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8 Ways To Maintain Your Focus While Working

8 Ways To Maintain Your Focus While Working

Productivity and focus are two different things, although they are certainly connected in some regards. There are several important factors when it comes to being productive, and focus is one of them. It can be tough to find focus when you are dealing with constant forms of distraction — both internal and external. However, having a point of concentration does not necessarily mean you are productive.

Productivity is a big picture thing. To be able grasp the whole concept, you must keep your eye on the details. Focus is one of the major things that affects the quality and effectiveness of work. It’s the thing that keeps you from becoming overwhelmed by every specific of the task at hand. Here are some suggestions to help you achieve optimal productivity and focus:

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1. Have a good night’s sleep

Most people who work, if not all, have experienced the pain of early-morning hours with very little rest. This can make performing well a tough thing to do as your energy is easily drained. It is essential to monitor your sleeping routine. By sticking to a proper sleeping schedule you will reduce stress, improve your memory, and aid your productivity.

2. Eat right, stay healthy

Admit it, you just can’t give your full attention at work when your body feels off. This is especially true when you are hungry. The tendency is that you will look for something that keeps your stomach full and satisfied. Another case is when you have to continue working when you are feeling ill. Start planning your meals everyday and make use of multivitamins to maintain a good health and avoid these common problems.

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3. Prioritize your tasks

You can’t always focus on what’s important because you might not be entirely sure of what the priority is. So, it’s best to prioritize tasks based on your target. Perhaps your target for the week is to create a report regarding a recommendation at work. First, create a checklist of what needs to be done, then classify and arrange tasks according to level of priority. There are several techniques you can use when prioritizing tasks. If you feel comfortable working with checklists, this example may work well for you.

4. Establish a deadline

The problem some people have is that they are living entirely in the now. While this is important at times, it can mean that your focus on the future can suffer. Time is one of our most precious resources, and we all know that it can feel scarce. This is why we have to take care of it by spending it wisely and appropriately. Let’s say you are asked to accomplish a task by next week. Don’t wait until the last minute. Set your sights on achieving it early— not just on time. Setting your own deadlines will heighten your productivity and lower your stress.

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5. Take short breaks

If you get stuck on something, try taking a short break to refocus. This might be a 30-minute nap, organizing documents, cleaning your desk, or taking a moment to stretch. Long days at work can be exhausting. Perhaps all you need to do is to give yourself a chance to turn down the pressure so you can get back on track.

6. Avoid distractions

Sometimes, it can feel as though distractions are waiting behind every corner. Gossiping is a common scenario in the office. Who can say no to a chance to escape work for a few moments and engage in some office gossip? It’s important to remind yourself that there’s a time and a place for that. Other workplace distractions are phone calls, social media, and noise. Take measures to remove the distractions that you can, and try to build habits that allow you to focus on the task at hand.

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7. Exercise regularly

Getting active can benefit not only the body but also the mind. It improves your mood and boosts your energy. As we all know, working people receive a lot of pressure from work. Creating your own exercise routine can be very important when it comes to stress reduction.

8. Create lists

Lists are powerful things. However, they can become overwhelming when not properly organized and prioritized. List categories usually include tasks, events, and notes to support your goals on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Make multiple lists that can be organized into different categories. This can help you become more effective when it comes to maintaining concentration.

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

If you spend any time at all researching life hacks, you’ve probably heard of the famous Pomodoro Technique.

Created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is one of the more popular time management life hacks used today. But this method isn’t for everyone, and for every person who is a passionate adherent of the system, there is another person who is critical of the results.

Is the Pomodoro Technique right for you? It’s a matter of personal preference. But if you are curious about the benefits of using the technique, this article will break down the basic information you will need to decide if this technique is worth trying out.

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management philosophy that aims to provide the user with maximum focus and creative freshness, thereby allowing them to complete projects faster with less mental fatigue.

The process is simple:

For every project throughout the day, you budget your time into short increments and take breaks periodically.

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You work for 25 minutes, then take break for five minutes.

Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, named after the Italian word for tomato. Francesco Cirillo used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato as his personal timer, and thus the method’s name.

After four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time) you then take a 15-20 minute break.

Every time you finish a pomodoro, you mark your progress with an “X”, and note the number of times you had the impulse to procrastinate or switch gears to work on another task for each 25-minute chunk of time.

How the Pomodoro Technique boosts your productivity

Frequent breaks keep your mind fresh and focused. According to the official Pomodoro website, the system is easy to use and you will see results very quickly:

“You will probably begin to notice a difference in your work or study process within a day or two. True mastery of the technique takes from seven to twenty days of constant use.”

If you have a large and varied to-do list, using the Pomodoro Technique can help you crank through projects faster by forcing you to adhere to strict timing.

Watching the timer wind down can spur you to wrap up your current task more quickly, and spreading a task over two or three pomodoros can keep you from getting frustrated.

The constant timing of your activities makes you more accountable for your tasks and minimizes the time you spend procrastinating.

You’ll grow to “respect the tomato”, and that can help you to better handle your workload.

Successful people who love it

Steven Sande of The Unofficial Apple Weblog is a fan of the system, and has compiled a great list of Apple-compatible Pomodoro tools.

Before he started using the technique, he said,

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“Sometimes I couldn’t figure out how to organize a single day in my calendar, simply because I would jump around to all sorts of projects and never get even one of them accomplished.”

Another proponent of the Pomodoro Technique is Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal. Shellenbarger tried out this system along with several other similar methods for time management, and said,

“It eased my anxiety over the passing of time and also made me more efficient; refreshed by breaks, for example, I halved the total time required to fact-check a column.”

Any cons for the Pomodoro Technique?

Despite the number of Pomodoro-heads out there, the system isn’t without its critics. Colin T. Miller, a Yahoo! employee and blogger, tried using the Pomodoro Technique and had some issues:[1]

“Pomodoros are an all or nothing affair. Either you work for 25 minutes straight to mark your X or you don’t complete a pomodoro. Since marking that X is the measurable sign of progress, you start to shy away from engaging in an activity if it won’t result in an X. For instance…meetings get in the way of pomodoros. Say I have a meeting set for 4:30pm. It is currently 4:10pm, meaning I only have 20 minutes between now and the meeting…In these instances I tend to not start a pomodoro because I won’t have enough time to complete it anyway.”

Another critic is Mario Fusco, who argues that the Pomodoro Technique is…well…sort of ridiculous:[2]

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“Aren’t we really able to keep ourselves concentrated without a timer ticketing on our desk?… Have you ever seen a civil engineer using a timer to keep his concentration while working on his projects?… I think that, like any other serious professional, I can stay concentrated on what I am doing for hours… Bring back your timer to your kitchen and start working in a more professional and effective way.”

Conclusion

One of the best things about the Pomodoro Technique is that it’s free. Yeah, you can fork over some bills to get a tomato-shaped timer if you want… or you can use any timer program on your computer or phone. So even if you try it and hate it, you haven’t lost any cash.

The process isn’t ideal for every person, or in any line of work. But if you need a systematic way to tackle your daily to-do list, the Pomodoro Technique may fit your needs.

If you want to learn more about the Pomodoro Technique, check out this article: How to Make the Pomodoro Technique More Productive

Reference

[1] Aspirations of a Software Developer: A Month of the Pomodoro Technique
[2] InfoQ: A Critique of the Pomodoro Technique

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