be frazzled. Ideally, we need a balance of focused attention interspersed with short periods of relaxation. It’s not difficult to achieve; it just takes a few minor adjustments to our workday; adjustments like waking up earlier, or putting your phone on silent. Here are some more suggestions to help you to stay focused at work (and stay sane!).
Top 3 Ways to Stay Focused at Work
1. Don’t Multitask
Our brains just aren’t built for doing a million things at once. It’s a fact. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, a study found that you’re four times more likely to have a car accident if you’re talking on a phone – and hands-free kits don’t help that much, either (Inc.com). Studies have also shown that if your attention is interrupted, it takes you 50% longer to get back into what you were doing (and, you’ll make up to 50% more errors!). Men are clearly onto something: it’s better to only do one thing at a time.
2. Take Breaks
According to Cognition, it’s ideal to take a short break every 20 minutes. This helps you to stay focused at work, and gives the brain a much-needed rest. After 20 minutes of non-stop working, things become a bit of a slog. The brain basically needs a ‘re-start’ to get it functioning properly again. So, after 20 minutes of work, you should make it a habit of getting up, having a quick stretch, or even just staring into the sky for a bit.
3. Make Your Mornings Matter
This is quite a big one, but so often it’s overlooked. We hit the snooze button repeatedly, drag ourselves out of bed, and head for the coffee – only to realize we’re running late, and then the morning nightmare truly begins. You need to start the day on a good note, and that can only happen if you wake up earlier. It’s a tough one for most, but the benefits far outweigh the effort.
According to blogging genius Leo Babauta, we all need to have a morning routine, preferably a really early one. There’s a certain ‘magic’ to early mornings, there’s a stillness and calm that you can’t find at any other time of the day. Babauta recommends that you use this precious morning time to relax: have a bath, a cup of coffee and dream, or read a little. It also helps to prepare the night before (setting out clothes, making lunches etc.), as this will eliminate any last minute rushing around. Imagine leaving the house a bit earlier and in a relaxed state. You won’t get stressed in traffic, you’ll arrive at a calm office, and you’ll be able to leave work earlier, too. Read about How to Avoid Monday Morning Blues.
Staying focused and being relaxed at work isn’t so difficult. It just means no multitasking, regular mini-breaks, and early mornings. Well, maybe the early mornings are the hardest, but if you start your day off well, it can only end well!
How do you stay focused at work – feel free to share your tips in the comments below.
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This guest post was written by Ang Lloyd on behalf of Dynamics Careers, whose sole aim to help Microsoft Dynamics developers and related experts find amazing jobs.