With the holidays quickly approaching and our newsfeeds inundated with economic strife and workforce reductions, staying focused can seem impossible. With our feeds and brains constantly distracted, maintaining clarity and calm can be an uphill battle. While taking time to focus is hard, starting small is a great way to regain clarity. This clarity allows you to present the best version of yourself, whether it’s tackling an upcoming phone screen, heading into a big meeting, or picking up your kids after a stressful day.
Taking as little as 5 minutes can help you reduce stress and refocus on the task at hand. Here are some simple, approachable methods to help you stop the noise.
Taking a break from our phone and media is a great way to bring back clarity in just a few minutes. Check out these quick, mindful steps to refocus and energize towards the positive:
- List of 5: Jot down five things you find yourself grateful for…not just work related but outside work. Some days that might be “I’m breathing…” and that’s OK—we’re not going for grandiose but instead celebrating something we might be taking advantage of in this present moment.
- Doodle: Keeping a blank sheet of paper, notebook, or even a stack of sticky notes next to you is a great way to free your mind for a few minutes and regain focus. It’s an easy habit to open up a parallel window and start scrolling …resist the urge and see how many circles it takes to fill up a Post-it Note.
- Pomodoro: Short stints can be easier than settling in for the long haul—The Pomodoro Technique offers an effective way to use your kitchen timer to help you zero in on a work task at hand in 25-minute sprints—knowing there’s a moment ‘round the corner to get up, stretch, and realign can be solid motivation to get through a list of tasks.
- Get Physical. Healthy outlets don’t have to include long workouts. Taking a quick walk around the block or down the elevator to get some fresh air can be a healthy opportunity to reframe and refocus.
Sure, our phones offer plenty of distraction, but they can also help us focus, too.
- 5 Minute Meditations: Even five minutes out of your day to breathe and unplug can be very beneficial to your ability to refocus on your work at hand. YouTube offers plenty of options but here’s a handy link to get you started.
- Spotify: Handy playlist aggregators are great ways to stay focused. My short-list of favorites on my Spotify Winter 2022 playlist are helping me sit still long enough to write this post, for example. It also helps to use corded headphones when using this method; it’s far easier to get up and roam around when I’m blue-toothing rather than hard-wired. (Plus, the music quality is so much better, just sayin’).
- Time Restrictors: I’m totally guilty of setting my phone into AirPlane Mode for all the best focused intentions—only to manually open up Instagram five minutes later. Here are some apps that help block distractions:
- Freedom.to is an app that completely shuts down (on your schedule) access to the sites that are your biggest guilty time-sucks. The monthly cost is minimal and with six free sessions, it’s enough to see if this app could work for you.
- If picking up your phone is your jones, try Forest—a delightful app that fosters forestry in lieu of diversion. When you’re in need of focus time, a tree starts to grow and it only survives if you pass the 25-minute mark (harkening back to the old-fashioned Pomodoro Technique). Forest is a mix of serene UI with stark warnings “…this will kill your cute, little tree…” but this dire content can be just the right dose of medicine to keep you focused on the task at hand. Forest is both phone and browser compatible, free for Chrome and Android and pretty inexpensive at $1.99 for Android Pro and iPhone.
Give Yourself a Break
Above all else, it’s most important to give yourself a break. We are simply flooded with negative, urgent click-bait in every corner of our worlds. As a recruiter entrenched both in enterprise and start-up worlds, my feed is chock full of industry colleagues in the talent acquisition and recruiting space falling victim to the layoff landscape. It’s easy to fall into the empathy ocean, wondering how to help, wondering how this will affect me and my world—and as I talk with hiring managers, recruiters, and talent across diverse job and hiring sectors throughout each week, I realize that we’re all grappling with security and how to jockey ourselves to ride this wave. It’s no wonder focusing or feeling accomplished at work is harder than normal.
Taking a moment to breathe and remember that we’re all in this together is a good start. I’m more grateful than ever for my teammates at Elevation Talent Group and the work we’re doing to be here for our growing talent community. Please join our network and know we’re here to support you!