While the ability to multi-task is often seen as something to brag about, research shows it might actually be detrimental to your focus. If you find it hard to concentrate on one task at a time, here are some steps you can take to re-train your brain from psychology professor Daniel Levitin from McGill University in Montreal.
1 Rest up
Getting enough sleep is key to keeping your mind agile. Exhaustion and stress can have a negative impact on your focus, as can using caffeine as a tool to stay awake.
2 Write down your distractions
When you’re trying to get your mind to focus on one thing, you might find yourself having random thoughts about tasks you need to add to your to-do list or an idea for another project. Putting these thoughts on paper gets them out of your head so you can set them aside for later.
3 Switch off
It’s absolutely essential to turn off any digital distractions when you’re working on something important; suspend email notifications, put your mobile away (actually away, not just turned upside down on your desk) and consider unplugging your work phone for a bit (but be sure your colleagues know what you’re doing, otherwise they’ll probably approach you in person when you don’t answer your phone).
If you’ve made the decision to only work on this one task, stick to your word. If you haven’t committed to the cause, you’ll never be able to focus on it.
Try out some mindfulness meditation exercises as a way to practise focusing. Take 10 minutes to clear your head of any thoughts. Eventually you can add in singular tasks and train your brain to concentrate for longer periods of time.
6 Take a break
There are many productivity hacks that revolve around working for up to 30 minutes without distractions and then taking a five-minute break to focus on something else. Use these breaks to catch up on emails and check your phone for messages.
Read the original article from Fast Company at bit.ly/2jqlRih