Culture | Strategy

Staying Focused: 6 Ways to Train Your Brain

It’s as if our world truly is conspiring to keep you sidetracked: surfing the internet can be “addicting,” smartphones constantly ping with notifications, you touch your smartphone an average of  2,617 times a day, and – if you’re anything like me – you take a break from writing “just for a minute” to check your favorite blogs or online magazines only to look up 20 minutes later to realize that it’s…20 minutes later.

And let’s not forget colleagues popping in for just a moment to chat, the buzz of an open workspace, the fact that you need to leave the office precisely at 5 to get to your child’s soccer game and you still need to get through to the cable company to make an appointment for a technician, and it’s no wonder – no wonder at all – that you have a hard time staying focused.

Hey, But Seriously, Focus:

So this is your challenge: train your brain.  To help you out, we’ve done some considerable internet surfing research looking for focus-keeping strategies and we present the best six tactics we found below.

 

1. Embrace the headphone, for it is IS your friend.

Offices today can be very noisy places. Radios are playing. People are talking. (Right next to you! To you!) Phones are ringing. The gal on the coffee run just returned and she’s calling people to come pick up their Joe. Getting some noise-cancelling headphones or regular headphones that allow you to hear nothing but your favorite tunes can be a good way to keep the noise at bay.

 

2. Provide colleagues with a sign that you aren’t to be disturbed.

Headphones also can be a signal to your coworkers that you’re in major “get work done” mode and so will leave you alone when they see you wearing them. If this is not possible, consider moving to an unused office and closing the door, placing a sign on your cubicle or workspace asking that people leave you be until a certain time, and so on.

 

3. Schedule everything. EVERYTHING.

Stick it on our planner of choice and follow it. If it’s on the planner/schedule, it must get done! It’s also best to prioritize your day as well as your week so that you get the high priority tasks completed as needed. After all, chances are that you will be distracted more than you’d like and all tasks on your list may not get done. Prioritizing them helps ensure the ones that need to be done, will be done.

 

4. Have meetings on just one day a week.

Meetings can take up a lot of time and it’s easy to lose focus on tasks you’re working on right before and after the meeting. Consider scheduling all meetings for one day each week. This leaves four days to get real work done.

 

5. Reward yourself for completing a task or project.

Allow yourself to only look at blogs or social media channels after your work is done. You can help yourself do so by setting an online timer. Decide how much time you will work on a project non-stop (aim for no more than 50 minutes; our brains need a break after that much consistent effort), work on the project and when the timer goes off, give yourself your reward. (If that reward is to surf the Internet, set the timer again for five minutes; take an additional 5 minutes to get up and walk around for a bit.)

 

6. Partner with a digital marketing agency so that you can focus on what’s important.

Speaking of completing a project, if you’re a one- or two-person marketing department for a company located in the greater Detroit area, you may be finding yourself pulled in many directions at once, getting pretty much nothing of substance done.

Inbound marketing agency Ingenex Digital Marketing can work with you to help take some of those marketing tasks off your plate, allowing you to focus on your true priorities. Contact us today to learn more.

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