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8 Ways To Maintain Your Focus While Working

8 Ways To Maintain Your Focus While Working
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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 July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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