How To Increase Focus and Productivity

This post is primarily meant for all you neurotypicals out there. Most of us Aspies don’t have much of a problem with focus. In fact, we have it in spades, and simply can’t understand why you struggle with keeping focused.

I recently read an article in the New York Times (click here if you want to see it) on how to maintain focus in your work life. From the article it kind of sounds like the problem is mainly about being distracted by other things. Most of those things come from the Internet. Being an IT engineer that problem seems easily fixable, but for the sake of this post I will put my solution on the shelf and see what the author has in mind.

Here is a little from the author about focus:

Paying attention isn’t so much an action as a way of processing information… When we’re focused, our brains’ “task-related networks” filter out distractions, from the smell of fish in the office microwave to a co-worker’s incessant pen tapping.

Another issue the author stressed is multitasking:

Multitasking — or toggling between spreadsheets and email — can increase mistakes, reduce creativity and cause fatigue… If your job requires you to multitask, chances are you’ll need to take a break more often.

Here are some break solutions suggested:

  • Work for 25 minutes and then taking a 5-minute break.
  • Take a 20-minute walk in nature between tasks to be more creative.
  • Put your cell phone away.
  • Stay away from Twitter as it is mind draining.
  • Take a nap, or have a snack.

Since I have never had much of a problem with focusing, all these things seem kinda comical to me. About the only time I ever had difficulty focusing is when what I am asked to do is a boring and unnecessary task. When that happened I often went to my boss to suggest another approach to the topic at hand. You would be surprised how many times he agreed. 🥸 (I guess my Aspie traits played a part in that too.)

One thing that wasn’t directly mentioned in this report was cubicles, but I heard that complaint several times when I was in the corporate world. Personally, cubicles were one of my favorite office configurations. Everything was in close reach when I needed it. Being deaf the background noise was never a problem.

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