12 Ways to Improve Your Concentration at Work
Got ADHD? How to get work done
If you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you may have a more difficult time on the job than most. The limited attention span, restlessness, and distractibility that are hallmarks of the condition can hamper focus and productivity at work.
Medication can help, but there are also do-it-yourself tricks that can help maximize productivity and efficiency. Read on to see how you can excel in your career.
“If you fail to prioritize tasks, this can lead to organizational and distractibility issues,” says Simon Rego, PsyD, director of the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Training Program at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.
Corral your email
“Most patients find this very useful because we’re almost slaves to always having to be available to emails and phone calls,” says David Loewenstein, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
Limit other distractions
And depending upon what project is the most pressing, you may even consider turning off your computer to eliminate the endless allure of the world wide web. “If you don’t turn your computer on, you don’t get distracted,” Rego says.
Break it into bite-size chunks
Work in the same location
Find a quiet place to work
If you have to share your space, try to share it with someone who does more computer work than phone work and ask he or she to conduct meetings in other, more open spaces.
Set a timer
If you’re off task, this is a reminder to get back to what you were doing. You can also use a timer to try to gradually extend your attention span, from 10 minutes one week to 12 the next and 14 the next.
Declutter your work space
“If all of a sudden it’s so important to clean (your) desk, that could be a red herring,” says Rego. “Call it for what it is. . . Be honest with yourself. What is the function of what (you’re) doing right now.”
Plan your days
That way you can make sure you’re prepared and on time. “You will always have cues that will orient you,” Loewenstein says.
Use relaxation techniques
“These things will help get people into a very focused state,” says Loewenstein. This way, you can get a sense that everything is not equally urgent and take the time to reassess. Do you need to finish this job now or can it wait? “It gives people a chance to recalibrate,” he says.
“If you have problems processing auditory information in a meeting and become distracted, taking notes is great because you’re processing in another modality,” says Loewenstein.
Maintain a routine
This could be something as simple as putting your house and car keys in the same place every day so you don’t screw up your whole day. “That’s one less thing that can go wrong,” says Loewenstein.The same goes for your organizer, notebooks, pens and briefcase.
Surround yourself with organized people
“If you’re a business person, you have to make sure you’re surrounding yourself with people who are really well organized and who like to organize the day,” says Loewenstein. “Getting the right people around you, particularly if you’re in an executive position, is absolutely invaluable.”