Focus Pocus! 3 Ways to Be Deliberate with Your Tasks and Get More DONE!

Our attention span has decreased dramatically over the last decade or so due to our overuse of technology. According to a 2015 study done by Microsoft, the average human has an attention span of only 8 seconds, which is less than a goldfish. Wow! This is because our brain is constantly looking for what’s next. In the book, Hack Your Brain, the author says the brain is a muscle that can be built, so let’s start building.

Here are some strategies that can help improve your focus.

1 – Figure out your focus
It’s important to understand WHERE you need to focus and WHEN. Many people think about home when they are at work and at work when they are home. Keep in mind, when we focus, things get done. Without focus, we aimlessly go from task to task without direction, many times accomplishing nothing. Taking the necessary time to determine when you need to focus on work-related tasks and personal tasks is critical. This can be difficult for people who work from home and often takes more planning in order to stay focused. Blocking certain times of your day to work on specific tasks can be very helpful. Making yourself a to do list the night before will help you get our day started focusing on your most important tasks.

2 – Ditch the digital distractions
When we’re trying to focus, distractions are everywhere. In order to avoid or limit them, turn off email and social media notifications and put your smart phone on do not disturb. Doing so for as little as 30 minutes can significantly improve your focus and concentration. Studies show it takes people on average from 7-15 minutes to “recover” or return to focus after every interruption or distraction. That’s a staggering amount of wasted time! Limiting that time is vital for improved focus. While it may seem hard to unplug, as many of us are addicted to our devices, the benefits can be significant.

3 – Give your brain a break
Our brain needs time to rest and recover from information overload. Taking several short breaks during the day gives the brain time to re-energize. When we don’t, we are taking our brain and decreasing our focus. A recent study found that those that took a short break during a 50-minute task significantly outperformed those who worked straight through. Breaks are not a luxury, but a necessity in our quest to get things done. Don’t feel guilty taking a break – go for a walk, grab a snack, meditate or do something you enjoy for just a few minutes knowing you’ll be mentally stronger when you return to your desk.