How many times per day do you think that your mind drifts off into fantasy land?
Some studies suggest that we waste nearly half the day in our minds.
Daydreaming does have its advantages. It can help you think through difficult problems. It can give you a way to relieve stress. But it can also be damaging to your productivity and performance.
When you daydream, you’re typically thinking about the future. You’re playing out future scenarios in your head, instead of reliving the past. This includes positive fantasies, along with negative worries about the future.
In either case, they are distractions that make you forget what you were doing. The longer you daydream, the more time you need to spend getting back on track.
Don’t let these daydreams keep you from accomplishing everything you want in life.
Along with daydreams, you may have an inner voice that often gets in the way of your productivity.
This voice keeps you from staying focused. It forces you to check your email every few minutes, check your phone, or lean back in your chair and return to your daydream.
So, if you want to remain productive, you need to learn how to tell your brain to shut up and focus on the task at hand. Use these 5 solutions to get your head out of the clouds and remain focused.
Let Your Inner Voice out Every Two Hours
The first solution for conquering your inner voice is to let it out. Don’t force yourself to avoid your favorite distractions. Instead, you put them off as a reward for remaining focused.
Take a 5 to 10-minute break every two hours. You can do whatever you want during this time. Let your inner voice go wild. Check your Facebook page, check your inbox, or close your eyes and drift away for a few minutes.
This offers several benefits. First, you’re letting your inner voice out, instead of muffling it. It’s less likely to yell at you every minute as you try to work.
At the same time, you’ll have the incentive to remain focused. It’s a small reward for sticking to your work and getting things done.
Over time, this voice will get quieter and quieter. You’ll train your brain to only speak up every two hours when it’s time for a break.
Every Task Deserves Your Full Attention
The next solution is to remind yourself that, “Every task deserves my full attention”.
Repeat this phrase as a mantra in your head when you find yourself struggling to focus. Continue to say this when you can’t stop checking your email or browsing the internet.
Each time you catch yourself getting distracted and repeat this phrase, you’ll feel guilty for losing focus. You’ll stop what you’re doing and get back to work.
This may seem like a silly solution, but it does work.
Repeating a mantra can help lift your spirits and train your brain. With repetition, you’ll instinctively repeat the mantra when it’s triggered, in this case, by a distraction.
List Your Distractions and Get Rid of Them
If your distractions are too powerful to block out, then you need to get rid of them. You need the right environment in order to remain productive. This applies whether you work in an office or in the comfort of your own home.
First, eliminate entertainment. Don’t leave a television or music playing in the background. This noise will break your concentration and act as a constant source of distractions.
If you must have noise, then listen to music that doesn’t contain any vocals. When the radio is playing the latest hit, you’ll find yourself singing along, instead of working.
Classical music or jazz can actually help improve your focus. It can keep you from drifting off into fantasy land for too long.
The next distraction to deal with is the Internet. If you require Internet access for work, block any sites that you don’t need. This may not always be an option, but you can at least block the sites that you shouldn’t visit.
Add Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all your favorite distractions to the list of blocked sites in your browser. You can visit these sites on your free time.
Take Care of the Toughest Task First
Throughout the day, you’ll likely find your mind drifting more and more frequently. If this is the case, you should take care of the toughest task first thing in the morning.
Jump right into your work while you still have the most focus. With the hard stuff accomplished, the rest of the day may go smoother.
Even if you get distracted, it will have less of an impact. You don’t need your full attention for the easier tasks.
Though, you might not have this exact problem. Instead of losing concentration throughout the day, you might start out with a lack of focus.
Take Care of the Easiest Task First
The final solution for getting your brain to shut up is to do the opposite of the previous tip. Instead of dealing with the toughest tasks first, you should take care of the easiest.
Taking care of the easier task requires less brainpower. You can do mindless work, such as organizing data or gathering information, while your mind is jumping around.
As you focus on these mindless tasks, the work will eventually overpower the brain. When you get to the tougher tasks, you’ll be prepared to devote more of your attention.
The fact that you have less work left to accomplish will make the more challenging work seem less daunting.
Tricking your mind into staying focused really isn’t that difficult. You just need a few tools for getting back on track when your mind wanders.
Start by rewarding yourself every two hours with a short break. This can keep you focused, and reduce the stress of the work. Repeat a mantra to force yourself to avoid distractions and eliminate the obvious distractions.
And, remember that you are the only person that can get your brain to shut up and focus. Figure out whether you should do the easy tasks first or last.