Stanford Psychology Expert Suggests Ways To Focus At Work With New Book Titled: Indistractable

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In this port-modern day and age, where gadgets and other new forms of technology are rampantly developed and used, we are not spared from distractions and diversions. We tend to escape them but to no avail we are bombarded every single moment and we are losing opportune time to be productive.

That is why the biggest problem of our generation is focus and attention to the present moment. We are slaves to automation and we no longer rely fully on ourselves to produce desired outputs at work. With that said we are mixed up, disoriented and sometimes confused about how our day went.

A recent study shows that focus and attention have become skills that we need to re-learn. We need to unlearn the dependency on gadgets and technology to enhance this skill and become more productive.

But before we re-master our cognitive focus, we need to re-examine the things that keep us away from the present moment. We need to know what steals our attention so that we can adjust and avoid distractions during the course of a day.

Here are some of the most common distractions in the workplace that we might need to manage to be more focused and productive:

1.       E-mails

a.     Schedule email replies - We receive emails from colleagues, clients and suppliers daily. They are either needing immediate attention or they can either be r replied at the end of the day. Either way, you can schedule an hour in the morning to reply to those emails that were sent to you from the previous day. Urgent messages must be replied right away though.

b.     Schedule outgoing emails - If the concern is not so urgent, you can send outgoing emails in the afternoon before your shift ends. This way, you have more time attending to administrative tasks and other important matters.

2.       Group chats

a.     Messenger or Face Time - This is a very common distraction nowadays. Put your messenger or chat notifications off so that it will not distract you. Especially if these chat groups are not work related or not concerning anyone in the family that might need your immediate help. Avoid chatting apps during your work period.

b.     Meeting Apps - Keep it strict within the workplace. Only allow online meeting or video conferences that are work-related. If it is not concerning your company or your job, do not accept conferencing invites online.

3.       Smartphone

a.     Social Media Platforms - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are some of the social media platforms that really urges you to look at every once in a while. Turn off notifications or better yet, do not open these apps while at work. Reading updates from your social media contacts will only trigger you think of matters outside the workplace.

b.     News Sites - Make time for reading but only after office hours. It is good to keep yourself in the know but make sure it does not interrupt your work hours.

c.     Video Sharing Sites - Same with news sites, videos are only entertaining when you are watching at home. Do not use your time to relax and watch a favorite show or a viral video. It is very disruptive and it really diverts your focus away from your job.

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4.       Colleagues

a.     Gossip and Small Talks - We are sometimes lured by our officemates to talk about life and other personal stuff. We also get intrigued by gossip and forget that we have to be professional and ethical. Avoid these kinds of talk and just focus on the job at hand. These things can be talked about over a beer in the weekends or a birthday party where you are invited.

b.     Coffee and Cigarette Breaks - During breaks we either sit with co-workers over a cup of coffee or a stick of cigarette. Again, do not engage yourself in gossip and other personal issues that will make you forget that the break is just short. Remember, you need to go back to work mode in half an hour.

These are only tips that might help you master the skill of focus. To know more about techniques and the science behind the avoidance of distractions, read the book by Nir Eyal, a graduate and instructor at Stanford's Graduate School of Business. His latest book entitled, "Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life" is out in bookshelves now.

RELATED: What Are the Pros and Cons of Working While You're in School? 

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