Good concentration is central to completing tasks satisfactorily and on time. But, with all the distractions we face in the workplace, staying focused can be a problem. How can we give our full attention to the job in hand when the telephone is ringing, email alerts are coming in, colleagues need our help and friends and family are appearing on our social networking sites? If you are having difficulty concentrating at work, you might like to consider this advice.

A regulated lifestyle will help you performance no end. Certainly you can let yourself go at the weekend but if you have to work the next day, it is vital that you get enough sleep. Also, your body loves a regular bed and waking times and you will feel the fresher for following such a routine. There will be no more nodding off at your desk or slipping into a daydream during those dull meetings. You will feel better and your work will show the benefits.

Surprisingly what you eat also has a significant affect on your ability to concentrate. Sugar might give you energy and caffeine might help you keep your eyes open, but both can affect your mood during the day. It is far better that you take in proteins that keep away that hungry feeling and yet leave you full of energy. And, if you do need a snack, those with a low GI index (i.e. those with carbohydrates that are broken down into glucose and absorbed slowly) like nuts and apples are great for sustaining you without affecting your mood and hence concentration.

Exercise is another aid to concentration. If you are physically fit, your body will feel less tired. Also, that afternoon sluggishness can be beaten by taking a run or walk at lunchtime. Just a few minutes exercise in the middle of the day can make all the difference and leave ready to handle the jobs ahead. But, no matter how energetic you feel, try to avoid taking on too many separate tasks at one time.

If you can you should focus on one task until it is finished or you have reached a stage where you need a break – trying to deal with more than one task at given time will probably result in none being completed to the best of your ability.

You can also help yourself by reducing the distractions around you. Turn of those email alerts and forget about the social networking sites and you will be able to focus much better. And, don’t worry if you find your concentration beginning to wander if you’ve been hard at it for over half an hour. Studies indicate that around 45 minutes is the longest that most people can maintain concentration.

You can try to improve your concentration by practising meditative techniques like yoga, but if that is not your cup of tea, then all you have to remember is: eat properly; exercise; regulate your lifestyle; don’t take on too much; and, disable those email alerts and social networking sites.