Concentrating at work is easier said than done. Why? Our minds are always wandering. Even right now as you’re reading this your concentration is probably dwindling. There might be a million other things on your brain: the weather, dinner plans, an article you read on your morning commute. Luckily, there are simple ways to improve your focus. Here are a three tips that will keep your concentration from dwindling and help you make the most out of the time you spend at work:
The first step in clearing your head, is clearing your work-space. If you’re currently at the office, take a look at your working environment. Is your monitor covered in old post-it notes? Do you have pens and notebooks covering your desk? What about coffee ring stains? All that stuff is just clamoring for your attention! And how about your computer desktop? Does it look like an episode of hoarders? Searching for a file minutes before a deadline is only going to cause you stress. An organized work-space will not only keep you on task, it will help improve your reputation among your coworkers.
Day dreaming happens when your mind is at rest, so increasing your blood flow is an effective way to improve focus. If you spend most of your day sitting; standing up and stretching will feel like you are hitting a reset button. Beyond stretching, a quick walk will do wonders for your concentration. If your workday is punctuated by 15-minute breaks, take advantage of that time by getting some fresh air instead of scrolling through your Facebook’s newsfeed (you don’t have to admit to that guilty pleasure aloud). Getting away from your computer will give your eyes a much needed break, and you’ll return to your desk feeling refreshed.
Holding a full time job, running errands, and maintaining a social life all at the same time can be a tough juggling act. Are you losing control? If you are overwhelmed by a busy schedule, it is in your best interest to invest in a planner. Trying to keep track of everything in your head will only bring you stress. If old-school pen and paper isn’t your style, there are several planning apps available for download, such as Planner Pro, which allows you to create, edit, and delete events in a well-organized calendar. You’ll receive alerts of upcoming events, which means you’ll never miss an engagement! But please put your phone on silent at work, and better yet in your purse or desk draw. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
Numerous studies indicate that day dreamers tend to be more creative, better problem solvers, and have the ability to make connections between ideas, so day dreaming is by no means a bad thing, or something that you want to ditch completely. It’s important, however, to keep your fantasies in check. All who wonder are not lost, but they are wasting company time. Staring into space thinking about how cute cats are isn’t at all productive. In the wise words of Horace, “rule your mind or it will rule you.”