A text from your friend asking about weekend plans pops up on your phone. You get a coworker’s Slack message with a question about a recent project. You can't ignore your colleague talking about her daughter’s prom pictures. How is it possible to stay focused at work?
Set Deadlines - Make it a priority to get important work done by a specific time to keep yourself on track. If it's a larger project, set a timer for 90 minutes, then reward yourself afterwards with a short break.
Don’t Multitask - If you try and answer emails while you are in the middle of a project, you will never get the project done. Emails won’t stop coming and time won’t stop. If you make it a point to stay focused on one thing at a time, you won’t have those urges to redirect your attention.
Clear the Clutter - Visual distractions can be just as detrimental to focus as other distractions. Your work environment needs to support the clarity you are trying to get. Organize your desk, clean up your computer desktop and only have the things out that you need.
Cut Down Distractions - Don’t have Gmail or Facebook up while you are working. Hide your phone - that's right! If your phone is right next to you, you will most likely look at it every few minutes without it even ringing.
Take Breaks - Studies show that taking short 15 minute breaks every couple hours to re energize, stretch your legs, breathe deeply and just clear your mind, helps focus. Getting outside helps, but even doing some burpies in your work area will help.
Have a few more minutes? Here's a quick exercise to figure out the time of day when you re best at focusing - from Daniel Pink, author of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.