This article was brought to you by Twinings Focus, a part of Twinings New Live Well range
There aren’t many Aussies who would disagree with the sentiment that 2020 took everything to do with work and turned it upside down and inside out. While some of the changes have been amazing – more flexibility to work from home, a much more realistic attitude to people taking sick days, more focus on mental health and support – it’s undeniable that big shifts can be a blow to your concentration.
Even here in the very zen Body & Soul office, many are still trying to find equilibrium and access our pre-pandemic levels of deep focus. Here we look at the legitimately helpful things you can do to be happier at work, and give your focus reserves a bit of a boost.
Respect your flow
Okay that sounds a little flakey but “flow” is actually a recognised state of mind where we feel in total pursuit of what we’re doing, are executing tasks effortlessly, and achieving the peak of our performance. It was discovered by researchers at the University of Chicago, and is something you can work on to strengthen your ability to concentrate.
The best way to get in the flow state is to get more excited about the task at hand and focus all your energy on working on this single thing. Before you begin, visualise the absolute best outcome for that piece of work and all the positive knock on effects it will have; like praise from your boss, a clear work-slate or even just something you can really be proud of.
Also, pro-tip, listening to pink-noise is an excellent way to block the world out so you can zone in on a project. Pink noise, as opposed to old school white-noise, randomized static which sounds like a combination of the ocean and a TV set.
Know when to hit refresh
Whether you’re clocking hours from home or the office, pacing yourself properly helps keep you physically able to do your job well throughout the day. You’ve heard it a thousand times but we’re here to make it a thousand and one; get up, walk around, get outside if you can. This will get your blood moving, help prevent eye strain, and cognitively it helps you reset between tasks.
Anyone for a cup of tea?
Breaks are also the perfect excuse to go and make a cup of tea. Bel Charlesworth, the Senior Herbal Advisor for Twinings (could that possibly be the dreamiest job ever?) says, “Staying well-hydrated and a gentle lift of caffeine can be helpful in maintaining our focus and concentration throughout the day.”
“Twinings Live Well Focus blend, containing green tea and guarana, helps you do both. Green tea also contains calming L-theanine which can be useful in balancing out any overly- stimulating effects of caffeine. We’ve also added lovely lemon verbena and refreshing peppermint which help keep you uplifted and at your best.”
She knows of what she speaks, as the company’s Senior Herbal Advisor, Bel provides expert herbal knowledge and training throughout the development of Twinings products so that, “Everyone has a good knowledge of the herbs we use in our products and the benefits they can deliver.”
Team work makes the dream work
Knowing when you’re overloaded, and need a few less points on your to-do list, is probably the most important lesson you’ll learn in your working life. Waiting for your manager to notice your bulging workload or hoping a colleague will offer to lend a hand, is a fast track to feeling resentful and distracted. Be clear with your leader when you need support, explain your priorities to her in advance and outline the other tasks that could potentially be picked up by someone else.
Also, make friends. Forming friendships at work can improve your physical and mental health. By interacting and collaborating on projects, asking for opinions or help when stuck on a task and helping others when you can, you guarantee a higher quality of work and have a much better time of things while you’re at it.
Learn how to prioritise properly
Proper preparation is like a gift you give your future self. Declutter your workspace, get a to-do like app like Asana or OmniFocus and learn to identify what’s urgent vs what’s important.
See if you have any tasks that need immediate attention. This is work that, if not completed by the end of the day or in the next several hours, will have serious negative consequences; things like missed client deadlines, missed publication or release deadlines, etc.
High-priority dependencies help you prioritise what you need to do first, and help you order everything else from there out. The double rainbow here is that if you do this enough, this discipline will spill over into your personal life as well.
Make your work work for you
Obviously a good night’s sleep, going easy on the grown-up drinks, exercise and eating as many green things as possible will put you in the best place to focus and make you feel good.
But on a purely practical note, you should also make sure that you’re using all of your company benefits, too. One habit to consider is routinely going over your benefits and seeing what’s working for your lifestyle and what needs to be adjusted. Most big companies offer access to things like discounts on gym memberships and private health insurance and other financial perks.
Make sure you’re taking advantage of everything that would benefit you in a positive way, especially any mental health and happiness programs.
This article was brought to you by Twinings New Focus herbal tea. A perfect combination of peppermint, green tea and guarana to brighten your day. Take a moment and find your focus throughout the day with this smooth and refreshing blend.