Staying on task can be especially difficult in today’s society, as we are bombarded with so many distractions that can cause us to lose focus. If you find you sometimes have trouble focusing or concentrating on the task at hand, continue reading to discover what may be causing this and how you can remedy the situation in order to be more productive.
Social media: Nearly everyone has some form of social media, and it can be tempting to sign in and check in with your friends and family throughout the day. However, it is all too easy to lose time and become distracted on these sites. Log yourself out of these applications to help you resist the temptation, or work in an area with little or no internet connection to prevent access.
Cell phone: Constant text and call notifications from your cell phone can be distracting and break your concentration easily. Remedy this by putting your phone on silent, tucking it away in your desk, or even putting it on airplane mode so that no messages or calls can come in.
Multi-tasking: While you may think handling multiple tasks at once is helping you save time, studies have shown that time is lost when you shift your attention from one project to another, meaning you may end up taking more time to complete three tasks simultaneously than if you’d tackled them one after the other. Instead of working on multiple things at once, organize your time so that you can dedicate your full focus to each task and conquer them more quickly.
Boredom: Not every task you take on will be interesting and hold your attention, and that’s perfectly fine. However, boredom can leave you more susceptible to distractions, so it’s best to keep it under control. Set up a reward system for yourself—every 30 minutes spent focusing on a boring task could earn you a 10-minute break to grab a coffee or treat, or even a quick walk outside to rejuvenate yourself.
Worry: Trying to remain on task can feel impossible when you’re also worried about other facets of your life. Chores, bills, and even past conversations can leave you feeling unsettled and disrupt your work. If you find yourself bothered by these thoughts, try writing them down. Make a list of chores that need to be done and a schedule of what bills you have to pay. This organization may help you to let go of these worries for the time being so you can regain your focus.
Stress: Much in the same way that worrying about tasks can distract you, stress can too—it may even lead to physical manifestations such as headaches that only add to the decreased ability to focus. To combat workplace stress, try mindful breathing and meditation exercises to help you quiet your mind and improve your focus.
Fatigue: Even if there aren’t many distractions around, fatigue can steal your concentration and impair your ability to focus. Lack of sleep can impact your attention span and short-term memory, so be sure to get a full seven to nine hours every night in order to let your mind and body rest.
Staying focused can prove to be a difficult task when there are so many distractions around to pull at your concentration. Avoiding your phone and social media can help to limit these distractions, as well as coping with worry and stress and ensuring you’ve had enough rest to refresh your mind and body.
Related: Short-term memory loss: Causes and treatments