My attention span is increasingly becoming awful, so needless to say sitting at a desk for 40+ hours is no easy task. If you relate to this struggle, don’t worry because the average human attention span is 8 seconds. To add insult to injury most healthy adults are unable to focus on one thing for more than 20 minutes. I’ve never timed my own personal attention span but with the frequent social media checks and online quizzes I complete; I believe it. Nevertheless, I’ve still learned some easy tips to keep me motivated enough so management never catches on to my awful browsing history at work.
Below are a few tips that help me stay decently productive:
- WALK – When the weather permits I make it a point to take a 15 minute walk in the afternoon outside. This helps to de-stress, make my mind reset and simply offers a chance to enjoy the weather.
- POMODORO TECHNIQUE – In short, the Pomodoro Technique is to work in blocks of time (typically 25 minutes long), followed by a 5 minute break. Each session should have your full attention and each break should require you to step away from your work to rest. The known benefits of this technique are: increased productivity, improved quality and quantity of work, improved time management, heightened focus and motivation as well as the ability to stay fresh throughout the day.
- MUSIC – Music is known to have positive physiological effects on those who suffer ADD, so it should come as no surprise that music will help in the workplace. According to Peter Quily, an adult Attention Deficit Disorder coach, music can increase dopamine levels in your brain – which helps you focus.
- COFFEE AND/OR TEA – I’m not trying to get you addicted to caffeine but it’s amazing what coffee can do to your productivity. If you do not enjoy drinking that much caffeine then I would strongly suggest green tea as an alternative. Studies continue to demonstrate that caffeine increasing mental focus and concentration so give it a try!
- A,B,C LISTS – Understanding where your focus needs to be is imperative to your day’s success. I recommend taking on your big tasks first and leaving the small assignments for later. For instance your “A List” would include anything with an upcoming deadline. Your “B List” is projects that should be completed next week and your “C List” should include minor tasks such as checking your email and calendar.
- DE-CLUTTER YOUR SPACE – I used to have a stylish cubicle with pictures, quotes, table runners, etc. After some time I realized I prefer a minimalist style in comparison to personalized nick-knacks everywhere. Once I removed some items, it was less items to maneuver around and glance at so I felt my focus improved.
Although staying focused will always be a challenge, these tips have definitely aided in increasing my productivity. Please feel free to comment below any tips you may use.