Staying focused is a challenge many of us face. In today’s world of modern technology and wireless integration, we’re inundated by many distractions. It’s a common experience to be sidelined by seemingly innocent interruptions to your workflow.
"Oh, just five more minutes," you tell yourself. Low and behold an hour and a half later, you’re still playing Cookie Jam on your phone when you probably should have been washing the dishes and preparing your dinner.
Learning how to stay focused and on a task is easier said than done. However, it’s certainly a worthwhile endeavor.
Curious to discover how it’s done?
Why Learning How to Stay Focused Is So Challenging
With the lure of the digital world constantly at our fingertips, finding an excuse to slack off is easier than ever. This becomes even more problematic when our jobs involve a component of online work.
To stay on track and not adhere to the multitude of distractions that clutter our eyes and ears, we must possess a wealth of concentrative power.
Here are some of the most common distractions you may find yourself dealing with at work or at home:
- Chatty coworkers
- Social media
- Email, text, or message alerts
- Phone calls
- Your kids
Understanding how to stay focused is a skill. It’s something you have to work at and cultivate for greater efficiency. With good focus and concentration, we’re able to do more in less time. That’s a win-win!
Learning How to Concentrate Easily and Effectively
Discovering how to concentrate and focus more efficiently isn’t so much an aptitude as it is a learned trait.
Everyone has the ability to buckle down and work hard when they want (or need!) to. However, those who work to nurture their concentrative powers will be more productive in the long run.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to sit down at your desk and work without distraction for hours at a time? Imagine how much you could accomplish if you weren’t sidelined by interruptions or diversions!
Sadly, we can’t control every aspect of our exterior environments. It would be great if we could shut the world out entirely to get some work done. For this, learning to move forward amid a torrent of distractions is a useful (and necessary) skill to have.
How to Stay Focused At Work
Unfortunately, we can’t turn the exterior world off so we can strike a few items off our to-do lists. So, what we must learn to do instead is to move forward despite the interruptions that seek to derail our momentum.
If you’d like to learn how to stay focused at work, here are a few tricks you can try:
1. Combating Internet Distractions
One of the biggest distractions we often face at work is the internet. This holds especially true for those of us that need to use the internet in order to complete our work.
If you find that opening a new tab on your browser often results in a Youtube cat video binge or a deep dive into Wikipedia articles, then you may want to try Momentum.
Momentum is a browser plug-in you can install for increased productivity and focus. Momentum creates a personalized dashboard for you each time you open a new tab on your browser. Each new tab will yield a motivational quote, as well as a gentle reminder of your to-do list for the day.
If you’re looking to learn how to stay focused amid the wealth of internet distractions at your fingertips, Momentum is the way to go.
2. Blocking Out External Noise
Whether it be chatty coworkers, building construction, or noisy street traffic, there’s usually some form of auditory disturbance at work.
If you have difficulty concentrating in the midst of gossiping employees, paper shredders, and honking cars, it may be time for you to begin blocking out the noise.
Depending on your work environment, you may be able to listen to music at your desk with headphones. If music is not permitted, invest in a good pair of earplugs to muffle the noise.
If you are looking for some incredibly relaxing, meditative music to listen to while you work or study (or meditate), try out this wonderful track with Omharmonics technology:
You can also set up some form of white noise at your workstation to buffer the severity of external disturbances — a small fan or humidifier may do the trick,or you can purchase a white noise device if you prefer to listen to soothing, ambient sounds.
3. Dealing With Annoying Coworkers
Coworkers can be a huge distraction at work. Whether we’re being interrupted by someone we like, or someone we can’t stand, having another person invade your workspace for any length of time only prevents you from getting your work done effectively.
Listening to music or wearing ear plugs is an indirect way to let others know you’d like to focus on productivity. However, what happens when someone doesn’t pick up on the subtlety of the cue?
It’s at times like this that we must learn how to politely — but firmly — tell others no. If the conversation your coworker wants to have is work related, then great! If they’ve simply stopped by to have a chat, this is a different matter.
Exchanging pleasantries is part of maintaining a healthy work environment, but don’t hesitate to let others know you have work you’d like to get done.
Learning how to stay focused at work isn’t always easy, but it yields positive, productive results for all those involved.
How to Concentrate on Studying and Retain More Information
If you’re a student of any kind, you’ll know just how challenging it can be to stay focused while studying.
The same distractions that abound at work can be even more difficult to overcome when studying. The primary difference? Your environment. Where you are plays a large and important role in how you handle distractions that arise. At work, you may find it easier to handle interruptions because of the impending presence of your manager or boss.
At home? Well, there is no manager or boss besides yourself. You are in charge of your learning experience. And that means handling distractions is entirely up to you.
If you want to know how to concentrate on studying for better retention and learning, try some of these handy tricks:
1. Limit Your Screens
If the research you need to do is online, then this might be a challenge. However, if you’re studying from a book, this tip can be quite useful.
Do your best to eradicate screens from your study environment. That means laptops, tablets, phones, televisions, and anything else you might use to access the internet. The fewer screens the better.
2. Take Study Breaks
After 45 minutes to an hour of hard concentration, the brain’s ability to stay focused begins to decline. You should aim to structure regular breaks into your study sessions to allow for maximal retention and efficiency.
Ploughing through hours and hours of readings without taking a break won’t do you much good. Take breaks. Grab a snack. Watch a few minutes of your favorite show. Stretch. Take a walk around the block.
Plan study breaks at regular intervals and you’ll surprise yourself with your renewed ability to stay focused and on a task.
3. Use Binaural Beats
If your study environment is particularly noisy, why not give binaural beats a try?
Binaural beats create a rhythmic pulse between your ears that can encourage your brain to stay focused. These beats work by mimicking the frequency of your brainwaves.
Find a binaural beat track that encourages higher productivity and focus. There are also binaural beats for enhanced creativity, lucid dreaming — even combating insomnia.
Here’s a good binaural beat track for a focused study session. Give it a try!
How do you stay focused at work? What tips and tricks do you think will work best to help you maintain your concentration? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!