As a leader, your team looks to you for guidance and inspiration. Ultimately, it is up to you to set the standard for your workplace and guide those under your care towards success.
One of the greatest indicators of your potential to be successful is your ability to stay focused on the task at hand. In a world immersed in pings, buzzes, rings, and chimes fighting for your attention, this skill can set apart those who are victim to their notifications and those who know how to tune out the noise and get work done efficiently.
Here are my 3 tips to help your brain stay focused at work.
1. Tune Out Distractions
In the words of every movie theater, “please silence your cell phones.” Many of us take work calls on our cell phones, but what about all of those social media notifications, texts from friends and family, news updates, and pings from your various apps? My philosophy is that if someone really needs you that badly, they will call you. Try turning off those other sounds for a week and see how much your headspace and focus improve while you’re in the office.
According to Inc. Magazine, playing music without lyrics while you work on repetitive tasks is a great way to help your mind stay focused. It will help block out miscellaneous background noise; studies have shown that this practice releases neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, which help you feel relaxed and happy and, therefore, focus better.
2. Take Necessary Breaks
Did you know that your brain’s prefrontal cortex is responsible for keeping you focused on a particular task or person? Like any other part of the body, your prefrontal cortex will get burnt out if you use it for too long without periods of rest. While many of us operate under the notion that being productive means cranking out as much work as possible in the shortest amount of time, science shows that we actually do our best work when our brains are re-energized and ready to hit the ground running.
Try scheduling 5 to 10-minute breaks throughout the day, to allow your mind to step away from the task so you can jump back in later with a clearer focus and less restless energy. During this time you can take a quick walk, stretch, get some water, or do whatever helps get your mind off of that project for those few minutes.
3. Set Daily Goals
One reason many people get distracted at work is because they spend too much time worrying about all of the other things they need to do and deadlines they need to meet. A good way around this is to start every morning off by planning your priorities for the day. What absolutely needs to get done before the end of the day today and what can wait until tomorrow?
Identifying each day’s goals can help put your mind at rest about other tasks because you know you have allotted enough time to do them later. In this moment, you’re free to focus on the one task in front of you.
About Dr. Wilkerson, PD, MBA, PCC.
Do you want to increase your impact? Do you want to increase profits under your leadership? Do you want to develop and use your abilities to the fullest to better connect with and lead others? Executive Leadership Coaching covers these bases. Dr. Jerrund Wilkerson, PD, MBA, PCC, has more than 30 years of successful executive leadership coaching in the United States and internationally.
As a licensed pharmacist, he is particularly passionate about helping develop effective leaders in the healthcare community. Dr. Wilkerson has coached and trained thousands of managers and leaders. He is a certified coach and member of the John Maxwell Leadership Team.
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