How Significant ‘Focus’ is in ‘WFH’ Regime? — 5 Useful Tips

In today’s always-connected world with particular reference to the WFH regime due to the pandemic, distractions and diversions are nothing more than a click away. We all face issues relating to focus or concentration. Various studies reveal different theories ranging from not more than 3 minutes to 10 minutes when we lose focus. People digress beyond a particular period and start thinking about something else. Even during quieter moments, distractions are literally at our fingertips as we find ourselves checking our social media apps for notifications or the latest news updates.

Precisely, focusing on a given task is becoming difficult, but it can be particularly challenging when you are surrounded by constant distractions. This becomes more relevant when we work from home (WFH). Sometimes is noisy and we get disillusioned.

The ability to concentrate on something in our environment and direct mental effort towards it is critical for learning new things, achieving goals, and performing well across a wide variety of situations. Whether you are trying to finish a report at work or competing in a marathon, our ability to focus can mean the difference between success and failure.

Fortunately, focus is a lot like a mental muscle. The more we work on building it up, the stronger it gets. Improving our mental focus is achievable, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always quick and easy. If it was simple, then we would all have the razor-sharp concentration of an elite athlete. It will take some real effort on our part and we may have to make some changes to some of our daily habits.

Here are some tips and tricks from psychology that can help us develop laser-like mental focus and concentration. We call it ‘AELLB’. Let’s understand how does it work.

1. Analyse

Before you start working toward improving your mental focus, you might want to begin by assessing just how strong your mental focus is at the present moment.

  • Do you find it easy to stay alert all time?
  • Do you set goals and break tasks up into smaller parts?
  • Do you take short breaks and then get back to work?

If the above set of questions seems more your style, then you probably already have fairly good concentration skills, but you could be even stronger with a little practice.

But if you identify more with the second set of statements, then you probably need to work on your mental focus quite a bit. It might take some time, but practicing some good habits and being mindful of your distractibility can help.

  • Do you daydream regularly?
  • Can you tune out distractions easily?
  • Do you lose track of your progress?

2. Eliminate

While it may sound obvious, people often underestimate just how many distractions prevent them from concentrating on the task at hand. Such intrusions might come in the form of a music blaring in the background or perhaps an obnoxious colleague at work who constantly drops by your cubicle to chat.

One way to deal with this is to put on your earplugs that is a decent way to show others that you are busy and don’t want to be disturbed.

The second way to deal with this is to set aside a specific time and place and request to be left alone for that period of time. Another alternative is to seek out a calm location where you know you will be able to work undisturbed. The library, a private room in your house, or even a quiet coffee shop might all be good spots to try.

Not all distractions come from outside sources. Exhaustion, worry, anxiety, poor motivation, and other internal disturbances can be particularly difficult to avoid.

3. Limit

While multitasking may seem like a great way to get a lot done quickly, it turns out that it isn’t really effective. Juggling multiple tasks at once can dramatically cut down on productivity and makes it much harder to hone in on the details that are truly important. Attentional resources are limited so it is important to budget them wisely.

Think of your attention as a spotlight. If you shine that spotlight on one particular area, you can see things very clearly. If you were to try to spread that same amount of light across a large dark room, you might instead only glimpse the shadowy outlines.

Part of improving your mental focus is all about making the most of the resources you have available. Stop multitasking and instead give your full attention to one thing at a time.

4. Live

It’s tough to stay mentally focused when you are ruminating about the past, worrying about the future, or tuned out of the present moment for some other reason. The message is that we need to Learn to live in the moment.

You have probably heard people talk about the importance of being present. It’s all about putting away distractions, whether they are physical (particularly your cellphone) or psychological (your anxieties) and being fully mentally engaged in the current moment.

It may take some time but work on learning to truly live in the moment. You cannot change the past and the future has not happened yet, but what you do today can help you avoid repeating past mistakes and pave a path for a more successful future.

5. Break

Have you ever tried to focus on the same thing for a long period of time? After a while, your focus starts to break down and it becomes more and more difficult to devote your mental resources to the task. Not only that, but your performance ultimately suffers as a result.

Traditional explanations in psychology have suggested that this is due to attentional resources being depleted, but some researchers believe that it has more to do with the brain’s tendency to ignore sources of constant stimulation.

Researchers have found that even taking very brief breaks by shifting your attention elsewhere can dramatically improve mental focus.

So, the next time you are working on a prolonged task, such as preparing your taxes or studying for an exam, be sure to give yourself an occasional mental break.

Shift your attention to something unrelated to the task at hand, even if it is only for a few moments. These short moments of respite might mean that you are able to keep your mental focus sharp and your performance high when you really need it.

The Bottom Line

To sum it up, the need to stay focused drops when you set goals and make choices that steer you toward satisfying your highest priorities, values, and principles.

Having arduous experiences on your journey is inevitable. Using these exercises and strategies, you can forecast when distractions and boredom are approaching and transform these into some of the most effective and productive chapters ever.

Learn how sometimes smaller things in our lives make huge impact and you can take some learnings on a personal and professional level by following me on LinkedIn and on our official website. Also follow us on social media: Facebook, LinkedIn, Medium, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Muhammad Sajwani is the Founder, Managing Director and Principal Consultant at Evolve HR which aims at transforming, enriching and evolving Human Capital of Pakistan. At Evolve HR, him and his team thrives in challenging assumptions that hinder organisational aspirations, by creating innovative solutions that yield maximum impact, scalability & benefit to a wider base of stakeholders. As a Business Coach and Organisational Consultant, Sajwani knows how to combine business insights with people insights to transform organisations and put them on the path to growth.

C-Level HR, Transformation Leader, Board Advisor, Writer, Business Coach & Organisational Consultant