In 2015, Microsoft did a study about the average human’s attention span shrinking to eight seconds—less than that of a goldfish. Many reputable news sources have used this ‘fact’ to create various articles about what this means. However, in 2017, the myth was debunked by the BBC. Dr. Gemma Briggs says that our attention span is “very much task-dependent. How much attention we apply to a task will vary on what the task demand is.” Dr. Briggs isn’t saying that humans can keep their attention on anything at any time, but she is saying that our focus is highly dependent; we must choose what to focus on and master our attention spans.
Our brain is simply not able to keep up with all the distraction there is in the world. Therefore, to thrive and succeed in a constantly moving environment, we must take charge of our minds. If we want to focus, we must put in the work to do so. In that spirit, here are seven ways to be more productive at work:
Get enough sleep
This is one of your typical productivity tips for work. If your body doesn’t get enough rest, your mind won’t function as well as it can. Consistent sleep deprivation ruins focus. Whether you work for an induction furnace manufacturer or a data entry firm, getting at least 7 hours of sleep will improve your productivity.
Eat foods that increase your mental focus, because eating poorly will diminish the momentum you need to work long, hard hours. If you need help enhancing memory, eat an omelet or quiche—eggs improve memory and reaction time.
Prioritize critical tasks each hour
One of the easiest and best ways to be more productive at work is to write out the tasks you want to accomplish each hour. This will help you refocus on what’s important when your mind wanders.
Break Big Tasks into Bite-Sized Chunks
If one of your tasks is overwhelming you, break it into smaller chunks that are easier to digest. A single project may be so large that you get overwhelmed and can’t focus. Plan out how you can break it into separate entities, and then set out to accomplish those bit by bit.
Plan your day
At the beginning of each day, plan out your day and write daily goals. Either tackle big jobs first and small jobs later, or vice versa. No matter what, writing down what needs to be done by the end of the day helps you diminish procrastination. Planning your day sets you up for success.
Turn off notifications
If your job allows it, unplug for 30 minutes. Set aside specific times where you close your email, put your phone in a drawer on silent, and buckle down to focus on your critical tasks. If you have a big project you need to finish up, let your coworkers know that you need time on your own to focus.
Use relaxation techniques
Play music or listen to white noise, close your eyes and take long, deep breaths, or try meditation. Taking a moment to calm yourself gives you more clarity once you set to your tasks. Having music playing helps you focus on your own thoughts.
We hope you find these productivity tips for work helpful. If you don’t see results instantly, keep at it—you’ll be glad you did.