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Online Resources To Help You Stay Highly Focused At Work

Online Resources To Help You Stay Highly Focused At Work

Technology provides access to just about everything we can imagine — but that instant gratification is a double-edged sword. When it comes time to buckle down and get to work, it can be difficult to stay distraction-free and keep our minds from wandering.

According to one study, our minds wander 47 percent of the time. Combine this with noise and other distractions around the office, and it should come as no surprise that the average office worker is disrupted every 11 minutes.

Luckily, there are several online resources that can help you silence the chatter, eliminate distractions, boost productivity, and stay focused at work.

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Start the Day off Right with 7-Minute Workout

Exercise is good not only for your physical health, but also for your memory and ability to focus. For many of us, hitting the gym in the morning before work isn’t possible. With the 7-Minute Workout app for iPhone and iPad, you can get your heart pumping in just a few minutes, track your activity, and set goals. The basic version of the app is free to download, but you can pay to upgrade and access various other features, including alternate workouts.

    Avoid Internet Browsing with SelfControl

    Whether it’s Facebook, a blog, or email, we all have our online Kryptonite that distracts us from getting any work done. SelfControl, a free, open-source OS X app, can fix this. With SelfControl, you can set a timer and block selected websites and mail servers, which is great for when you are on a deadline. Set a timer for four hours and you won’t be able to access your “blacklisted” sites — even if you restart your computer.

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    Focus Booster

      Master the Pomodoro Technique with Focus Booster

      The Pomodoro Technique is a time-management method that breaks down work into intervals of 25 minutes, followed by five-minute breaks. This is believed to improve concentration and mental agility. The Focus Booster app is based on this technique, helping you manage your time and dedicate specific time increments to projects. After a free 15-day trial, Focus Booster costs $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year.

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        Write Without Distractions with FocusWriter

        When you are on a deadline and falling prey to writer’s block, even the battery icon and clock on your toolbar can prevent you from focusing on the page. FocusWriter is like a full-screen Microsoft Word, eliminating all distractions. You can look at only the page on which you are working. Available for both Windows and Mac, FocusWriter is free to download.

          Relax to Ambient Sounds with Soundrown

          Silence isn’t always conducive to productivity. While breakroom chatter or a silent office may work for some, others require the fine balance between sound and noise. With Soundrown, you can choose the type of ambient sound that best helps you focus and boost your productivity. Currently, the free-to-use website offers 10 different options that range from Coffee Shop to White Noise.

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            Find Your Center with Mental Workout

            Sometimes, we need to embrace our inner hippie and meditate. Meditation can increase your ability to concentrate by helping you relax, de-stress, and clear your mind. For new practitioners, meditation can be harder than it looks. The Mental Workout app, which was designed by a meditation teacher and psychotherapist, offers an eight-week guided meditation program for beginners. It also has more advanced options for experienced practitioners. Along with inspirational talks and body scans, the app is well worth the $1.99 download fee.

              Conclusion

              Beyond using apps that help you focus, set yourself up for success by using the right tools. Make sure your computer is running efficiently and that you are regularly backing up your files. You may also consider investing in a good set of headphones when you need to drown out office noise. Lastly, don’t forget to ensure that your Internet connection is fast enough for your productivity needs. Videos that take too long to buffer and delayed website load times can quickly distract you from the task at hand.

              By staying focused at work and using apps to boost your productivity, you can get more accomplished in less time. Start by trying some of these tools at your place of employment to see which ones work best for you.

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              Last Updated on October 15, 2019

              Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

              Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

              Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

              Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

              There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

              Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

              Why we procrastinate after all

              We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

              Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

              Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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              To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

              If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

              So, is procrastination bad?

              Yes it is.

              Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

              Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

              Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

              It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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              The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

              Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

              For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

              A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

              Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

              Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

              How bad procrastination can be

              Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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              After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

              One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

              That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

              Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

              In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

              You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

              More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article:

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              8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

              Procrastination, a technical failure

              Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

              It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

              It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

              Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

              Reference

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