Well begun is half done. That’s why we make resolutions don’t we? Get off to a great start in the New Year with these tips to improve your concentration and make your office job more productive. Use these to make 2016 your year and stand out at work. (And maybe even get that promotion).
1. Switch off distractions
Dring, beep, bzzz, ping! In 2016, the alerts just keep on coming. Before you know it you’re distracted and you’ve ended up in a group discussion about the neighbour’s lost cat. Switch your mobile to silent, leave it in your bag or turn the screen face down. And also switch off the ‘new e-mail’ alert in your e-mail programme. You can find this in Outlook under File > Options > Mail > Message arrival. And finally, restrict your social media usage to outside the office. If it’s really necessary to be logged in for your work, you should at least switch off the alerts.
2. Plan focus hours
Some activities demand more concentration. Plan focus blocks for these and work only on that one activity during this time. And don’t allow yourself to be distracted by e-mails or phone calls either. Inform your colleagues so that they leave you in peace during these moments. Or even better, plan a joint block hour so that it’s really silent in the office.
3. Create a calm working environment
This brings us to our next tip: a silent work environment. An open plan office does contribute to your creativity but mainly results in a lot of distraction. Two colleagues discussing their weekend, a colleague making a rather loud phone call, a colleague hammering away on the keyboard; these are all distractions. If you really have to concentrate, search for a calm space, try to work at home or wear ear plugs. Filter ear plugs don’t shut out everything but do muffle the disturbing sounds so that you can concentrate better on your work.
4. Drink enough
Many concentration problems are a consequence of drinking too little. Your body is 2/3 water and your brain is even 80 – 90% water. So drink enough but not too much coffee. For the optimum effect from that cup of coffee, restrict yourself to 3 cups of coffee per day.
5. Take a really good break
Do you remember the playtime you used to have? You left all the learning behind and burned off your energy outside. Even if your school days are a distant memory, this still works. Perhaps you consider quickly eating your sandwich at your desk when you’re really busy. Don’t! Getting away from work for a short while improves your concentration, so that even though you’ve done ‘nothing’ for half an hour, you’re more productive. A really good idea is: a lunchtime walk. Exercise gets you away from the position that you are in for the other 8 hours, gets your metabolism moving, relaxes you, prevents RSI complaints, gives you your dose of vitamin D (certainly very welcome in the winter), boosts your immune system and last but not least it’s just nice to get some fresh air.
What do you do to improve your concentration and productivity at work?