From boosting focus with co-working sessions to mixing exercise with work, discover the diverse strategies that are redefining attention enhancement in the workplace.
BOOST FOCUS WITH CO-WORKING SESSIONS
Co-working is a new productivity trend that allows for accountability while focusing. When you have another person working either next to you or through Zoom, you are much more likely to tough out the last few minutes of focus before a break. It is also great because you can celebrate your wins or brainstorm obstacles that arise during your focus session.
The way a session would go is that your group decides how long a focus session will be and what each individual will focus on. Timers are set and you put your head down and work. Once time is up, you come back together and discuss what you got done.
I use co-working for batch-scheduling social media posts. It’s repetitive to schedule posts, but knowing I have accountability and someone to cheer me on keeps me on track and focused.
CUSTOMIZE YOUR POMODORO
The “Pomodoro Technique” is not new, but there is a tweak to this technique that can increase attention span. Instead of sticking to the standard 25-minute Pomodoro, it’s beneficial to set a timer to match your current attention span. This approach avoids the strain of trying to focus for a longer period than you’re capable of or breaking your concentration prematurely if you can maintain focus for longer than 25 minutes.
To gradually increase your attention span using this technique, begin by extending the Pomodoro length slightly beyond your current limit. For example, if you can concentrate for 45 minutes, set the timer for 50 minutes. Once you’re comfortable with this, incrementally increase the duration. For those with a shorter attention span, such as 10 minutes, consider adding just one minute at a time. The gradual nature of this method is crucial for achieving long-term improvement.
USE TIMED REWARDS
Staring at a screen all day is natural for my line of work. There was a time when I felt I couldn’t pay attention for over 10 minutes on a task and just assumed that was the nature of the technology beast—until I discovered a way to work with my attention span, identifying when I needed to step away and how I could use it as a reward to improve my attention span.
Using breaks as a reward has improved my attention span tenfold. Instead of forcing myself to work for hours on end, taking intermittent breaks, or getting distracted on my phone, I set timers for myself, get work done during that time, and reward myself with a break. From something as small as grabbing a cup of coffee to having lunch outside of the house, this trick has helped me get more tasks done in a certain time frame.
Before implementing this, I would work for 10 minutes, check my phone, go to another task, change the show on the TV, etc. Afterward, I set myself up for success: no TV, timer on my computer only, with only my work software open. I set the timer per task at around 30 minutes, then make it a point to stand up, stretch, get a snack, all within a five-minute time period. It’s something that works for me and my attention, so I recommend it to others who are struggling as well.
PLAN ON FRIDAYS
Planning on Fridays is life-changing! I used to have terrible bouts of the Sunday scaries, anxiously worrying about all I needed to complete come Monday. Now, I enjoy my weekends by planning on Fridays. Knowing what the coming week, day, or even hour holds means I can live in the moment and keep my focus on the tasks at hand. I am no longer overwhelmed by all the deadlines, meetings, and to-do items swirling around in my head.
Take time every Friday to plan for the week ahead. When you plan every week, you get to truly live every day.
ADOPT MONK MODE
One new trend I’ve started to experiment with lately is what I’ve seen referred to as “monk mode.” Basically, this is a mindset shift that aims to emulate the discipline and mindfulness of monastic life. This is done by setting aside dedicated, distraction-free time when you can focus deeply on a single critical task.
The most challenging part of enacting a “monk mode” approach for me has been finding that time when I can clear away distractions. As a business leader, it feels as though there are always employees, clients, and other people vying for my attention and time. What I’ve found useful is to take advantage of the times during the day when I tend to have the fewest distractions already.
For me, this is in the early morning, before others in the office are settled into their days. I still am not always able to clear away every distraction, but by making the concerted effort to secure an hour or two of “monk mode” time every day, I have been experiencing a difference. I am able to sink into extended periods of focus more quickly and sustain them longer before I start to wonder whether I need to check notifications or follow up on emails.
The principles of “monk mode” are nothing new, but the specifics of the approach are a new twist on these well-known concepts, and I can see this trend becoming a well-known productivity-boosting strategy in the future.
MEDITATE FOR SUSTAINED ATTENTION SPAN
I have been an entrepreneur for over 15 years, and this is one thing that has tremendously helped me.
Meditation continues to be a significant and enduring productivity trend aimed at improving attention span. While not necessarily “new,” its popularity has grown, and various approaches and technologies have emerged to make meditation more accessible and engaging.
Regular meditation practice has enhanced my attention span, reduced stress, and improved my cognitive abilities over time. Overall, it has enhanced my focus and overall mental well-being.
TRY ACTIVE MOVEMENT
Embodied cognition is essential in my role as the CEO and head of sales, where making sound and strategic decisions is crucial. These decisions depend on my ability to focus on several tasks without getting distracted.
After trying the Pomodoro Technique and various productivity apps without success, I found that embodied cognition made a significant difference. By using walking meetings and standing desks, I stay active and my attention span increases. Since incorporating embodied cognition into my routine, I review sales numbers while pacing around my office or walking outside, which enhances my attention span and clarity of thought.
This allows me to thoroughly analyze Fortador’s sales reports and participate effectively in strategic discussions, leading to more informed decision-making.
DISCOVER DATA-DRIVEN INSIGHTS
The “Quantified Self” trend—I am using an Apple Watch for this purpose. I collect data on my sleep patterns, physical activity, and work habits. I monitor this data using Sleep Cycle, Human, and Google Fit. These apps help me identify patterns affecting my focus. For example, I noticed a pattern where my attention dipped after lunch, especially if I had less than seven hours of sleep the night before.
By adjusting my sleep schedule to ensure a minimum of 7.5 hours and incorporating a short walk post-lunch, my productivity spiked by 30%. This method has really helped me fine-tune my focus and boost my work efficiency, all thanks to the insights from the data. All you need is to be patient and attentive to the patterns of your sleep and activity and search for the correlation with your attention span.
GET INTO CREATIVE HOBBIES
One of the newest productivity trends that promises to optimize and improve your attention span involves getting into creative, engaging hobbies such as chess to train your focus and attention span while reducing the impact of negative, attention-draining everyday activities.
For example, some people decide to introduce a challenging, creatively demanding hobby to replace their TV show consumption sessions and feel much sharper and more focused going into their work week.
TAKE A TECH BREAK
Consider adopting a “tech break.” This emerging productivity trend is gaining popularity for its ability to increase attention spans. Instead of long focus sessions, short, frequent breaks that include tech use are proving to be effective. Research suggests that these breaks can improve cognitive function and prevent burnout.
For instance, rather than working for extended periods without pause, try taking a five-minute tech break every hour to watch a funny video or play a quick game. There’s evidence to support this approach: A company that implemented tech breaks saw a 30% increase in employee productivity. It’s worth giving it a shot to see if it has the same positive impact for you.
INCORPORATE NATURE-INSPIRED DESIGN
One “new” productivity trend is integrating natural elements into the work environment, whether that’s in your home office or company workplace. When your workspace is designed with greenery, natural light, and outdoor workspaces, it can help enhance well-being and attention. Exposure to nature has been linked to improved cognitive function and attention restoration.
CAPITALIZE ON THE REMOTE WORK EVOLUTION
Since the pandemic hit and workers had no choice but to start doing their work remotely, companies have found out how beneficial this setup can be for them and for their workers.
Naturally, it wasn’t a perfect model, but since 2020, many companies have worked at it and managed to find a suitable balance between remote and in-office working that helps boost their employees’ productivity. Flexible and hybrid work options make employees feel like they are part of the team while giving them the option to work in comfort and have peace of mind. This takes a lot of stress off their shoulders and allows them to give enough of their focus to work.
There were concerns about distractions and employees falling into a slump when working remotely, but with the right tools and by helping them prioritize, this has been an efficient way to work for a lot of companies.
LISTEN TO SCIENTIFIC MUSIC
Listening to music as you work is nothing new, but with so many people working remotely and AI technology improving, there are all sorts of services popping up that feed you music that’s scientifically designed and proven to increase your attention span. Neuroscientists use the information in front of them to collaborate with producers and create tracks specifically meant to keep you focused, creative, and tuned in—literally and figuratively.
There’s a lot of science to back up why the right sound works, as it stimulates our locus coeruleus and produces noradrenaline, a brain stimulant. Users can increase their productivity by 200% to 400%. Music is incredibly effective not only at home offices where distractions happen easily but also in busy offices and noisy work environments.
INCLUDE PUZZLES AS A FOCUS-TRAINING GYM
Mind puzzles might seem a little weird or unexpected, but they work. Before diving into tasks for the day in the morning and resuming work after my lunch break, I spend a few minutes on a mind puzzle.
These puzzles help me refocus and maintain a steady level of concentration, which is important in my work. I’ve also noticed puzzles help me approach my work with an analytical mindset, which is helpful, especially when solving complex marketing issues. Puzzles are like a mental gym because the more I do them, the better my mind performs. You can add puzzles to your work breaks for an improved attention span.
MIX EXERCISE WITH WORK
As a recruiter specializing in executive placements, I’m privy to a lot of interesting productivity trends. That sector, in particular, is always looking for ways to fit 12 hours into a standard day, and pressures have only increased alongside a tighter economy.
One technique I’ve recently adopted myself is something called “sport work.” It’s exactly what it sounds like: melding exercise with one’s career wherever possible. This might be as simple as a desk treadmill or meeting a client on the tennis court—but adherents say it’s more valuable than simply killing two birds with one stone: Moving while you work can actually boost your natural willpower and motivation.
They’re not exaggerating. Studies have shown that getting your blood pumping during your workday can increase your output by as much as 50%, and that doesn’t include harder-to-measure gains like creativity.
Personally, I think there is something to it. Ideas often come to me when I’m working out, and busying my body lessens the chances of me getting distracted or losing focus.
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