Until you can concentrate, you will never be able to think clearly, solve problems, make decisions, or remember things. Focus is important but staying on the job will be harder and harder. The notification symphony can draw you into anything you do with a moment’s notification.
Every time your mind wanders to your work, you have to spend time and energy getting back on track. A recent study from the University of California reported that it took people an average of 25 minutes and 26 seconds to return to work after a breakdown. This means that every time something takes your attention away from your work, you lose about half an hour of your precious time.
Disruption will happen, but if it happens several times a day, you will waste a lot of time and energy. In this guide, you will learn more about why it is difficult to stay focused and how you can focus on reducing distractions and becoming more productive.
What makes staying focused is hard
- Physical incompetence
Everything is very difficult when you feel sick or tired. If you do not get enough sleep, your mind is likely to wander.
Human bodies are designed to move, but most of us lead a sedentary life-style. Not getting enough exercise is another common reason for you to lose focus quickly. Exercise helps your body regulate hormones and metabolizes insulin. It also reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety. A British study found that human performance improved during exercise days:
What you eat and drink can play a large role in your ability to stay focused on your job, too. Start by staying comfortable. About 60% of your body is water. When you run out of water you will feel lazy, and your mind will never work again.
Digestive disorders and imbalances in germs affect everything you do. An unhealthy digestive system does not feel right, but it also prevents you from using all the nutrients in your diet. This means that even if you eat well, you may not be getting the nutrients you need to focus on it.
For example, B vitamins are important for digestion and we deplete them as soon as they are exposed to stress. Lack of B vitamins will probably leave you feeling dizzy.
- The emotional brain
You know how difficult it can be to concentrate when you are worried about something else. Your limbic system, the center of all your emotions and memories, attaches emotions to everything. According to a study conducted by Bond University management professor Cynthia Fisher, there are some common feelings in the workplace that have been shown to train performance:
The way you feel about your job can ruin your product and focus if you have a negative opinion. It is good to take some time to get to know yourself so that you can determine what is causing the emotional reaction and the loss of focus.
One of the best things you can do is to build your life with confidence. When your work stimulates positive emotions, you will be more interested in what you are doing, and it will be easier to stay on the job.
- There are many distractions
We are fortunate to have more technology in our hands, but this development is a two-edged sword. As you work, calls, messages, emails, and social media notifications threaten to distract you.
A 2012 study by the McKinsey Global Institute found that people spend about 13 hours or 28% of their working week holding emails. That is not to say that all the time spent on technology is not productive. Just because most of us find it difficult to separate our inboxes and notifications so that they do not exclude us from other activities. As mentioned, it takes 25 minutes and 26 seconds to regain normal focus. Distractions are expensive.
- Do a lot of daily activities
You would think that it works best if you do a lot of work, but only 2% of people can do a lot of work successfully. James Clear’s illustration best illustrates the myth of multi-tasking:
For the other 98%, they change in three different ways:
Do two things at once.
Switch to a new job without completing the first thing they were working on.
It quickly rotates back and forth between tasks, giving the impression that they are among the 2% of most effective employees.
The human brain is not designed to produce such mental disorders. People end up with the wrong construction of “attention spaces” when switching between jobs.
If you have ever been distracted by thinking of something to do while working on another project, you have experienced the effects of attention span. Frequent switching between jobs can cost you about 40% or 16 hours of your working week. That’s like throwing two days into every work week in the trash.
Doing too many activities can cause you to act as if you have lost 10-15 points in your IQ. No matter how smart you are, that is a significant decrease in your performance. A study from the University of London compared this to missing an entire night’s sleep.
You will thrive if you learn how to concentrate and save time for serious work. You will need to create time windows without interruptions such as emails if you want to work more efficiently. 
How to focus on a disturbed world
Strategies to deal with disruption
- Restrict uninterrupted work time
Make sure you set an important time in which you can focus on your activities in uninterrupted peace. Let people know that you will not respond unless you really need to. Think of this as a way to organize a meeting for yourself, and treat it as you would a meeting.
Set your “busy” status to your messaging apps and assigned calendars. Wear headphones (even if you don’t listen to anything) to make yourself look focused on your work. Deliberately recording this time period will help you focus and cause others to be hesitant about interrupting you.
- Email collection
Emails can be entered in our inbox continuously throughout the day and it is tempting to reply as we receive them again and again. Just like blocking some focus time, take some time to respond to emails at once.
Doing this will generate more productivity and keep you in the process of dealing with emails in a row. If you find that you are still easily distracted by each email, you can install a Chrome extension called Block Site that lets you stop Gmail notifications from time to time.
- Turn technology into a distraction into a useful tool
These days, most people feel they are being controlled by their technology and phones to some degree so use the disabled options they offer you. Turn off email alerts, app notifications, set your phone to direct voicemail and make automatic responses to incoming text messages.
There are also some cool apps that encourage you to be more productive and not get too distracted by your phone. Forrest is a rewarding app every time you focus well, it encourages you in a fun way and encourages you to leave your phone well alone.
Set a time for interruptions
It is just as important as setting a time to focus on planning a time of distraction.
A study by telecommunications company Draugiem Group found that regular breaks were the norm in production. Specifically, the most productive workers spent 52 minutes working followed by a 17-minute break each time.
This is less than the brain’s ability to stay stimulated – it can’t keep long-term concentration and concentration. The average adult attention span is between 15 and 40 minutes. After this, distractions become more intense and we are less motivated. So while taking a break from the mind may seem unproductive, over time it makes the brain work better in performing the task.
More focused mind-training techniques
- Expect your inner needs
You may think that it is the external stimuli that cause us to be unproductive but in fact 44% of the distractions are also internal. Think about it – hunger, boredom, stress and lack of sleep may play a role in your frequent weight loss.
The good news is, you can manage these things by understanding your patterns and planning ahead. Do you always feel sleepy in the afternoon? Does the famine start at 11am? Do you start to get bored at the end of the day? Paying attention to these patterns and fighting them is a good way to be distracted by them.
Combine your tasks to change the dominant and tempting ones often. Keep snacks close when you know your stomach is starting to swell. Go for a quick run down and down the stairs to lift you up.
- Practice thinking
Thinking trains your mind to identify the thoughts that arise throughout your day. When it comes to distractions, understanding and recognizing these moments can help you to cope faster and increase your attention span.
Meditation and practice can be done at any time. As you eat your food, pay attention to the taste, texture and texture. As you read, be on the lookout for clues that can be used to describe your body and your surroundings. Doing this regularly will eventually train your mind when it comes to other areas where disturbing thoughts arise as a task.
Check out this 20-minute guided exercise guide if you want to learn how to think:
- Exercise regularly
Not only is exercise good for the body but it is also good for the brain. Exercise stimulates neurons in the brain that make you alert and willing to concentrate. This means that it enhances your ability to ignore distractions and keep up the good work.
You can do some exercise in the morning and go straight to work making sure your focus time is recorded first. You will be amazed at how much motivation you have and how much you accomplish.
- Create strength exercises
Just as your muscles need exercise, so do your muscles to build strength.
Setting daily self-control habits can train our minds in the art of control in many other areas. In the book WILLPOWER by John Tierny and Roy Baumeister, Tierny cites a study in which students were asked to look at their posture throughout the week. At the end of that week, these students performed better on self-control activities (activities that are not related to staying upright) than the other group that was not asked to remember their position.
It is good practice to be observant of how you speak. Make an effort not to use the obstacles i.e. try ‘I am’ instead of ‘I am’. Talk about complete sentences and stop saying ‘nah’ instead of ‘no’ or ‘yes’ instead of ‘yes’.
Alternatively, try using your opposite hand. The purpose is to make your brain work harder and the more energy it uses, the more it builds your muscle strength.
A strong process for staying focused
You don’t have to wonder how to focus when setting the process. Having good habits leads to a production process that saves a lot of time and helps you stay focused.
Finding and accepting the right daily routine will help you regain time. Your mind and body will thank you for less stress and your product will be greatly improved.
If you’re looking for inspiration on the habits you should incorporate into your day, check out my post about how to build your dynamic process:
Now you know why it’s hard to stay focused and what steps you can take to stay active.
Start by addressing your physical and emotional health needs. Identify distractions and separate tasks such as email management from time to time in your day. If you are a person who does a lot of endless work, it is time to hang that hat and focus on one thing at a time.
Above all, create productive habits that lead to appropriate activities so that deep focus becomes commonplace to you. You have all the tools you need to figure out how to focus on the things that matter most to you. Time to give your work your undivided attention.
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