We cannot be productive all the time, and it’s completely normal to experience a lack of focus during some periods of the day or week. However, if this happens all the time, and you need to be at your most productive at a given time – e.g. during work hours – there are certainly steps you can take to improve your ability to concentrate. If you often find yourself sitting in your office and gazing off into the distance, you need to go through these 10 points and work on boosting your focus.
1. Get your endorphins pumping
If you’re unsatisfied and in a generally bad mood, you are far more likely to stress out over the little things. Facing the challenges at work and the constant stress we experience can be best handled if your mind and body are in a good shape. The key to doing this is by simply giving your body a nice challenging workout. So, before you go to work do some quick body-weight exercises, go jogging or even ride a bike around your neighborhood in order to get those endorphins pumping. Exercising will keep you healthy, and you won’t suffer from headaches and backaches anymore, which will make you virtually stress resistant.
2. Dress more comfortably
The temperature in the office is a sore spot for many, particularly during winter months where you throw on several layers to keep yourself warm and end up sweating and fidgeting uncomfortably in an overheated office. You might also find yourself in an icy cold office wearing nothing but a light shirt.
The office temperature usually depends on that one person who complains the most, and the rest freeze or sweat uncontrollably. You might think those temperature changes don’t affect your productivity that much, but such constant annoyances really kill your concentration.
There is only one solution that we were all taught since we were children, but somehow neglected it. Being rebellious obviously doesn’t always pay off, so just wear layered clothes and you’ll be able to adapt to any situation. You can certainly look fabulous and chic by layering different clothes. There are tons of great fashion tricks for putting together a lovely layered outfit for the colder months, so you don’t have worry too much about it.
Dress for success by layering your clothes, and you won’t sweat or freeze in your office ever again, which will certainly make you more productive.
3. Just stand up and walk around
We tend to just sit all day at the office, staring at a screen. Many people don’t even stand up till 5 pm. You might think they’re more productive, as you don’t hear them at all and they look really busy, but if you are one of these people, you know that this assumption is completely wrong. You simply cannot maintain a high level of productivity for long hours with no breaks, and people like programmers know what it feels like to drop into that zombie-like state, where you’re not completely focused, but can keep on doing simple repetitive tasks at a certain pace.
If you feel that your focus is not so sharp, and your breaks are usually winding up on Facebook or YouTube, know that this is not really a winning strategy.
After one or two hours of working, stand up to make some coffee, talk to your coworkers and just walk around the office. This will allow you to regain your focus and boost your productivity. When you start talking about irrelevant topics and you stretch your legs, you will get back to your desk insanely focused and ready to finish your tasks.
4. Shush your inner voice
Working on any demanding project is stressful, as you can begin to doubt your ability to meet deadlines or meet all the demands. However, being in constant fear and stressing about it will only make you extremely unproductive. We all have that inner critical voice that tells us we will fail and that our strategies are ridiculous. If you can learn to silence that negative side of yours, and think positively or realistically for a change, you’ll perform the task more easily and with supreme confidence. Being productive is not only about turning off your notifications or eating healthier, but also about clearing your head and knowing your goals.
If your thoughts are negative and chaotic, you cannot expect to be productive and capable of doing anything effective.
5. Set a timer
Whenever you want to take a break, or even log in to your social networks, you need to always set a timer, and limit your time. When scrolling your News Feed, or taking a break, we can accidently waste too much time on trivial things. It is good for our productivity levels to take a break and do something fun, but if you spend too much on social networks or listening to your favorite music, you can get tired and lose your focus.
Set a timer, and take 10 minutes to do something fun, and then get back to work. You will definitely become hyper-focused, as you will be happy and eager to work again.
6. Have a cup of green tea
Stopping everything you do to take a 2 minute break and drink a cup of green tea might sound a bit counterproductive at first, but those two minutes will help you get back on track and boost your productivity by clearing your mind for a moment. In fact, you might want to stop drinking coffee and replace it with tea. If you don’t believe that drinking coffee will change something, then try it for a month and see how you feel.
Green tea contains theanine, which helps you sharpen your focus and boost concentration. Theanine, which as an amino acid promotes relaxation, but combined with caffeine, it makes you more productive.
7. Don’t multitask
Nowadays, multitasking is a special skill that makes you seem like a successful and hardworking employee. But, is it really so? If you are doing many things at once, there is a huge possibility that something will be neglected. Also, can you put enough effort into every task you are doing simultaneously? Of course not. It is much better to focus on one thing, and then the other.
However, in order to be able to finish everything on time without multitasking, you need to know which task requires more effort and more of your time, so you can prioritize correctly.
8. Don’t make every task your priority
Every project and task you are doing is important, but there are certainly smaller and not so important tasks that don’t require too much time and effort, but you still end up spending too much time on them. You need to know your priorities if you want to finish your job on time and stay productive throughout the day.
Organize your tasks in a manner that won’t exhaust you and make unproductive. Put the smaller tasks in between, and don’t waste too much time on them. When you sort out the tasks according to their importance, priority and difficulty, you will be then capable of accomplishing everything, while staying productive.
9. Ask for help
If you are at work, and you simply cannot concentrate or you just find some task too difficult, ask for help. If you waste your time on trying to solve a problem, you get tired and you won’t be able to do anything else later. Therefore, ask for help, and get it done faster.
Don’t think that asking for help will make you less of an expert, but on the contrary, it will make you a professional, who knows that asking for help and coming up with solution together is much better than being stuck on one problem for quite a while.
10. Get to work earlier
If you come to work a little bit earlier, you’ll have plenty of time to get settled, shake off the morning drowsiness and start working with a fresh mind. Have a cup of coffee, rest from your ride to work and prepare yourself for the upcoming challenges. If you immediately sit and start working, you won’t be all that productive because you won’t have any time to prepare your mind.
These are the ten most important ways of becoming insanely productive, and most importantly, they are very simple and quick solutions. Try it out, and see if they work for you.
Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com