We live in a time of many different distractions. Even if you work in an office, you most likely have an internet connection on your work computer and a smartphone in your pocket.
And if you’re ever working on a project at home, then there are even fewer restrictions on the number of potential distractions.
And so even though we all know that it’s in our best interest to focus on our tasks and complete them efficiently, we often fail to do so by becoming distracted again and again.
It’s definitely not a reason to become discouraged. It’s natural for the human brain to want to wander, focusing on different things over time.
But it is still possible to make an effort to focus on your work by using some simple techniques that will become habits if you repeat them as part of your work routine.
Below you’ll find some tips on how to concentrate on work without getting distracted. Many of them are easy to implement. And when you start to finish tasks more quickly, you’ll become hooked on your newfound productivity.
Set Deadlines and Make Plans
There are a few different steps to take before you actually start working on specific tasks.
First of all, you should set deadlines for yourself. Even if the task at hand is work-related and doesn’t have a hard deadline, you should set a realistic expectation for yourself.
Having a deadline will help motivate you to stick to your work and do your best to avoid delays.
It will also give you a chance to see how quickly you can work without making mistakes. This will allow you to apply realistic deadlines to future projects and tasks.
You should also try to make note of all the materials you’ll need for a project before starting it. That way, once you’ve started, you’ll be less likely to stop due to needing a specific item or a piece of information.
Turn Off Distracting Devices
Nowadays, many of our distractions are caused by electronic devices and the wide range of content that these devices can offer to us.
Unless you’re going to need it for your work, turn off your cell phone before getting started. Once you do, you should start to notice that you’re no longer feeling the urge to check it for updates or new messages.
The same principle can be applied to your internet usage.
Now, of course, many modern workplace projects require the use of the internet, so we won’t urge you to unplug your router. Your efforts don’t need to be that drastic.
But you should make an effort to set limits for yourself ahead of time.
For example, you may like to listen to music while you work.
There’s nothing wrong with that. And scientific studies have shown that the endorphin rush you receive as the result of listening to your favorite music can help motivate you to work.
However, if you choose to use a website like YouTube to listen to music, you may quickly find yourself tempted to watch a suggested video that looks appealing.
Suddenly, making the decision not to click on it becomes significantly more difficult.
To avoid these kinds of small challenges, try to keep your YouTube tab out of view, hidden behind other windows or tabs.
You’ll still get to listen to your music without having to be tempted by other forms of entertainment that are far more distracting.
Add a Sound Barrier
Just as focusing on music can help motivate you to work harder, you may also want to consider making use of a sound barrier in your workspace.
All this means is using a calming or ambient sound to mask other environmental noises that may prove to be distracting for you.
Let’s imagine that you work from home. There will be naturally-occurring sounds in your living space, as well as sounds from outside.
If you live with others, then you’re likely to hear some talking or maybe even a show they’re watching.
If you find yourself becoming distracted by these environmental sounds that can’t be avoided, you can find a way to eliminate those noises by playing sounds of your choosing.
Headphones certainly work best, but playing ambient nature sounds through speakers can also be appropriate for many situations.
Ask Not to Be Disturbed
If you live with others or there are people in your life who contact you on a fairly regular basis, then you should consider asking not to be disturbed during certain times.
As a rule of thumb, it’s best not to engage in lengthy conversations with friends or family members while you’re working, especially if you work in an office.
If you do work in an office and your coworkers have been pestering you a bit lately, then it’s probably a good idea to find a subtle way to signal to them that there are times when you’d like to be left to your work.
You could simply state your preference, or you could wear headphones during the hours of the day when you’re committed to finishing a specific task.
Dedicating your efforts to a specific task can be difficult and even exhausting at times. But committing yourself to your work, in your mind, can go a long way towards focusing more diligently.
Convince yourself that once you’ve finished all your work, you’ll be able to relax better and not have to worry about whether you’ll meet your deadline.
It’s the same concept used with many school children who have a hard time finishing their homework.
The benefits of buckling down and working through your tasks are clear and consistent. Once it’s done, it’s done, and you can allow your mind to wander all you want.
Even if you make an effort to try these methods out as part of your own work routine, you will likely find yourself faltering on more than one occasion.
And that’s ok. It doesn’t mean that you have to give up on them. Try again. You will notice improvement, and once you’ve finished your work, you’ll be happy that you didn’t procrastinate.
And learning to work in this way will be important for your future, especially if you plan to start your own business.