How to stay mentally focused?
Ever have a day like this? One minute you're prepping for your next status meeting. The next, an urgent email pops up and you begin replying-and before you can hit send a co-worker alarms you with an instant message demanding your immediate attention to put out a fire.
One study by McKinsey found that unnecessary workplace interruptions are costly, with "high-skill knowledge workers spending 28 percent of their workweek managing email."
Another study by University of California, Irvine, found that office workers are interrupted roughly every three minutes and once interrupted-ready for this?-it can take 23 minutes for the worker to return to the original task (more on that below).
If any of this resonates, you need a boost of mental focus to keep you on task. Here are 10 proven productivity hacks to help you.
1. Focus on doing only one thing.
You think multitasking is still a good strategy for success? Research says that's a myth and that multitasking can in fact be damaging to our brains. You end up splitting your focus over many tasks, losing focus, lowering the quality of your work, and taking longer to hit your goals. Mentally focused people are smart enough to work on several smaller chunks to complete a big goal. But they do it by knocking down one thing at a time, then moving on to the next task.
2. Choose the time of day that's best for you.
Some people are super productive and mentally sharp in the early morning. That is clearly not me! Figure out when you are most likely to feel focused (or least likely to feel easily distracted), and block off that time slot for tasks that you know will require your mental toughness.