A conversation isn’t really a conversation if you can’t focus on what the rest of your team is saying. If you can’t pay attention during important meetings, you’ll likely end up missing vital information, and it’s hard to contribute while you’re flying half-blind. Keep reading for several valuable tips on how to stay focused in meetings so you can work at your best.
8 tips to stay focused in meetings
Concentration isn’t always easy to come by, especially in a busy work environment, but knowing how to get it can help you do your best. Here’s how to stay focused in meetings no matter what else is going on.
- Get enough sleep
- Exercise before the meeting
- Eat before the meeting
- Track your time spent in meetings
- Eliminate extra screens and devices
- Arrive with a positive mindset
- Contribute to the meeting
- Take notes during the meeting
1Get enough sleep
It really can’t be overstated how important proper sleep is for your day-to-day life. Drowsiness doesn’t just decrease your focus; it can hurt your performance across the board. Getting better rest could be just what you need if you’re having trouble paying attention in your meetings.
Generally, you’ll need at least seven to nine hours of sleep every night. But if you’re having trouble shutting down for the day, a few tips on getting more rest are:
- Take a warm shower before bed.
- Set your A/C or thermostat to cooler temperatures at night.
- Go to bed between 8 p.m. and midnight.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol late at night.
- Go to sleep at roughly the same time every night.
Stay focused in meetings
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2Exercise before the meeting
A little physical activity before a gathering can release dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in your brain, and that all can boost your focus. That said, you should probably avoid overly strenuous exercise before a meeting. One, that would just tire you out. And two, your team might not appreciate that post-workout B.O. in an enclosed space.
Instead, try to stick to lighter workouts. If it’s possible, walk to work instead of taking your car, or walk some laps near your office building. (Don’t go walking around the office though – you don’t need the team wondering why you’re circling around with an intense look on your face.) Anything that gets your heart and brain working a little faster can fit the bill here.
3Eat before the meeting
Going to a meeting on an empty stomach might have you thinking about your next meal rather than what your colleagues have to say. Plus, food gives your body and brain energy to face the day ahead, including meetings. Without food to use as fuel, your brain can’t work nearly as efficiently, meaning you might have trouble collecting your thoughts during an important meeting.
However, it’s not enough just to eat and drink. You have to eat the right things so your brain and body can work at their best. For the most pronounced boost, keep foods like fruit, juice, leafy greens, whole grains, and yogurt on hand. Each one is rich in nutrients that can help you get through the work day.
4Track your time spent in meetings
It can be hard to focus when you don’t know how long you’ll spend paying attention. Even the sharpest-minded people have limited attention spans, and they can feel that the most when a meeting seems like it’s dragging.
Timing the length of your meeting can help. Simply bring a timer, start it at the beginning, and stop it at the end. Do this often enough, and you’ll eventually figure out your meetings’ average runtime. That means you can more easily set your timing expectations for future meetings.
With Fellow, you can keep track of your time spent in meetings at the top of your agenda to ensure you never go overtime.
5Eliminate extra screens and devices
As technology advances and becomes more convenient, it can become more distracting too. A lot of your life can be wrapped up in your devices, so they’ll constantly compete for your attention with the ongoing meeting. But good conversations can’t happen if you’re constantly checking your phone or tablet, so turn them off or leave them at your desk during meetings.
6Arrive with a positive mindset
Nothing makes time slow to a crawl like negativity, and having too many meetings can really dampen the mood. But a negative attitude can take you out of the discussion. You’re more likely to be thinking about when the meeting will be over than the best ways to contribute.
Staying positive can be a tall order, but there are a few things you can do to help. For example, try regularly chatting with your colleagues – negativity often grows in isolation. You can also try thinking of each team meeting as a chance to learn something new about them and their responsibilities.
7Contribute to the meeting
Most of the tips above can help you stay focused in a meeting. That said, there’s more to it than that. Simply participating in the discussion is an excellent way to focus in and of itself. And even if you’re used to letting others drive the conversation, it’s never too late to start throwing your ideas into the mix.
Make sure to actively listen to your colleagues while they’re speaking and try to ask questions about anything you don’t understand. As long as you’re consistently engaged with the conversation, staying focused can be easier.
8Take notes during the meeting
Maybe you have trouble simply listening during meetings and often find yourself drifting off. If this sounds like you, picking up a notebook could be just what you need to maintain focus. That’s because taking meeting notes is basically a form of active listening – it forces you to pay attention to what’s being said. Your notes can also help you remember important details from the meeting long after it ends.
Focus is the root of success
There are plenty of things that can chip away at your concentration in a busy work environment. With a lack of nutrition, lack of sleep, electronic distractions, and more, focus can start to seem more like a luxury than a reality. And it’s true: Concentrating on a meeting can be challenging when there are so many obstacles – but it doesn’t have to be this way. And Fellow can help.
Fellow is a professional meeting tool that includes several valuable features to help you stay focused in meetings. With collaborative meeting agendas, shared notepads, and other high-level organizational tools, you can stay involved – and focused – better than ever before.