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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 September 11, 2019

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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  • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
  • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
  • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
  • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

Benefits of Using a To-Do List

However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

  • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
  • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
  • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
  • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
  • You feel more organized.
  • It helps you with planning.

4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

1. Categorize

Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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2. Add Estimations

You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

3. Prioritize

To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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  • Important and urgent
  • Not urgent but important
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important or urgent

You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

4.  Review

To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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Bottom Line

So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

To your success!

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Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

Reference

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