Notifications of messages, updates on social networks, announcements, news, e-mails … The fact is that we are bombarded with information all the time, whether by a smartphone or in a mere walk through the city. With the growing digital transformation of the last years, this issue has been intensifying more and more, making people less focused and more anxious.
And this whole scenario impacts more than people’s health. Companies are also feeling the side effects of information bombardment. One of them is the employees tending to become less productive. Thus, it is clear that it is necessary to develop an essential skill: the ability to focus on what is really important. But how can we do this in the current context?
Focus and soft skills
Before understanding the “how”, it is necessary to understand the “why”. And the logic of the need for focus is quite simple: people with specific goals are more productive. As proof, just remember the peak of productivity that we obtained with production systems like Fordism and Toyotism, in which each person had a single task. But the current situation gains some elements that make this issue a little more complex.
Today, many people remain in specialized positions. But that does not mean that, during work, the only concern is to deliver all the tasks. With the New Economy and the immense amount of information available, there is a constant need to keep up with everything that happens in the world, as people who do not keep up to date stay behind in the job market and in interpersonal relationships.
The data shows that this concern (or just distractions) has been taking up a considerable part of employees’ time. According to a Udemy study, cited in a report released by Linkedin, two-thirds of employees are in the habit of checking their cell phones for at least an hour a day. And I don’t even have to mention that the productivity has dropped considerably, right?
Research from the University of Lyon has shown that people spend 25% of their time thinking about the future and 70% thinking about the past. In this way, the work to be done in the present is hampered, once again, by the lack of focus. According to Udemy, some studies estimate that the cost of this for companies amounts to hundreds of billions of dollars in the United States alone.
With all this, we are in a dilemma: if we update all the time, we lose productivity and, if not, we are stuck in time, lagging behind the constant changes that directly interfere in our lives. That’s why the focus is so important! It is what allows us to seek a solution: the balance between being up to date with market news, without harming what we need to do today.
And what to do to improve the focus?
One of the techniques that contribute to improve our ability to focus is Mindfullness. Basically, it seeks to bring people to the present moment, making them perceive their own body and mind focused exclusively on the action performed at that moment.
One way to do this at work is to stop, for a few minutes, when you find yourself distracted or very agitated. Then, you should focus on simple exercises, which can be performed at your workstation, such as observing your breathing, ambient noises or your weight on the chair. That way, you’ll get back to work much more focused.
– Stop sabotaging yourself
To circumvent the desire to check the smartphone several times a day, there are some tools that can help you limit this use, such as the Minutes Please website or the Self Control app. They restrict the time you can spend in certain domains, blocking them if you exceed the established limit.
Or, you can just put your phone away for awhile and set the right time to check notifications, as suggested by a time management technique called Pomodoro. The important thing, in this case, is not to let the cell phone take care of you or your work!
– Get organized
Planning is one of the pillars for carrying out tasks with more focus and, consequently, a good pace of productivity. Therefore, be sure to organize, daily or weekly, the tasks to be performed, your work environment and even your rest. This goes for all types of journeys, but if you work remotely, we recommend that you pay special attention to this topic.
By following these tips, you will be able to train your focus and thus get ahead in the job market. After all, a more focused professional is much more efficient and will certainly have greater prominence and better opportunities. If you want to understand more how to become even more productive, be sure to read our other article on this topic.