One of the most important work skills a person needs is knowing how to focus, how to block out all distractions, no matter what they may be – issues at work or personal problems – and concentrate completely on the work that needs to be done.
Being able to focus is an essential skill because it boosts your productivity, raises the quality of your work, and gives you more time.
Developing the Skill
Your calendar is an important tool in helping to focus because you can use it to block out time for something you need to work on. By scheduling a task on your calendar, you allow yourself to focus on just that one task, pushing from your mind anything that does not relate to the work you need to do during that period of time.
Often we cannot focus because other worries are occupying our mind. To handle this, set aside a time during the day to deal with these things. Ask yourself a simple question about these issues – is there anything you can do now to take care of them and what is it?
If there is something you can do about the problem, schedule a time to take care of it; if not, tell yourself there is nothing you can do and forget about it.
You cannot concentrate if you are not comfortable. Make sure your chair and desk are at the optimal height for ease of use.
Looking at Pictures
Research has shown that looking at pictures of nature – landscapes or wildlife – can help people to focus. If you can put up such pictures at your work location, looking at them from time to time may help to improve your concentration.
Ideally, you should find a place that is quiet and isolated so that there are no distractions. If that is not possible, wearing headphones and listening to music can also help to shut out distractions. Also, avoid time sinks like checking email or surfing the web.
Taking Breaks and Moving Around
We can focus intensely for only about one hour at a time. So, it is necessary to take breaks from your work at least every hour. When you take your break, move around, especially by walking. Studies have shown that walking helps to improve concentration.