Researchers say it takes a person 15 consecutive minutes of focus to fully engage in a task. But in this age of smartphones, it’s almost impossible to resist the urge to check your notifications long enough to fully engage at work. This means our productivity is greatly compromised.
Enter Carl Newport, the author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. He describes deep work as “professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to the limit.” This, Carl says, creates new value and improves skills.
So how do we attain this magical world of ‘distraction-free concentration’?
First, avoid multitasking. Multiple studies have linked multitasking to making people less productive and effective.
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Second, to stop your phone being a distraction, turn off digital notifications. Put your smartphone on silent, and if you’re addicted to social media, use apps or tools that limit this behaviour. You can use the NewsFeed Eradicator, a Chrome extension that eliminates your Facebook feed and replaces it with an inspiring quote. There’s also StayFocusd, which allows you to block certain websites at specific times of the day.
Finally, exercise. Studies have shown that a single workout can improve your ability to focus, and this improvement can last up to two hours. The recommendation is a minimum of 30 minutes of physical exercise three to four times a week.