With a tidal wave of information coming at us daily, focus is rapidly becoming the scarcest commodity of the 21st century. But if you master concentration, your productivity will surely improve, so will your personal relationships and your own happiness. Because as it turns out, happiness comes not from experiencing a greater amount of joyful events, it comes from perspective and from paying attention to what’s good.
Here in this guide, we show you 6 practical tips to improve your attention at work.
1. Make a List
We often have trouble focusing on one thing because our brain always wants to drift off to think about something else. When you are writing the final paper, for example, your brain might start to think about playing a game or watching your favorite variety show.
You should get into the habit of making a daily task list, writing down all the things you need to do in a single day. For office workers who face computers all day, a detailed list in Excel can be more practical since you can re-edit it anytime and intelligentize it with some tips and tricks for Microsoft app, check more information on MyOfficeTricks.
By making a list, you will definitely gain a sense of control over the whole day, and don’t have to worry about whatever else you should be doing when you pay attention to one particular thing. While this sounds so simple and easy, it is actually very effective in helping you to concentrate on one thing at a time.
2. Live in the Moment
It’s difficult to stay focused when you are reflecting on the past, worrying about the future, or ignoring the present moment for some other reason. You have probably heard about the importance of “being present”, which is all about getting rid of interference, whether they are physical or psychological, and living fully in the current moment.
It may take some time but keep your attention sharp and your mental resources honed in on the details that really matter at a specific point in time. You cannot change what have happened in the past and what has not happened yet in the future, but what you do today can help you to avoid repeating same mistakes and pave a path for a more successful future.
3. Take a Break
Imagine this scenario: You have already spent a few hours on the same task, and your attention begins to wander gradually, but you still stay at the desk, forcing yourself to keep going, even though it’s hard to keep your mind on it. Actually this kind of struggle just makes you feel stressed and anxious about not completing the task in time.
The next time this happens, especially when you first find yourself losing focus, just take a short mental break – refresh yourself with a cool drink and nutritious snack, or go outside and take a quick walk.
It seems counterintuitive to increase your concentration by taking a break from work, but experts say it really works. When you return to work, don’t be surprised if you feel more focused, motivated, or even creative. Breaks can help boost these functions and more.
4. Try Meditation
Meditating requires singular focus and concentration, and taking the time out of your busy schedule to meditate can be a very useful way to help boost your attention span, which could also help you remember to be here and present in whatever you’re doing without letting your mind wander too far from it, even if you think you’re too busy.
Meditation may build your ability to redirect and maintain attention, even reverse patterns in the brain that contribute to mind-wandering, worrying and poor attention. And you can practice meditation wherever you are — whether you’re riding the bus, waiting at the doctor’s office or even in the middle of a difficult business meeting, and as little as four days of it can have an effect.
5. Sleep More
A lack of sleep could result in issues such as decreased productivity and creativity, and even more lead to health problems like weight gain and reduced immune function, but do you know exactly what will happen to your brain when you are short of sleep?
Some people are not aware of the risks of sleep deprivation. In fact, they may not even realize that they’re sleep deprived. Even with limited or poor-quality sleep, they still think that they can function well. Studies show that sleep deprivation alters activity in some parts of the brain. If you’re sleep deprived, you are likely to have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change.
Getting enough quality sleep at the right times helps you function well throughout the day. People who are sleep deprived are less productive at work. They usually take longer to finish tasks, have a slower reaction time, and make more mistakes. So given the present conditions, try to sleep more.
6. Eat Breakfast
You’ve probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and numerous medical studies over the years support this. Choosing the right foods to refuel your body when you wake up, which could help to improve your memory and allow you to focus.
Although it may seem obvious, many people forget to drink a glass of water in the morning, and it can have detrimental effects. Even mild dehydration can lead to fatigue and problems concentrating, so it’s important to stay hydrated to get through the day.
Here is the general recommendation: whole-grain cereal like oatmeal or shredded wheat with low-fat milk, topped with fresh or dried fruit and honey. And it is suggested to limit or avoid refined and sugary starches and very fatty foods in the morning — donuts, a corn muffin with extra butter, because a meal like that won’t stick with you for very long.
Improving your attention is not something that will happen overnight. The first step is to recognize the impact that poor attention is having on your life. If you are struggling to accomplish your goals and find yourself getting sidetracked by unimportant details, then it’s time to start placing a higher value on your time. By improving your attention, you will be able to accomplish more tasks and concentrate on those things that truly bring you success, joy, and satisfaction.