When it comes to getting things done, focus is the name of the game. After all, one of the best ways to get something done is to give it all our attention. And we can all relate to the fact that many factors can make focusing difficult. For example, remote workers are often in their own homes where family, pets, neighbors, and any number of personal affairs can be quite distracting. And even in the office, we could have an outstanding conversation with a buddy or really need to get some food. According to this study on ADHD from the Journal of the Missouri State Medical Association, there has also been an increase in the number of ADHD cases being diagnosed over the past 20-odd years, and people with the disorder have a much harder time focusing. Many things can pull our gaze off our work! So here are four things I believe can help us keep our eyes on the prize.
1. Taking Breaks
Like we mentioned in last week’s newsletter, taking a break in the middle of work can help us relax, refresh, and refocus. Doing work continuously - especially if it is the same kind of work over and over - can be difficult to focus on for any brain, one with ADHD or no, as any continuous amount of work done by anyone can eventually lead to burnout. Our eyes can wander and start to focus on other things. To prevent the focus loss, we can take 15 minutes to watch some memes, get a snack, or talk to our coworkers, then we can return to our desks with new focus and drive.
2. Deadening the Room
While taking breaks works easily enough for both remote and in-office, deadening our workspaces can be harder for certain offices. Deadening the room means removing distractions that might otherwise occupy our minds, visually, audibly, or any other way. A few things to try:
- Close the door
- Turn off notifications on your phone
- Or turn your phone off if you really need to get something done!
- Make sure your “office” is in an isolated area of your home
- If you really want to go all-out, you can try hanging up soundproofing on your door and walls
- Remove extra trinkets or piles of work from your desk
- If you’re in the office with others, put up a sign, or have a conversation that you’re focusing and aren’t available for drop-by conversations right now
3. Listening to Music
Turning up the volume on our music or ambient noise can help drown out other sounds from around us and help keep us focused on the task at hand. Some Your Clear Next Step employees report that music without lyrics helps them function the best!
To be clear, this doesn’t have to be the opposite of deadening the room. Some of us function great in silence, others with an ambience in the background. Deadening our room and then filling it with music or ocean sounds can work for some as much as doing one or the other might work for someone else!
4. Asking for Help
Household chores are one of the biggest distractions for remote employees, but even in-person staff go home every night, so there’s always a chance of something at home lurking at the back of our minds. Some of these things can’t be ignored, like a dog that needs to be walked or garbage that must go out before the truck comes. In the workplace, we should all help each other, so asking a coworker to cover something for us if we have to do something is perfectly okay! I know my peers are happy to help me out if I’m in a bind, so don't be afraid to ask!
Or maybe if we live with someone else, we can ask them to do that chore that’s eating away at us.
Either way, be sure to express thanks if you end up going this route. Our helpers might be under their own share of stresses, and even if not, they have still gone out of their way to ease our minds. Be sure to also return the favor if asked!
There are all sorts of ways to stay focused. Some work for us, others won’t. That’s okay! Finding out what makes things the easiest for us is just another step on the path to even better workdays! The four ways I have shared are some that work for me or my colleagues at YCNS. Everyone has their own ways of staying focused, so why not find yours? What are your tips? Comment below!