Boy trying to maintain concentration to solve a rubik's cube in a room with a lot of visual noise

July 8, 2020

How can we stay focused?

How many tasks or projects are you working on right now? Two, three, four, more? In the digital age, and now that many of us are telecommuting, most employees are juggling multitasking. It may seem like a superhero thing to do, but it only makes our job performance worse. Juggling multiple projects at the same time makes us lose focus, is stressful and, as a result, not very productive.

One of the problems with multitasking is that if we keep switching tasks, our brains can fall behind and keep thinking about the previous task, constantly reminding us of what we are doing. It's important to learn to handle one task at a time so that we don't get mediocre results in all of them. To achieve excellence in our work, we need to develop our concentration, how?

1. Exercise your mind

Work your brain like another muscle. Like everything, making our brain not to be distracted is a matter of practice, training is needed to learn to focus . Every time you detect that you are getting distracted, recognize what your performance saboteurs.

Develop your concentration levels gradually. Don't try to work for an hour straight if you can't, start for example with 20 minutes, and then rest for 5 minutes. Over the weeks you will become fully focused for 60 minutes or more. You might even get into The Zone!

On fire with brain squats!

2. Identify your peak hours

We all have moments of the day when we work best. To recognize your most productive hours, the "peak hours", you must measure your productivity during several hours of the day. How?

You simply have to pay attention to your energy level and other behavior patterns such as: distractions or motivation at different work hours. In order to identify them, you can do tests per week. For example, for a week try to focus your performance more on one time slot. In the next one, try it with another. And compare your productivity in the different weeks.

Surely if you look closely, you will end up finding a pattern. Understanding yourself better is always a good idea!

3. Alternate concentration with breaks

To keep our level of concentration very high, we must focus on a single task at a time and have moments of rest to refocus from one task to another.

Techniques such as Pomodoro (25 min active, 5 min rest) will help you control how much and when to rest. In those parentheses you can do what you feel best to forget about the previous task that has already been completed: watch tiktoks, close your eyes for a few minutes, or if you have your pet nearby, take the opportunity to pamper your furry companion... A study revealed that those people who were allowed to take short breaks twice during one hour of work performed consistently throughout the time, while those who were not offered a break performed worse.

4. Plan critical tasks

A list of tasks -and completing them- helps us get rid of that uncomfortable feeling of leaving loose ends. So designing a to do list prevents us from getting scattered and improves our concentration. Otherwise, we could fall into the Zeigarnik effect, based on termination motivations and our tendency to remember incomplete tasks. And how have you learned by listening to Luis Castellanos, our thoughts and words shape our reality.

So when you start your workday, set those highest priority or critical tasks that you need to complete during the day so you won't be haunted at night by strange effects with Russian names ;-)

5. Limit time for emails

Email and multitasking are an inseparable couple and it kills concentration, although we never identify it as a distraction because we don't feel productive answering emails. We must assume that we have a kind of addiction to looking at our Inbox and that perhaps it is a good idea to limit the review and reply to emails to certain times of the day, depending on what is most effective for us and our activity.

6. Exercise

Yes, listen to the wise men of the Roman Empire: mens sana in corpore sano. Latin quotes are as accurate as the sayings of our grandmothers. And it is that exercise is not only good for the body, it also helps our brain. The balance in our physical health helps our brain to have more energy and health.

Bottom line: avoid multitasking

You really have to ask yourself: does multitasking really exist? Because the answer is no: our brain cannot concentrate on solving several things at the same time, except when it comes to physiological operations such as breathing or digesting. We found an interesting article about it here.

As we have said, working on different tasks at the same time reduces our cognitive abilities, the brain can only focus on one task at a time! At least if we want quality results.

Organizing our work, keeping an effective schedule, minimizing distractions, and getting a good night's sleep will increase our concentration and productivity. At first it can be difficult, we are already used to watching TV, tweeting or eating while watching Netflix and looking for the latest sneakers, but we are sure that with these tips you will succeed!

Also, do not forget that it is very important to know the levels of distraction, motivation and work productivity of your team, and that you can know them with a simple evaluation of work performance and with a lot of feedback, give it a try with our free DEMO!