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15 Quick Ways To Focus on Work Easily

15 Quick Ways To Focus on Work Easily
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You’re bent on finishing the work at hand, and suddenly something comes up. You don’t give thought to how pressing any distraction is — you just give it attention. Five minutes, ten minutes., and even an hour sometimes… When you get back to work — boom — you’ve no idea where you left off or why you couldn’t get your mind and heart into it…

Ring a bell to you? You’re not alone.

When you can’t stay focused at work and are become less productive, your valuable time and effort is gone forever. And there goes your momentum and peak of creativity.

Because there’s no chance of shutting out the world while you’re busy, the decision to stay focused at work is in your hands. It’s about finding the right techniques, knowing your priorities, and sticking to them.

Stuck for ideas? Well, here are 15 ways to stay focused at work:

1. Always Find the Fun in What You Do

Any meaningful task or routine takes a large part of one’s focus. Before starting anything, ask yourself why you should do it. With your answer, there will be that output you so desire — and so you value the task.

Then, find ways for the task to become fun, like allowing your creativity and imagination to play in the process. Don’t stick within borders of “approved” output; have your options opened for new, fun ideas.

When you make something you can call your own, you’re more likely to stay focused at work.

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2. Choose a Great Chair-And-Table Combo

Many people find working physically strenuous even if it’s done seated most of the time.

Don’t lose precious time and be distracted with discomfort. Get a really good chair with great back support; make sure your desk or worktable is well-structured as well. That way you can work for many hours and not find your body and eyes getting strained.

3. Get Your Work Station Organized

Too much stuff within arms’ reach or atop your desk can prove to be really distracting. To stay focused at work, only have the things you need neatly piled on your desk — put the rest away properly, like in a desk drawer or shelves. Have an area for food and drinks, your bag or purse, and other personal items. But have them within reach so you can just grab a drink without losing focus on what you’re doing.

Take a look at these 15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done for inspiration.

4. Make Your Computer Distraction-Free

This is very important for people who always work on their computers. Put in just one folder all files related to each project or task. Then ensure your computer is always virus-free to saved you the hassle of checks and repairs. Instances such as these cause stress and will wane your interest to finish the tasks.

5. Have Enough Water Nearby

Drinking water isn’t only healthy, it refreshes you as well. Once you feel the first sign of fatigue or hunger, a glass of water can push them away. Then you can finish what you’re doing and rest at a later time.

Besides, not all stomach rumblings are signs of hunger, and drinking a glass of water usually deals with it.

Just make sure you have water within arms’ reach. That way you stay focused at work instead of walking to the water station — and becoming prey to distractions!

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6. Bring in the Healthy Snacks

Like having water close by, the food that could settle a grumbling stomach must always be at hand. For the same reason of having 90% of your attention at work, eating within your workspace area will not expose you to unrelated activities.

Also make sure your snacks within arms reach are healthy so you can stay energetic: 25 Healthy Snacks for Work: Decrease Hunger and Increase Productivity 

7. Make a Daily “To-Do” List and Keep It Nearby

It’s always helpful when you have your list of tasks beside your computer, at any conspicuous place in the work area, or in an accessible app. Here you can learn The Right Way to Make a To Do List and Get Things Done.

Cross out the “done” tasks when you’ve completed them, and you will have a sense of accomplishment and feel satisfied.

8. Prioritize Tasks

The first hour at work is where most people are productive. This is because all energies are yet to be spent. So To Be More Productive, Never Do This To Start Your Morning.

Put all the taxing, difficult and challenging tasks on your agenda during the first hour. Follow these with the less pressing work, and then end with those routine tasks that you find boring.

Such methods makes you stay focused at work, without spending precious time on doing tasks you don’t like. Do this and you won’t be stressed with important projects at the end of the workday.

9. Let Others Know of Your Strict Personal Policies

If you’re bent on making your personal working system work, let others know it. Chances are, you’d be left alone on the hours where you’re focused on the really big, important work.

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When people at work know you’re on your “free time”, they will pose questions and talk during such periods. Unless there’s a very urgent matter at hand, they’ll leave you at work. After all, they want the same.

10. Be Unreachable, Busy, Away…Or “Invisible”

Not all calls are about your apartment being burglarized, or a loved one being in precarious situation. So turn off your mobile phone to silent mode during hours where you really need all attention on your work. You can also opt to activate the voicemail service.

As for instant messaging, set the status to indicate you’re “busy” or stay “invisible” while you work. If you still get IMs, then just turn the notification or program off. Turn it on later when your current task isn’t as pressing.

11. Stay Away from the Social Media

These sites aren’t meant to be checked all the time. So discipline yourself to log in only when you have extra minutes free.

There’s a strong tendency that you’ll stay much longer than planned because something new, interesting and perky always comes with most social networking sites. Not only will it defeat your purpose of staying focused at work, but there’s plenty of information there that could get your mind unnecessarily perturbed — like a friend’s status about her heartbreak, or someone from work getting a raise.

12. Organize Your Emails

Another really stressful and distracting activity is email. Let’s face it: You get a lot. Likely a heavy mix of personal and work correspondence, promos and updates from your sites, and undoubtedly, spam.

One good way to avoid this is to have a separate email address for work and one for your personal email. Have them both powered to filter all emails. Once you have free time on hand, check emails again and unsubscribe from senders who you could live without. Then, organize the emails you’d attend to later. Delete the rest.

Finally, check your emails only when you’re done with the most important task of the day. Make sure you limit your email time as well.

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13. Redesign Your Phone Use

Phones are meant for important concerns, chats about the previous night’s date are meant for long lunch breaks. Observing such rule would help you stay focused at work.

You could also request your workmates to inform your callers you’d get back to them at a later time instead of always tapping your back or shouting out that you’ve got a call at any time. Once you’re done with work, call back the earlier callers and explain your situation briefly. In the next two minutes, ask about their concern, note it down and tell them you’d call them back for their needed action. Prepare and write all their needed details, bearing in mind their possible follow-up thoughts on the matter. Then, call them back and always limit the phone conversation to less than three minutes.

14. Put on the Headphones

In most offices, there are various sources of sounds that can prove distracting — like the floor polisher, the mail cart, workmates talking, phones ringing, and sounds of things dropped on the floor. Protect yourself with headphones so you can stay focused at work. The headphones will ward off surprising sounds — and those that get your mind wandering.

15. Choose Suitable Music

The point of having music in the background while you’re working is to provide ease and inspiration. For some, listening to music pumps up their adrenaline so they can work with greater energy.

But not all kinds of music are pleasant for everyone — and some are not suited for one’s mood. So organize your music library accordingly.

Apart from helping you stay focused at work, no distractions should take place. There’s nothing more jarring than suddenly hearing loud, heavy metal screaming after some relaxing jazz music.

If you want some ideas for the kind of music to listen to, check out this Productivity Music for Focus (Recommended Playlists).

The Bottom Line

Just remember — you are surrounded by events and people at work that could cut off your momentum. You can help keep these at bay and stay focused at work with any of the 15 great ways mentioned above.

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More Tips for Improving Your Focus

Featured photo credit: ROOM via unsplash.com

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Arina Nikitina

The author of "Real Goal Getting guide" and she is on a mission to help people achieve goals, and keep focused and motivated.

One of the Best Goal Setting Exercises 21 Counter-Intuitive Brain Break Ideas to Boost Your Productivity 11 Things Overachievers Do Differently 15 Quick Ways To Focus on Work Easily How to Turn Yourself Into A Powerful Leader

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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.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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