Having a hard time staying focused at work? Do you feel like you have too few hours in a day? Try these tried and true techniques to get you focused, organized and performing your best while at work.
1. Make a list
Simplicity is key. We already occupy our memory with everything from simple tasks to meaningful conversations every day. Why not let the little things go by writing them on a sticky note or list and free up some of that memory space for meaningful conversations without the distraction of what we need to pick up at the grocery store later that evening.
2. Plan ahead
Sure, winging things can seem like a good idea when we are lying in bed, eyes half closed and about to enter dreamland. But, the reality is, the more we prepare, the less we have to think about our tasks when the time comes to actually doing them.
Even if we do succeed at winging it, do we really need to question our choices or go over everything that we did last minute after it's too late to change it anyhow? No need to add that kind of extra stress to our lives.
3. Schedule social media and emails
It’s easy to get carried away when it comes to other people’s lives. We tend to get sucked into who's dating who, the great trip a friend just went on or who happens to need some extra TLC due to a mishap or illness in their life.
The more time we spend looking at others’ lives, the less time we have for our own. This can be great at times, but not if we have a deadline approaching or too few hours in a day.
Make a habit of setting aside a certain time to check messages and social media profiles and set a clear time limit. This way, we allow ourselves freedom to dream, but also space to return to where we need to be in the present in order to complete the day’s tasks.
If you need to answer a message, make a decision to answer it at the next designated time instead of having it weigh on your mind for the rest of the day.
4. Clear the clutter
Sometimes it's nice to have a desk full of memories, photographs and keepsakes from that vacation in Tahoe. More often than not, though, these are distractions that take us away from our daily tasks.
No one wants to lose track of time while reminiscing of a ski trip they took with the family two years ago when they have a days’ worth if work to accomplish. Do yourself a favor and put those memories where they belong, in a photo album or on the wall in the living room, otherwise you may be wondering why you already have next winter’s vacation planned out instead of all of your work done at the end of the day.
5. Have a reminder to keep you on track
If you`re the type of person who is easily distracted, do yourself a favor and place a reminder on or above your desk. It can be anything from a quote that inspires you to stay focused to a picture that reminds you that you're only working this job so you can earn enough for that career change to become the singer you've always dreamed of being.
The reminder adds a glimpse of hope on those days that we simply cannot bare to work a moment longer. It’s also a beautiful way to personalize your space without causing too much distraction or clutter.
6. Take breaks
By allowing ourselves 10 minutes to relax, go over by the water cooler or catch up on the news for the day, we give our minds a much needed break. Make sure to schedule yourself at least a couple of 10-minute breaks throughout the day.
You may feel that this is counterproductive, but research shows that when we allow our minds a moment to rest, we actually become more productive in the long run. Just another great excuse to allow ourselves another great luxury throughout the day.
7. Personalize it
Whatever you do, personalize your schedule to make it your own. Decide when to take breaks, what to put on your desk, what not to put on your desk, when to answer those pesky emails and when to check your social media. Most importantly, make a list of things that you can get to later, and always plan ahead.
Only you know what you need most, and if you're having a hard time figuring out what that is, I hope that these suggestions help you to find the answer on how to improve performance at work.