Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus – Alexander Graham Bell
In my experience of working with young professionals, one of the most common struggles they face is to stay focused at work. In a world filled with instant access to information, you constantly find yourself looking at your phone, or checking your email, texts, or any social media platforms. Good news is avoiding these distractions is possible, if only you understand what it means to focus and how our 5 senses help us strengthen it.
For me, Focus means – being here and now (at the present time), using your 5 senses (Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste, and Touch) to observe task at hand and persistently trying not to get distracted by irrelevant thoughts.
Following are 4 simple tips and techniques that has worked for my clients in strengthening their focus:
- Pomodoro: Using this method, you break your work period into 25-minute chunks of focusing session separated by five-minute breaks. These intervals are referred to as pomodoros. After 4 focus sessions of 25 mins you take a longer break of 15 to 20 mins. This instills a sense of urgency, forced breaks help to cure burnt-out feeling and provide an opportunity address your distractions.
- Distractions to-do list: During your 25 mins focusing session, to stay on task whenever something you want to check out pops into your head, just write it down on a piece of paper next to you, and promise yourself you’ll be able to look it up once your focusing session is over and your break time has arrived.This method allows you to acknowledge your distracting thoughts, park it until you complete your focusing session.
- Observation exercise: Close your eyes & observe any object that is accessible to you like stationary, books, fruit etc. Focus all your attention on the object without thinking of anything else and examine its shape, taste, smell and the sensation you get on touching it. Take note of its unique features and physical characteristics while shutting out any irrelevant or stray thoughts.
- Listening exercise: Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and make note of maximum number of sounds you hear from outside your room (vehicles, construction work etc). Then make note of sounds inside the room (fan, coworkers etc), followed by sounds created inside your body (heart beat, breathing etc) and then reverse the order.
Just remember — you are surrounded by events and people at work that could cut off your momentum. You can help keep these at bay and stay focused at work by practicing above 4 teachinque of Pomodora, Distraction to-do list, Observation and Listening exercise daily and gradually increase the strength of your focus.
Do try them and share your experiences with us at firstname.lastname@example.org