30 Jan 2017

Do you find it difficult to stay focused at work? Even if we love what we do, sometimes we find ourselves getting distracted. This is normal at work, but we can make those distractions less frequent while increasing our productivity.

Here are five suggestions that will help you keep focused at work:


Where you work is a vital part of how you work. A fairly neat and organized office space clears the way for higher productivity. Take the time to make your workspace stimulating and motivating. If you’re sitting for hours, make sure your chair supports your back. If you’re concerned about the negative effects of sitting for long periods, see if your workplace will allow a standing desk.


Take the time to organize folders and files logically so you know where to find what you need quickly. Organize and discard as you work to avoid a hard drive packed with downloads and unwanted photos. A computer packed with digital dust bunnies slows performance, leading to frustration and distraction. When you clean your computer of unwanted files and streamline your folders and files, you improve not just your performance, but also your computer’s performance.


Drink lots of water, it refreshes you, gives you energy, and relieves fatigue. Keep some healthy snacks in your desk drawer and you won’t be distracted by hunger pangs. Snacks such as dark chocolate (said to boost your mood and lower your blood pressure), almonds and pistachios, dried fruits and roasted chickpeas will keep you from leaving your desk too frequently, while giving you the energy to continue focusing on your work.


By keeping a status report of all your projects you are less likely to get distracted. Every day, update your projects so that every morning when you review your status report you see your progress. Seeing progress motivates and stimulates. It shows how much you have accomplished and what needs to be done immediately to move tasks closer to their deadlines—it’s also a useful tool to highlight actions for specific stakeholders. At the end of the week, you can see at a glance your week’s accomplishments and you can see where projects are in relation to where they should be.


If you have one task that always gets pushed off to the next day, or you have set aside a big chunk of time to get work done and you have hardly made a dent in it, it’s time to take a brief break, once every hour. A study in Cognition, an international journal that publishes theoretical and experimental papers on the study of the mind, overturns a decades-old theory about the nature of attention and demonstrates that even brief diversions from a task can dramatically improve one’s ability to focus on that task for prolonged periods. Effective breaks include getting up for a few minutes and stretching to get your blood flowing; taking a short walk; standing up to drink your water and eat your nutritious snack; and, if possible, a lunchtime workout.