03 Aug Stay Focused: It Takes 25 Minutes To Jumpstart Your Brain When Distracted
As a global mobility professional, you think you will need to multi-task to accomplish anything. We don’t advise it if even if you have these many tasks: On top of cold-calling potential talents, you could be developing relationships on a global scale — existing and prospective. You could be preparing and participating in presentations, staying up to date with market intelligence, identifying trends and creating sales and product strategies, establishing revenue growth targets, doing human resources work, and so much more. These are not distractions mind you; it’s just too much workload that could overwhelm you.
When this happens, we tend to lose focus and before you know it, things fall between cracks. It doesn’t matter how brilliant or hardworking we are — somehow, someway, all those multiple tasks can make us overlook that one piece of information or phone call.
Interruptions — or distractions — actually stop us from being productive and coming up with the results that we need. All it takes is a response to a chat message or signing a document that our assistant gives us to defocus us from the tasks that counts. Getting back to our train of thought or concentration isn’t easy either. It takes 25 minutes to get our mind off the clouds and rewire it to return to our previous work. The amount of time wasted is actually enormous, highlighting that distraction is a problem. One study says that distractions pop up every 15 minutes — and if we don’t watch out, we lose one hour of productive work every day.
We need to retrain our brain to focus — which shouldn’t be hard for global mobility professionals like you who have retrained your mind to understand and process several disciplines, including immigration, recruitment, psychology, relocation, and even housing.
Here are a few tips how to rewire your mind to ward off distractions and sharpen its focus:
1. Commit yourself to a single task for a specific period of hour. For example, create your business plan or recruitment strategy for the next hour. Just think of that project, and nothing else. If other ideas for other projects pop in, don’t entertain them. Just keep at your task one minute at a time until you finish it.
2. Mute your mobile phone and chat devices in your computer. Today’s technology has wired us to check our phones every so often, even if there is no alert or notification. Nor have we developed the discipline to ignore a message, even if it’s not a priority. To make it easier and remove all online distractions, just give your mobile devices a rest for the next hour so you can focus on the task at hand. That golden hour will do wonders.
3. Make your workspace clean. Even non-digital items can be unwarranted reminders that distract us from our work. A photo of your significant other on your cubicle wall might tempt you to daydream. A book lying idly on your desk might make you think about your next holiday, which is the only time you will have to finish it. Don’t allow your mind to wander. Clean your workspace. No photos, books, post-its, hobby memorabilia of any kind while you are focused. You can easily place them back after you’re done.
4. Meditate. Do yoga, scriptural reading, or pray 30 minutes before you go to work. Again, turn off all electronic devices. Letting your mind and heart calm will allow you to mentally keep away distractions while helping you concentrate on the particular tasks that day that do need your attention.
5. Work standing up. Many swear that by having a standing desk, they have learned to focus more on their work. Also note how sitting for a prolonged length of time can be fatal. It can result in pulmonary embolism, a blood clot that travels from your body to your lungs, according to several studies.
6. When you wake up in morning, write down your tasks. You can also do this the day before and stick to the daily schedule you listed down. It’s important to list down daily tasks. If an email is not urgent, don’t respond to it right away or if you need to do so, merely respond by saying you will email back with more details later in the day.
7. Finally, never multi-task, especially if you have lots on your plate. You would want to do one thing at a time, so you can finish more tasks. You are distracting yourself by doing several things at once. Some tell-tale signs you are distracted include your penchant for opening one browser window too many, which also slows down your computer and makes your thoughts wander somewhere else. If you are an information and news junkie, it’s easy to distract yourself, but there’s a cure for that. Set notifications on your computer and mobile devices so the news comes to you.