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15 Quick Ways To Focus on Work Easily

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15 Quick Ways To Focus on Work Easily

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

More by this author

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 October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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