Focus has always been important in achieving results in your business. Being focused means deliverables being finished, or tasks and goals are done in a timely manner. We at Bottleneck Distant Assistants know that it is important to focus. So much so that our Word Of The Year in 2018 was Focus.
Yet there are things that causes our focus to waver in the office, whether it be a traditional, full remote, or a hybrid setup. There are the obvious ones like distractions and external triggers, but sometimes it can be caused by the company’s system itself.
In this part of the Bottleneck Attention Audit Report blog series, we discuss Focus. Why it is important, and how we faired in our audit that was done by MindEQuity. If you are not familiar with this blog series or the Bottleneck Attention Audit Report, you can check out our introductory post.
Why is Focus Important?
If you think about it, Focus does not get discussed a lot when it comes to business. You hear about Stress, Motivation, Leadership, and Team Culture. But not much about the role that Focus plays in your ability to be productive. We all probably know that it is important, but it is taken as something you should be doing all along.
First off, let’s define what Focus is. Simply put, Focus is the ability to pay attention to the task or action in hand. It helps you avoid distraction that could slow down your work efforts. For example, writing this blog means concentrating or articles that are related to Focus, and writing them down. Distractions would be checking your phone, or people striking a conversation with you out of nowhere.
So why is it important? Focus is important because it can be the gateway to different forms of thinking: perception, memory, reasoning, problem solving, and decision making. Without it, you won’t be as effective because you are not concentrating on the right things, so your work might come out half-assed.
It also affects your efficiency, as every time you get distracted or your mind wanders away from your work, you are wasting time.
So if you can’t focus properly, you can’t think effectively. If you can’t think effectively, you can’t produce the quality of work that is expected of you. From this perspective, it’s easy to see why focus is such an essential tool for your business to succeed.
Bottleneck’s Attention Audit Results on Focus
That said, what was Bottleneck’s results on the team’s focus?
According to MindEQuity’s audit report, our team at Bottleneck Distant Assistants scored Low to Average Strength in this scale. Which means that there is still a lot of things we can do to improve our focus at work.
Here were some of the points highlighted in the report:
Roughly half of the team believe that the default mode of the team is to always be busy and multitask at all times. While multitasking to a certain extent can’t be help, it does divide your focus on multiple things at the same time. Hence, it prevents you to pouring your attention into one task at a time.
Instead of finishing one and moving on to the next task, you’re left with a bunch of half-finished tasks at the end of the day.
Period of Focus
About 40% of the team know how many hours of undistracted, focused work time they need per week to create value, based on their role. While we still subscribe to the 8-hour workday, surveys and consensus suggests that most people are only truly productive for three hours every day.
Given that we are all working remotely, it seems easier to get distracted an lose focus from work. Though this behavior can be observed in different office setups, whether it be traditional, remote, or hybrid. However, it is still important to be aware of that period of focus and find a way to maximize or extend it.
Roughly half of the team admitted to being distracted by external triggers. Since we are working on our own offices, the allure of social media and looking into recent news can be a tempting distraction for most. Even work tools such as Instant Messaging and checking one’s email can be distracting at times.
A good way to avoid getting distracted by such things is to set aside a “break” in your schedule to check your phone and socials, so you can focus on your work without constantly wondering what’s on your newsfeed. Better yet, check them out before starting your shift, so you won’t have to do so again just a few hours or so into your work.
Also, you can set a time to check emails, whether at the start of your shift or maybe somewhere in between so you don’t have to check them all the time.
Just make sure to not do all of this in the middle of your period of productiveness, so you can have your period of focus undisrupted.
About 40% of the respondents also answered that main feelings of internal discomfort can cause the loss of focus. Some of these feelings are boredom, rumination, or feeling like we are not adequate enough to do our work.
The best practice for this is to foster a company that is open to discussions. Find ways to motivate your team, and give them a sense of belonging in a group. Reinforcing that they are the right person for their job can also bolster against these feelings of malaise, and help the team as a whole.
Improve Your Focus
The question now is, how can you ensure that you can be more focused at work, and be productive and efficient? Here are some simple ideas that you can follow:
Organize Your Thoughts
It helps to have a clear sense of what you want to do for the day. It can be as simple as writing down your tasks and doing them in order, or highlighting those that you need to prioritize. You can also choose the tasks that you can delegate or that might not be as high priority as others, so you can do them later when you have done everything else.
Have a Focused Workspace
If you are working from home, chances are that you have set up your workplace on the living room or wherever it is convenient. Consider having a work area that you can have for yourself, so you don’t get distracted by people shuffling about around you.
Also, it might be best to have a minimalist workspace around you, as objects on your desk that are not related to work can be a source of distraction as well.
Manage Your Technology
While mobile technology has come a long way in helping businesses grow, it is a simple fact that it can be a massive source of distraction during work hours. If you can’t turn off your phones due to emergencies, consider putting them on silent during work hours. Setting it on vibrate is also a no-go, since it can still be distracting once it goes off.
Along with more technology comes with the urge to multitask and do a little bit of everything all at once. As mentioned earlier, multitasking all the time will just divide your focus and might result in you not getting anything done by the end of the day. So it’s best to prioritize and focus on the most important tasks at hand before moving on to the next.
What to know if your team is focused on their tasks? Check out MindEQuity’s Attention Audit and learn more on how you can improve the focus of your team and boost your overall productivity!
We at Bottleneck Distant Assistants have taken the challenge to see how our team fares in being an Energized Team. In the next article, we will reveal our results for our Work Culture, discuss how it came to be, and how to improve or maintain it.
Are you interested in taking the Attention Audit for your team as well? You can check out MindEQuity today and see if you are up to the challenge!
Want to learn more about Bottleneck? Visit our website and find out how our team can help your business break through its bottleneck today!