When I first started working, I was surprised to find that my biggest challenge was maintain mental focus for an entire work day. The nature of my work required a high degree of focus, but I found that concentrating for nine straight hours was exhausting. Over time I learned to do it, though, and so can you. Here are some ideas to help you improve your focus at work:
1. Set the stage for concentration. While concentrating for long periods on the job can be difficult in any setting, it is particularly difficult if your atmosphere is full of distractions. Whether you are working in a private office, a cubicle, or a factory floor, you can find ways to remove distractions. Some people use noise-cancelling headphones or ear plugs to remove audible distractions. Some people use word processors that block out the rest of their screen to avoid the temptation to surf the web or jump from task to task. To the extent that you reasonably can do so, you should remove unnecessary distractions as a precursor to improving your focus at work.
2. Stop trying to multitask. Busy people often try to save time by doing more than one thing at once. Sometimes that works, but it always fractures their focus. To improve your focus at work, you need to do one thing at a time. Focus on a single task until you are done with it, then move on to another task. Besides improving your concentration powers, this approach will also reduce your stress levels.
3. Practice off the job. To improve your focus at work, you can also work on your focus outside of the office. Make single-minded concentration a part of your life wherever you are. For example, when you cook dinner, just cook dinner. Don’t try to cook dinner while doing the dishes, balancing your checkbook, and watering the plants. Always practice focus.
Once you’ve mastered focus at work, you might want to experiment with a less-focused work style (e.g., by multitasking). First, though, use the steps above to improve your level of concentration. Focus is a key to success in the modern workplace.