Focus is an elusive attainment. When you notice that you are concentrating, that very thought will take you away from task you are supposed to be concentrating on. “Wow, I haven’t wanted to check my RSS feed in a long time. Almost 15 minutes!” you think as your mind wanders away from the Excel sheet on your monitor. Bringing your attention back to your work is essential, whether you want to get ahead or just get everything done so work thoughts don’t creep into your head after-hours.
But there are ways to control your mind, at least to some extent. Breathe deep and dive in with me:
No, really. Breathe deep!
Think that yoga is just for suburban housewives? Think again. Learning to control your breath can bring you a certain amount of control over all your systems. It can clear your mind and allow you to focus on the task at hand. Don’t trust me? Then listen to the yogis: proper breathing is key.
Really, that should be caffeine. For me, it’s coffee, but for you, it might be Red Bull or Diet Coke or some super strong tea. Whichever way you get that sweet brain nectar, stimulating your brain with (legal) chemicals is a time-honored tradition of ones with wandering minds. Just be sure to figure out the right amounts and the right time for dosing. Some studies confirm that the morning is the best time for java. You might benefit from it in the afternoon as well.
Take a Walk
Getting out of the office, the cubicle, the kitchen, wherever your job actually is, can help break up your routine. Once things get monotonous, your psyche can sink into a lower level. You need some spice in your life in order to follow the recipes that help you accomplish tasks. Moving around will wake up your muscles and wake up your brain. And you need an alert brain to stay focused.
Chat It Up
I know, I know, blabbing away to your co-workers it frowned upon. Too much fraternizing, young Millenial! Don’t you know there is work to be done? Having a good conversation with your work friend can help you ease your stress level and get things off your chest. That, in and of itself, can help bring your mind back to work. So you can get stuff done and move on to happy hour, where the real bonding can being. Over margaritas.
Find Another Job
Let’s face it. If you can’t focus on the task in front of you, maybe the task is the problem. Change can be good. It will be fear-inducing, but a little dose of anxiety can be a boon to concentration. Just ask those early humans running from lions on the open savannah if distractedness was an issue for them. You are probably not in that desperate of a situation, but a new job should help you push aside issue of boredom. For the first few weeks, at least.
This is a guest post by Blake Edwards.