There is no productivity hack that will work for everyone. That’s why we created Welltory — to provide science and easy tools so that people can learn what affects their productivity and adjust their habits.
However, there are a few science-based principles that you might want to give a try to stay focused — let’s take a look at them.
1. Stop multitasking
It’s time to forget the word ‘multitasking’ — it’s a term for something that humans can’t do.
When you get distracted or shift attention between one task and another, you lose focus. Distractions may include a colleague interrupting your work, checking the weather, a Slack notification sound, or a quick Twitter scroll.
Research shows that the amount of time people spend working before passing on to doing something else is no less than two minutes. Research also shows that to properly get back to the task after a distraction, you need more than 20 minutes.
Look at the stats above and think about how much productive work could be done under such circumstances — and that’s without mentioning the cognitive toll distractions take on your brain.
Start by turning all notifications off. Check emails only sporadically. Put your phone in another room. Try apps that block specific websites. Remember, your focus is precious.
2. Planning should take as much time as doing
Before you set out to do any sort of task, try to prepare:
- Ask yourself if what you’re about to do is the best way to go about the task. What could you change in the process? Who will you ask for help? What could go wrong?
- Make a list of subtasks and then proceed by making subtasks for each subtask — small steps towards completion.
These things will help you procrastinate less, and help you avoid distractions. The number of chaos and uncertainty will decrease, helping you to maintain focus.
Planning and breaking the task into smaller pieces is also important, considering that a large task looming over you may cause anxiety. The little subtasks should be challenging enough for you to stay motivated while avoiding stress.
3. Don’t neglect sleep
If there’s only one thing you’re willing to change in your life in order to become more productive, let it be getting enough quality sleep.
Sleep deprivation has been studied widely. It raises your overall stress levels, causes headaches and burnout, disrupts the work of executive functions of the brain and memory formation, prevents you from making better decisions, clouds your judgment, and may lead to depression.
So if you don’t already sleep 7–9 hours a day without interruption, allow yourself to do so in order to improve your productivity.
4. Share your plans, accomplishments, and setbacks
Try talking about your tasks with people whose input you value to create a sense of accountability. Set up a small daily meeting or a group chat with people you work close to, or with your friends even. Tell each other what you’ve done and what you plan on doing that day. Reunite at the end of the day with an account of the things you managed to complete.
There are more radical approaches, like using Focusmate or renting a coworking space where you’ll be surrounded by like-minded people — find what works for you.
5. Find your flow state
We are all different — what works for you might not work for other people and vice versa.
Perhaps lighting some candles will help you focus, maybe working at a standing desk, or from your favorite coffee shop will do the trick. Maybe you do your best work early in the morning, on an empty stomach, or perhaps you want to have snacks on the desk at all times.
Try to implement small, different habits into your workday that make you feel more comfortable and set you in the mood for productive work.
This is where self-tracking helps, which is also the reason why we made the Welltory app — by observing data that tells you that you do more productive work after you’ve slept for 7 hours or when having skipped breakfast, it becomes easier to foster new habits.
Use our special offer to improve your focus
Hopefully, you learned something new today. If you want to know what works specifically for you and what improves your focus — download our app and start self-tracking.
Apply our special code ‘thetechblog’ on welltory.com to get a 25% off the annual price on Welltory Pro.