Do you find yourself having trouble focusing at work? You might not be alone. Many adults find it difficult to stay focused on the task at hand. This is unfortunate when you consider that it is the first step to getting your job done. In fact, the ability to focus helps in reaching targets at work. You need to pay attention to the details of what you are doing, as well as be able to switch between tasks when necessary.
The good news is that it is a skill that can be improved. Maintaining focus can be done by looking inside: getting enough sleep to overcome midday stress, perhaps. You can also be sure to have a routine at work. Having one will help you stay on-task.
On the other hand, it can be dealt with by looking at external factors. For example, some choose to hire assistants to help them with the mundane tasks that they are unable to complete on their own.
Many businesses provide solutions to people struggling with maintaining focus and attention, which has steadily grown into a wide-scale issue.
Trouble focusing at work may be due to declining attention rates
Attention spans have been steadily declining in the last few decades. In 2015, Microsoft claimed that people have continued to shorten their attention span all the way down to just 8 seconds, thanks to the mobile revolution.
The fact that we live in a modern age where information is constantly accessible means that people are more prone to distractions. The need for information in our modern society is huge. It is unlikely that anyone will be able to resist the temptation of constantly seeking it out.
This can have a negative impact on your productivity at work. It is because you will likely find yourself distracted during work hours, which can lead to reduced productivity.
The work environment may be a factor
Trouble focusing can also come from your work environment itself. For example, a person might find themselves in an office where there are distractions all around them; perhaps a co-worker will start talking about their weekend plans, or someone might make too much noise with their desk fan while they are trying to focus on a task.
Whatever the reason is, the decline in our attention rates is a huge issue for business productivity.
The effect of remote work on people’s productivity
The remote work trend has been around for a while now. The number of people who are working remotely is on the rise. With today’s technology, it is easier for companies to allow their employees to work from the comfort of their own homes. This growing trend can have upsides and downsides on the productivity of workers who have chosen to work remotely.
Remote work boosts efficiency
On the upside, remote workers find it easier to maintain focus. It is because they have the freedom of getting rid of interruptions in their workflow. It also allows them to avoid the distractions of a typical office setting, where other people might be causing distractions with their phone calls or loud music playing in the background.
These issues can cause people to lose focus when they are trying to complete a task at work. When you work remotely, you can take charge of your surroundings.
It’s not all roses, however
On the downside, remote workers may find it harder to work on a team. Since they cannot physically be in the same room as their co-workers, it can be challenging for them to form bonds. Without face-to-face communication, miscommunications may happen, leading to setbacks in workplace productivity.
The best way to overcome this problem is by being proactive. Building relationships with colleagues can be done through technology. For example, if you work from home, then you could join a video conference or set up an online meeting if you find yourself needing one. Technologies such as screen sharing, which allow two people to view each other’s screens simultaneously, also help.
The dangers of having trouble focusing at work
As mentioned earlier, problems with maintaining focus can have a negative impact on your productivity at work. This is particularly true when you are trying to accomplish a large task. The worst case scenario is when it comes to people in charge of life-or-death situations.
Imagine, for example, if surgeons performing a medical operation are unable to maintain focus, and the person on the other end of the operating table suffers a fatal injury. Or a pilot getting distracted while on the air. Cases of deteriorating attention such as these can lead to life-threatening situations.
Whether or not you’re working in such a risky field, though, lack of focus remains a serious issue for many people. It can have an impact on your ability to do any job, including remote work. If left unchecked, lack of focus can lead to significant problems.
Having trouble focusing at work? These can help
If you’re one of the many people who struggle with maintaining focus at work, you may be looking for ways to overcome this problem. One way is to simply stick to a routine at work that you can follow every day. You might consider the following strategies if you’re struggling with attention issues at work:
Timeboxing is a technique that involves limiting your time spent on a task to a specific amount of time. It is one of the first things you can do to prevent yourself from having trouble focusing at work. The goal is to focus on the task at hand, and not let yourself get distracted by other tasks or problems. When you’re done with the task, then it’s time to move on to the next one.
Essentially, the name comes from how you “box” your tasks into specific time periods or milestones. Some people invest in a specific software with a calendar or scheduling feature for this. This is especially useful for people working remotely.
Holding yourself accountable
When you work from home, you’re not surrounded by other co-workers busy at work. Sometimes, this results in people being tempted to do things that are not necessary. This can cause them to spend too much time on one task, which is the exact opposite of what you want to happen.
Timeboxing is a great technique to keep yourself accountable and not miss out on any daily targets. Once the clock starts on your work day, you can focus on finishing each task, without constantly asking yourself, “what do I do next?” At the end of the day, you can review what you’ve accomplished and easily find ways to optimize for the future.
Get some rest
Oftentimes, trouble focusing at work has less to do with your surroundings and more to do with yourself. If you find yourself struggling with focus at work, you might just not be getting enough rest. After all, the body requires proper rest and relaxation to perform optimally.
Sleep deprivation is proven to have links to a decrease in cognitive functions, including a decline in attention. In simple terms, your brain needs plenty of energy to function properly and focus throughout the day. It’s not uncommon for people who are struggling with lack of focus at work to experience constant fatigue.
If you think a lack of sleep may have contributed to your deteriorating focus, make sure to get 7 hours of sleep on average. In doing so, you’ll be in tip top shape during work. Those of you working odd shifts may require more effort, since you’re going against your internal body clock.
Try to decide on a fixed sleeping schedule that you can stick to. You can also optimize your environment, like using bright lights while working to improve alertness, and then dimming them down after work so you can sleep easier.
Multitasking is sometimes a good way to get things done in a timely manner, but it is not necessarily the best way to be productive. Many people who are struggling with focus at work have developed the habit of multitasking in order to get things done faster.
This can be dangerous; when you’re trying to juggle multiple tasks at once, it’s very easy for one of them to get overlooked. You might spend more time doing something than what you would have spent on each task individually.
Know what to focus on
It also doesn’t help that our brains aren’t built for multitasking. We are simply not capable of processing multiple tasks at once without getting lost in the details and forgetting about what we should be focusing on in the first place.
The key here is knowing when to stop and focus on one task at a time instead of multitasking. There’s no point in putting your brain through the wringer by trying to do two or more things at once and risking being unfocused. Instead, find a way to prioritize your tasks and set deadlines for each of them.
Alternatively, you could look for outside help. Many people hire assistants, even remote or virtual assistants, so that they can get rid of the need to multitask completely. With an assistant on hand, you can delegate tasks to them, and then focus on other things that are more important.
Distractions can be a big issue for many people who are struggling with focus at work. If you’re constantly being distracted by the noises of other people, or just the overall hustle and bustle of your environment, it can be hard to focus on what you should be doing.
The same goes to remote workers. In this day and age, we’re a few steps away from being permanently glued to our smartphones. Even while working, they’re usually next to us on the desk. Sometimes people even have the TV turned on while they work!
It’s no different than the issue with multitasking we’ve explained before. When your attention is split between two things, you tend to perform less effectively than you would if you focused on each task separately.
One way to prevent having trouble focusing at work is to create a calm environment where you can focus without the chaos of other people or sounds in the background. To do this, turn off all unnecessary notifications on your phone and set it on airplane mode. This will keep your environment conducive for working.
Eat healthy and exercise
Another way to improve your focus at work is to eat healthy and exercise regularly. It’s also important to look after your body, because it plays a huge role in the functioning of your brain. Think of it as providing your mind and body the fuel it needs to get through the day smoothly.
Getting ample nutrition will give your body the energy it needs to be able to focus. If you’re struggling with focusing at work, it might be a good idea to revisit your diet and start to eat healthy.
It’s all about getting the right nutrients in your body; hold back on sugars and don’t stuff yourself so much that you get fatigued. Instead, focus on protein-rich foods and complex carbohydrates that won’t leave you feeling bloated.
There are also many different exercises that can help you improve your focus and keep you in shape. This is especially crucial if you work remotely, or if you work an office job that consists of sitting down for long periods of time.
Maintaining your fitness on top of eating healthily will ensure your wellness at an optimum, so you can meet your demands for concentration.
No more having trouble focusing at work when you hire Wing Assistant
As we’ve seen, having trouble focusing at work is a common problem. Many people experience it on a daily basis, and the result can be devastating. If you’re one of the many who struggle with this issue, don’t let it stop you from reaching your goals. There are many ways you can improve your focus at work.
One of the best solutions is hiring an assistant to help you with small tasks so that you can free up your time for the important ones. Look to providers such as Wing to get a dedicated assistant that’ll help you dispel any attention span issues and optimize your workflow!
Alexander Lim is the founder and CEO of Cudy Technologies, a platform aiming to deliver high-quality educational content to students around the world. He is also a freelance writer specializing in tech, startups and marketing. He’s passionate about learning, digital marketing, and the SaaS space, and he likes writing about how startups can market their products and content effectively online.