Most people know what it’s like to have their mind wander when they should be focusing on an important job. Being able to concentrate is essential at work – after all, there are so many distractions in the average workplace, and if you lack the ability to apply yourself your productivity could plummet.
So here are some tips to help boost your concentration – which in turn will help improve your effectiveness.
Make yourself comfortable
It’s not easy to concentrate when you feel uncomfortable, so make sure your desk and chair are properly set up for you. For more information on adjusting your workspace to meet your needs, read our article Caring for you back in the workplace.
It’s also a good idea to listen to music if you work in an office with lots of audible distractions, especially when you have an important task to do that requires all your attention. Classical music or any kind of instrumental music is best for helping to keep you focused, or you could try listening to natural sounds such as waves lapping on a shore. But remember to use headphones or you may end up making it difficult for your co-workers to concentrate.
Manage your nutrition
Remember to stop to eat and drink – even when time is short – as it can be difficult to keep your mind focused when you’re feeling hungry or thirsty.
Start your day by having a healthy breakfast and keep a supply of nutritious snacks at your desk to help make sure your blood sugar levels stay stable (fresh fruit and nuts are ideal examples). A healthy daily intake of nuts is roughly a handful. Also try not to get dehydrated – water is the perfect thing to drink when you need to concentrate.
Make a list
If you’re working on several things at the same time it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. And constantly switching from one task to another could mean nothing gets completed to the best of your abilities.
Try to avoid this scattergun approach by taking some time to make a list at the start of each working day. Think about writing down all the tasks you need to work on, then order them in terms of priority. Most importantly, try to get into the habit of completing each task before you move on to the next.
This may sound like a simple idea, but it can do wonders for your ability to keep your mind on the job in hand.
Take regular breaks
If you’re up against a tight deadline you may be tempted to work through without taking a lunch break or even stopping for a quick screen break. But the truth is taking breaks can help prevent you feeling tired and keep your mind fresh and alert.
If possible, try to get outdoors during your lunch hour instead of having a sandwich at your desk. Experts believe walking in a natural environment can help clear your mind, so if there’s a park near your office why not go for a half-hour stroll? Studies suggest that having a walk can help boost your concentration, plus the fresh air will help prevent the dreaded mid-afternoon slump.
If you can’t get out – or if you only have time for a mini break indoors – log on to www.calm.com and relax with one of the 25 natural scenes and soothing sounds.
Switch off your phone (and email)
Taking calls and checking/answering emails every 5 minutes isn’t going to do your concentration much good. Instead, let your voicemail take messages and try to get into the habit of only checking them – and your emails – at 1 or 2 specific points throughout the day. Closing down any social media sites you may have open can also help you avoid the temptation of checking in every now and then too.
For advice and information call +44 (0) 1788 556 366 or chat to an advisor online 24 hours a day.