Top 5: Ways to improve your focus at work

The average workday is full of potential distractions. Here are five ways to eliminate them and take back your time and attention.

Top 5: Ways to improve your focus

Technology has helped free us up to think about everything--all the time! But what should we pay attention to now that we have the freedom to pay attention to everything?

Here are five tips to eliminate distractions and improve your focus.

1. Be in charge of your attention

Don't attend to every notification and don't say yes to every meeting request. Prioritize what is important for you to focus on--don't let it get decided for you.

2. Decide whether things are worth your time

Is that hour meeting you're calling really worth an hour's productivity? Is that email you're about to send worth the time you spent to write it and the time people will need to read it? Maybe it is. But ask yourself to be sure.

SEE: Time management tips for tech professionals (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

3. Schedule focus time

Block it off in your calendar and move yourself away from your email, Twitter, and drop-by interruptions. Take that time to focus on that thing you can't get done with constant interruptions.

4. Don't fall for the sunk cost fallacy

Sometimes staying an extra hour or putting off a vacation will actually make your progress worse. Take a break. Even if it's just to go for a walk, you'll come back and be more productive.

5. Remember, one size doesn't fit all

What works for others won't necessarily work for you and vice versa. Encourage your team and yourself try different approaches to improving focus, only keeping the ones that really work.

SEE: How to Optimize the Smart Office (ZDNet special feature) | Download it as a PDF (TechRepublic)

Good work. Hopefully these tips were not only worth the time, but will pay off by giving you more time to work with. Now go take a break!

You can read more about these and other tips in Patrick Gray's article, 6 tips for managing your mental bandwidth.

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Image: iStock/demaerre