Staying focused at work can be difficult. Believe it or not, we all have busy lives and it seems there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. The trick is to keep your mind from wandering and staying focused on the task at hand.
#1 – Staying Focused Using Time Increments
Nothing is worse than looking at the clock and thinking, ugh it’s only ten o’clock. Or worse yet, another hour until I get to go home. This is how to fight time with time. Break your day into chunks. Set a timer for 15 min, 30 min. or one hour. At each interval take a minute or two for yourself, get up, stretch and refill your coffee. Do whatever needs to be done to feel refreshed. Once you physically and mentally check back into your desk and set your timer, it’s time to work. You will be amazed how fast your work day will go after you have done this for a week.
#2 – Stop Multitasking
This one piggybacks on time increments. I once listened to a podcast about how we cannot work to our full potential while multitasking. Many employers think that multitasking is a great asset for an employee and many try to perfect this skill. The reality is when multi-tasking, you’re never fully committed to one thing and you can’t do anything well. The biggest distraction and daily multitasking skill we fall for is our email.
You may be finishing up a huge presentation for work and across the right-hand side of your screen pops up your email. And you casually glance at it and ignore it but mentally make a note to take care of that item later. That can happen maybe ten times an hour, which is a time you are not focusing on what needs to be completed because you are worried about answering that email. When you are taking a break during the suggested time increments above, use that break to look at your email. You may be pleasantly surprised that when keeping your email closed, the world does not end and it can remain closed for another ten minutes.
#3 – Eat Lunch At Lunchtime
When I was in grad school I had a forty hour a week internship as a human resource assistant. It was great because I was responsible for reading resumes, interviewing and recommending potential undergraduate students for the upcoming position. It was hands-on and real work. I was even lucky enough to weed out resumes for potential employees by seeing if they were qualified for the position. When I was given this task, I would work through lunch. I wanted to make sure I had all of my work complete and correct.
After the second day of working through my lunch, my boss told me to stop. He explained that it was not healthy to work through lunch and that everyone needs a break from work and time to themselves. So every day I would eat lunch in his office and we would watch the news. It was only a half hour but it really made the second half of my day go faster. It helped me focus on my task and it was also a great de-stressor. So remember, no matter how busy you are and how much work is piled up, you should always take your lunch and leave your work behind.
Unfortunately, there is no magic wand for staying focused at work. No guarantee that you won’t be distracted, but hopefully, using these tricks will limit those days to few and far between.
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