It happens to everyone at some point. You’re moving along, zipping through your to-dos at work or at home, and then BOOM. Something happens around you, and your focus and productivity train is derailed. It can be tricky to find your footing and get back into your groove. However, six tricks can minimize the chance of derailment and help you to get back on track after losing focus.
1. Silence Your Phone (and computer)
We are all guilty of it. Every time your phone rings, vibrates, or lights up, you automatically look away from your task to glance at your phone. Stop those notifications, silence your phone, or put it out of your line of vision (in a desk drawer or up on a shelf).
2. Close Your Door
If your office is in a high traffic area, consider closing your door for a few hours a day so you can work through your more complicated tasks. This will eliminate the distractions of people walking by, sticking their heads in, and may make others think twice before knocking. This will give you more uninterrupted time to work.
3. Take Breaks
Taking breaks probably seems counterintuitive. However, taking breaks from work can give your mind a rest too. Also, if you know you have a ten-minute break coming up, it will provide you with an incentive to push through a laborious task.
4. STOP Multitasking
There is no way around this, but multitasking is killing your productivity and your focus. Multitasking means you are splitting your attention between multiple items, which means you are not giving anything your full attention. Stop it. Focus on one task at a time. The exception is a task that you can do when you are waiting for something to come back online. For example, if you are waiting on hold on a phone, you might be tidying up the kitchen. In general, multi-tasking is not a good ideas, but there may be a few times you can use it judiciously to your advantage.
5. Remove Internal Distractions
Internal distractions are the little ideas, to-dos, and random thoughts that pop into your head while working on a different task. When this happens, take a moment to write down that thought/to-do, and then get back to work. Writing it down will allow your brain to let go of it while you get back to work, and you can revisit it later. Later on as you review the list you may find that some of the things you thought were urgent aren’t that important any more.
Regaining lost focus doesn’t have to be a carnival trick. With practice and the correct tools in place, you can restore your focus quickly and with little downtime.