Once you get settled into a new job and feel less of a need to prove your value, it’s common behavior to welcome more distractions. But losing focus at work can compromise your ability to get your job done efficiently. If you suffering from a short attention span when it comes to your daily responsibilities, here are a few tips to help you stay on track.
Turn Off Message Updates
Receiving constant alerts for when new emails or instant messages come in can be a huge distraction in any office setting. While it’s important to respond to important matters, most issues can wait until after you’ve finished the project you’re currently working on. By turning off updates and only checking them when you’ve set aside specific time to do so, you’ll allow your mind to focus on completing one task at a time.
Put in Your Headphones
With co-workers conversing, phones ringing, and printers printing, it can be easy to become more invested in what others are doing or talking about than what you’re supposed to be accomplishing. If your office allows you to bring your own headphones and music in, consider setting up a playlist that allows you to zone in and block out the noise. If you find it hard to concentrate with music in your ear, try putting on some soft, instrumental tunes without lyrics. You’ll be surprised how much easier it is to focus when you don’t have the external background noise begging for your attention. Also, having your headphones in can also be used as a symbol to let your co-workers know that it’s not the best time to chitchat.
Stick to a Routine
The best way to stay on task is to commit to a routine. Knowing what you’re going to be doing and when you’re going to do it will help you successfully scratch off all the items on your to-do list. Allow some buffer time for unplanned meetings or important conversations, but for the most part, be strict about following your schedule. This will help keep you organized, and it will also help you become more aware of when your attention starts to drift towards items that are less of a priority.
In order to keep your sanity in check, it’s important to schedule breaks in your routine as well. Staying too focused for too long can burn you out, so it helps to include time in your day to take a breather, joke with a co-worker, or watch a humorous video online. By making room in your daily schedule for a few pauses between your responsibilities, you’ll be less likely to get sidetracked in the middle of an important task.
Pick Your Meetings Wisely
If your office generally has optional meetings, try your best to only attend the ones that will benefit your work. It can be tempting to use the meeting as a break from your typical responsibilities, but don’t let that be the sole reason you decide to sit in. When you have a lengthy intermission from your workflow, it can be hard to bounce back and pick up where you left off, so if you’re really making progress on a project, limit the amount of interruptions you make room for.
Distractions in the workplace can be a huge threat to your productivity, so it’s important to do all you can to keep them to a minimum. The good news is that there are a lot of things you can do from your end to keep your efficiency running strong, and by turning off your alerts, zoning into your work, sticking to a routine, and only attending important meetings, you’ll be ready to stay focused and deliver an impressive and satisfactory work performance.
Arlene Chandler is a freelance writer who spends her spare time sipping coffee, experimenting with new recipes, and hanging out with her two dogs. She currently writes finance, career, and insurance advice for AAMI Income Protection.