If you’re struggling to focus on getting work done, perhaps the following tips may help.
1. Simplify Your Environment. We, humans, are biologically programmed to pay attention to new stimuli. Disable notifications on your phone, close the unnecessary windows on your screen, and clear up unnecessary papers. Switch off to switch on. Find a quiet space in the office or retreat to the local library or a tearoom.
2. Make Your Mind Up to Focus. Set aside a block of time—even if it’s just ten minutes—to handle a mentally challenging task without interruptions. Quite often, seemingly difficult tasks get easier once you get working on them, even if you force yourself to go through the motions. Extend the time further—schedule ten, twenty, or thirty more minutes of work.
3. Embrace Your Struggles. Any task that takes mental effort, or involves critical thinking and creativity, is going to be a little daunting initially. When you hit a wall, don’t quit and breakout to something easier. Labor through and push onwards.
4. Take Adequate Breaks. Humans work in cycles; we can focus for a period but then need time to rest. Try the popular ‘Pomodoro Technique’: work for a concentrated 25 minutes, take a 5-minute time out, then dive back in for another Pomodoro. After four Pomodoros, take a long break. During each break, leave your desk or take a break from your screen. Go for a quick walk around the block, step away from your desk for a few minutes, or make a cup of tea. Realizing that you only have a set amount of time to complete a task before a break, the Pomodoro Technique tends to keep you on the task rather than drifting from one diversion to another.