Has completing a task ever felt ridiculously hard? You’re not alone! Despite bringing many gifts, technology has narrowed down our attention span. According to a study by Microsoft, the average attention span has decreased from 12 to 8 seconds since 2008.

These numbers may be a little scary, but as a content writer who faces a blank page every day, I can assure you that there are tricks to staying focused. In this article, I’ve put together five tips to help you to get your work done. I recommend you to start little by little to figure out what works best for you.

1. Prioritize Your Tasks

It may sound like a cliché, but it’s really important to set your priorities every morning. Take a few minutes to create a detailed list describing exactly what you need to accomplish.

Avoid writing general tasks like “contact clients”—instead, try writing, “contact clients interested in sponsoring X event”. When you make a task clear, it becomes easier to act upon and keep track of throughout the day.

2. Turn Your Notifications Off

Messages, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter…there are so many ways to get interrupted by notifications on your phone. Turning off notifications is one of the most important things when learning how to stay focused. 

Save your breaks to check your phone and social media. After all, you don’t need to know every single thing happening in the world the second it happens, right? 

3. Email Addiction

According to a McKinsey research, the average professional spends 28% of the day reading and answering emails. It means that we check our inbox at least 15 times a day or every 37 minutes. 

Writing and reading emails are part of most people’s daily activities, however, it’s important to create a routine. Set three specific times to check your inbox during the day: morning, after lunch, and maybe one hour before you leave the office. Setting these times will help you stay focused by reducing the impulse to constantly check your email.

Refreshing your inbox constantly has a strong impact on your productivity. Every time we interrupt a task it takes around 25 minutes to get back to the job.

4. Learn How To Say No

Teamwork is one of the most important soft skills these days, but it’s fundamental to understand your limits. Learning how to say no is key to staying focused throughout your day.

Follow step one and create your priority list; it’s what allows you to analyse if it’s possible to do something extra or not. We all have a lot on our plates, so stick to your goals and learn how to say no whenever it’s necessary.

5. Find Your Own Pace

Personally, I work much better from early morning until lunchtime. In the afternoon, I’m not as fast and creative. It took me a couple of years to understand what my best hours are to do each type of task.

What about you? When do you feel like you work the best?

Do some tests to find an answer. Understanding your own pace is challenging but essential to being more productive. 

Are you ready to stay focused and get your work done? Start taking small steps and get ready to be your most productive self!