Distractions are inevitable. Whether it’s your phone screen lighting up, the dog barking, the view from your window, or something else, you can find things that will steer your focus away from the task at hand anywhere you are. Rather than avoiding distractions all together, there are a few tricks to help keep your focus intact longer and maximize your productivity each day.
There’s so much to do in 24 hours, and it can be easy to try to complete multiple items on your checklist at once. When you do this, though, you sacrifice the quality of work you put into each task, and they end up taking longer than they would have if you’d focused on one at a time. According to research by the American Psychological Association, trying to multitask or perform “mental juggling” can take up enough space in an individual’s mind to lower their productivity by up to 40 percent. What you get out of a task is what you put in, and your productivity will suffer if you try to get everything done at once. According to Business Insider, you’ll find that your focus is better and lasts longer if you stick to one task at a time.
What better way to avoid multitasking than planning out your daily to-do’s in designated time blocks? A Fast Company article recommends planning your day the night before to block out time for the tasks you want to complete. By creating a plan for your day and sticking to it, you’ll be able to work through your tasks one-by-one and focus on what needs to be done more clearly. An article in Entrepreneur recommends setting evenly spaced deadlines to keep each planned task manageable enough to be done in the designated time frame. The more realistic you are with your time blocks, the easier it will be to avoid giving up because you feel overwhelmed. By planning out realistic times to be productive, your focus will be better, so you can feel more accomplished.
A mistake that’s easy to make is skipping breaks to get more done. Actually, you’re likely to get more done if you incorporate short breaks throughout your day, according to an article from Verywell Mind. The article notes that when you try to focus for long periods of time, your attention depletes, and your performance suffers. Because of this, it can be beneficial when working on long tasks to take short breaks, switching your attention to something unrelated — even for only a few minutes. This helps restore your mental resources so you can focus better for a longer duration.
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