Procrastination isn’t the only threat to productivity. You can easily devalue your time by allowing yourself to lose focus, concentrate on the wrong tasks, or slip into any number of other focus-related problems. To help keep yourself on task, energized, and focused on the most important work you have to do each day, try incorporating some of the following tips into your routine. You’ll be better prepared to tackle what lies ahead, no matter how many distractions might stand in your way. So get in touch with your Zen side and use these tips to enhance your focus and make the most of your time.
Practice Breathing Exercises
If you find yourself feeling stressed out and limited in your productivity, try taking a few minutes to do some breathing exercises. This can help you calm down almost immediately, helping you feel re-energized and ready to focus on getting your work done well.
- Four-Corner Breathing: Find a window, picture frame, or other four-cornered shape (even your computer screen) and focus on its outer edge, studying each corner for a few seconds. Now, start at the top left corner and inhale for five seconds. Move your gaze across to the top right corner and hold your breath for five seconds. Lowering your gaze to the bottom right corner, exhale for five seconds. Finally, focus on the bottom left corner, telling yourself to relax and smile. Repeat as many times and as frequently as you need to in order to improve your focus.
- Cyclical Breathing: This yoga-inspired breathing exercise will help you focus on your breath, allowing you to forget distractions and find the energy you need to complete the day’s work. Begin with your eyes closed and use your dominant hand for this exercise. Fold the index and middle fingers in to rest on your palm and then block one nostril with your thumb. Inhale through the other nostril and then press your ring finger against it to block it as well. Hold your breath with both nostrils blocked, then release the first one and exhale. Repeat as desired.
Research has shown that drinking black, green, and oolong teas can help improve your ability to focus. You can find specific blends designed to enhance focus, but any version of these teas will benefit you as you try to concentrate on the important things you need to do each day.
Doing several things at once just means you’re spreading your attention too thinly among tasks that demand it. Rather than trying to complete them all at once, try attacking tasks that can be quickly and easily finished. This will get small concerns out of your mind so you can focus on the main task of the day. As long as you set one important goal and complete it each day, you’ll be making more progress than anyone else who’s trying to multitask and accomplish everything at once.
Rearrange Your Work Space
Surround yourself with objects and words that inspire you to focus on what matters most. For example, if you’re a musician, you might keep instruments around your office and frame some of your favorite sheet music to hang on the wall. You could use music stands to hold important papers, keep photos of your favorite professional musicians on your desk, and listen to music on your lunch break. Whatever helps you focus on what matters to you will help you concentrate on daily tasks.
Practice Focus in Daily Activities
If you don’t focus on the basic tasks of everyday life, you won’t be able to focus on your work either. To help yourself get into the habit of putting all your energy toward one task, try actively concentrating on activities like eating, having a conversation, and washing your hands. Try to focus on experiencing life in the moment rather than thinking ahead to what you’ll be doing in a few minutes, in a few hours, or even the next day or week. Focusing on the little things will help you when you need to concentrate on something important.
Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education and performs research surrounding online degrees. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.