Mind Matters: 5 ways to stay focused at work

June 2nd 2015 / Katie Robertson Google+ Katie Robertson

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When the sun is shining and the beer gardens are beckoning follow these top tips from Terrence the Teacher to keep your focus firmly on the task at hand

Whether it’s the summer sun outside or the constant buzzing of Whatsapp on your phone, we all have daily distractions that make it hard to keep our minds firmly focused on our work duties. Indeed, no matter how hard we wish we could simply throw caution to the wind and spend the rest of our days sunbathing and drinking - we can’t (sorry). What we can do though, is to try and make the way we do work a little more efficient (and less painstakingly slow).

So, to help us along this path of productiveness we reached out to to Clinical Hypnotherapist Terrence The Teacher, whose motivational mantras have helped everyone from top designer Christian Louboutin to leading plastic surgeons conquer matters of the mind.

“Work has to be done, no matter if it is the most gorgeous summer day outside. You can't cut out the distractions from the world around you so the onus is on the person to find techniques to keep focused on the task at hand - here are my five top tips.”

1) Start right - end bright

“If you can start your working day on a positive note, it will really help you to stay focused for the rest of it. Choose the tasks that inspire you, stimulate your mind and ones that you enjoy to do first. The mind will soon get involved in the process, which will make outside/other distractions less desirable.”

2) Create comfort

“Many people find working physically strenuous, even when done seated. By creating a comfortable working area or space it helps to improve focus and can also make a person less open to distractions. Set up your work station or desk in a manner that places the least stress on the body. We as humans naturally love comfort, which means a perfect setup in the office could keep us more happy to spend more time working.”

MORE GLOSS: Perfectly Productive: 5 tips for getting the most out of your day

3) Work in stages or blocks

“As we work it’s natural that our alertness drops off - and this is when a sunny summer's day can become very distracting. Research has shown that the average time a person can focus is between 45 - 60 minutes. Take real breaks after each stage or block. It will help the brain to reset and allow you to focus again. Try anything in your break from walking to re-hydrating or even having a snack.”

4) Reward yourself with distractions

“Be intelligent by making distractions work for you and use what would usually distract you as a reward. If it’s a sunny day take your lunch break outside - the fresh air will clear your mind. If Facebook or social media is your distraction, book it in for your well deserved breaks. Knowing you have set time to go online will keep you from feeling distracted. You might even have time to read a great feature on Get The Gloss!”

5) Mindfulness and meditation

“Both mindfulness and meditation have been proven to help the mind to focus and be present. Mindfulness has exercises that can even be done at the desk when needed. As you find your mind wandering to outside distractions, a quick five minute exercise can bring you back into the moment, help you relax and regain focus again. Below is an example of an exercise called ‘The Body Scan’:

“Sit back comfortably in your chair and close your eyes. Focus your mind on your feet and notice how they feel. Then, move up your body spending some time on different areas - from the calves, knees, thighs, hips, abdomen and moving around to the lower back, up the spine and noticing your shoulders - if they carry tension let them relax and flow down the arms and to the hands. Then go up the neck, onto the head and then to the face area. Just notice how the body feels. Make sure as you move through the different areas that you give yourself a moment to create more comfort. The exercise is simple but can really help to shift the mindset by helping the person to feel less distracted and ready to focus again.”

Follow us on @getthegloss and Katie @KatieRob20

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