BLUF

Staying focussed is increasingly difficult in our multi-distraction technology-driven world; therefore, to improve our ability to focus, we should only be working four to five hours with breaks.

Summary

Four or five hours seems the optimum time we can focus on our work. These figures come from a long term study into music training. The author worked in four or five 55-minute segments throughout the day, taking  breaks during this period. Working less, not more, seemed to enhance her productivity. The article makes the following points:
  • Work in segments to give your brain a rest. 
  • Schedule breaks.
  • Avoid work during your downtime.
  • Work out your most creative time.
  • Add more rest when you overwork.
  • Keep an eye on your productivity.
  • Watch out for interruptions.
  • Understand that the stress of COVID-19 affects our focus.
  • Avoid sleep procrastination (staying up later after a busy day for ‘me’ time) as sleep deprivation has profound health implications.
  • Note that cognitive overload and energy use affect focus.
Accept that less focus means less motivation, more mistakes and easier distractions.