23 July 2019

6 Genius Ways to Stay Focused in the Office

It can be hard to stay focused in the office. Between unscheduled meetings, office birthdays, and the endless rendition of what Mark got up to this weekend past, there’s plenty to distract you. But know that you’re in good company. A study found 89% of employees admit to wasting time at work, and of those, 2% waste 5 hours a day. The same study also uncovered some rather strange excuses for wasting time, including:

  • An employee was caring for their pet bird that they smuggled into work
  • An employee was laying under boxes to scare people
  • Employees were having a wrestling match
  • A sleeping employee claimed they were praying

Whether or not your office is quite that distracting, we’ve listed six genius ways you can help to keep your focus, in order to be more efficient and productive at work.

1. Listen to video game soundtracks

For many, headphones are the first resort when the office gets distracting, and some brands claim they can improve your concentration. But what music will help you work better? Well, listening to video game music can keep you focused on completing a task while being a minimum distraction. Think about it - how many times can you recall losing focus while completing a level on Spyro?

There are many types of gaming soundtracks available for free, so whether you lose yourself in a childhood favourite or shoot for a Youtube recommendation, there’s bound to be one that gets your foot tapping a little bit.

2. Add some scents into your office

A little known fact is that certain scents can affect memory, concentration, sustained attention, and cognitive function. Smells like rosemary and pine have a positive effect on the memory as it increases alertness, whilst lemon scents contributed to workers making 54% fewer errors when they were typing than those without it. Jasmine can stimulate the nervous system and ginger can also help fight fatigue - genius!

Be sure to top up on air fresheners or office-friendly candles and share them around the office.

3. Look at cute animals online

I know it’s hard to believe, but a study in Japan has led to the discovery that looking at simple pictures of cute animals can improve productivity: “the cuteness triggered positive emotion that is associated with approach motivation and the tendency toward systematic processing.” A puuurfect excuse to watch cat videos on YouTube!

Looking for an easier day at work? Here are seven more hacks for you office assistants. 

4. Time when you drink your next coffee

Millions of us drink coffee to help keep us bright and alert every day. But did you know there are times where your productivity can fluctuate? Be sure not to drink coffee within the first two hours of waking up, as this is when your body’s natural adrenaline keeps you awake and coffee can interrupt this cycle. Also, never drink coffee after 1pm as it can keep you from falling asleep at night and will make you feel more laboured as each day passes. So, stock up on coffee from the prime hours of 9am-1pm and see your to-do list empty in no time.

5. Turn up the heating (to an adequate standard)

Okay, so it can be very uncomfortable working in a hot office, but if it’s too chilly you’re not being as productive as you can. To avoid all the scientific jargon, basically, your body uses more energy to keep warm when it’s cold in the workspace, meaning less energy is used for focus and concentration.

According to a study, workers made nearly 44% more errors and were half as productive when the temperature was set at 20C as opposed to those working in 25C conditions.

6. Green means go for your workload

If your office or workspace is lacking in decoration or greenery than your performance could follow suit. Studies have shown that offices with greenery are 15% more productive than undecorated offices, whilst at the same time boosting morale. The colour yellow is also proven to increase concentration and alertness, so that could be a good choice if you’re unsure which flowers to choose.

Follow these ways and see an improvement in your efficiency

Whether you work alongside a large team or have an office to yourself, it’s never easy staying focused on work. On average, it takes more than 25 minutes to resume a task after being disrupted, and this figure can soon add up if you have a minimal attention span.

Yes, there are simpler ways of trying to reduce distractions like turning off your mobile phone or creating a to-do list, but with our scientifically backed methods, you and your colleagues will be well on your way to a productive day at work.

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