When was the last time you spent an uninterrupted hour—or even 15 minutes—on an important task?
If you can’t remember, you may be losing your ability to focus. And you’re likely paying a steep price for this distractibility, including reduced productivity and hampered creativity. Experts note that the good news is, with a few tweaks, you can begin to regain your ability to focus without becoming a hermit. Here are a few starting points for better mental clarity, enhanced productivity and more satisfaction from work.
1. Get your z’s.
Sleep tops many experts’ lists for improving mood and brain function. Set aside seven to nine hours each night and make an effort to go to bed around the same time.
2. Schedule interruptions.
When a coworker barges in with an issue, state that you want to give the issue your all, then schedule a meeting. Set aside chunks of time for emails, too—and block alerts in the meantime.
3. Say no.
Identify your priorities. If an activity will distract you from reaching a milestone, schedule it for another day, delegate it or decline it if you can.
4. Drink some water.
Sometimes you might not be able to think straight because you’re dehydrated. The simple act of getting up, stretching and having some water may be all you need to keep pushing forward.
5. Move on.
When your brain is stuck on what went wrong with that last presentation or what you should have said to your boss, you waste a lot of mental energy (which is not limitless). Consider what you can change for the next time, then let it go.