10 simple tips to stay focused at work
Its 8:30 PM; you are still at office with tomorrow’s deadline haunting your soul. Well, If this is the scenario, it could be because of 2 things:
1) Either your job is extracting more from you
2) OR you are not delivering results by being less active at work
If the latter is the culprit, it’s a sign that your draining productivity is gradually sinking your chances of survival in the rat race. Buck up and start working on yourself if you want to stay fruitful to your employers.
There are instances in your professional journey, where you try to deliver a task and get stuck due to reasons you never understand. Time flies and you end up wondering where you went wrong with incomplete tasks in hand. It is a common scenario for many enthusiastic employees who have the zeal to work but end up confused and lost. Gallup’s study suggests that more than 70 % of American workers are disengaged from work and less productive. Why is it so difficult to focus on your work? There are many distractions at your work place that pulls your attention unsuspectingly and hamper your productivity. According to the Virgin pulse survey, out of 1000 participants, the time of distraction in a workday is as follows:
1) 52% respondents – distracted 1-20% of the time
2) 43% respondents – distracted 21-75% of the time
3) 5% respondents – never distracted
If you are juggling between life priorities, pressures and stress at your work place, it is high time you start working on focusing more at your work duties. Here are a few tips that will boost your productivity and thus, provide a rewarding career growth.
1) Make a to-do list:
Have you ever been in a situation where your head quits working and you wonder where to start from in the midst of a huge pile of work? Subsequently, you are overwhelmed by the amount of work to be finished and yet utterly get confused deciding on which needs more attention at the moment. Well, the simplest way to get out of this puddle is to make a to-do list every morning before starting your schedule. The results of this 5 minutes traditional exercise can award a remarkable difference in your routine. Jot down all the things you need to complete today. To begin with, don’t worry on the priority. Just write down everything that comes to your mind. State them clearly. After your first draft is ready, start numbering them based on the priority of completion. For example, if you have a report to finish for a meeting which is due in an hour, number it “1”. After completing the list, stick to the order at any cost. Now comes the fun part. Once you have completed a task, take a marker and feel the stress flush out of your mind as you strike off the completed assignment. This will consolidate all your work at one place and make you more organised.
2) De-clutter your cubicle:
Well! To be specific, one of the biggest challenges a professional executive faces at office is to organise the huge debris of paper around him. Now, to be frank, if you want to fix this, you have to START FROM SCRATCH. The worst nightmare is when you are clueless staring at a paper on your desk and confused if it’s important or not. There are chances that your “alter-ego” may restrict you from disposing an unwanted note hanging on your cubicle wall (specifically the one given by your ex). Take a deep breath… just remove it. And let the free space freshen your mind. It’s easier to work peacefully when your surrounding is tidy. This applies even to your desktop. Remove all unnecessary folders and notes, and organize it neatly. This will help you enormously to concentrate and have a bright day.
3) Prioritize your work – Use a Timer:
Now let me ask, how many of you can confidently manage your time? Well, a few of us might have trouble keeping track of time in our head. Leave the computation and hard job for the timer to figure out. When you start a timer, you tend to stick with your schedule more often and finish your work sooner. Just imagine the amount of free time you will get by finishing your assignments before the allotted time. You could utilize it for a luxurious break and clear your mind of all the worries.
4) Choose a great chair-and-table combo:
According to dbusiness daily news “Steelcase Survey”, an employee spends more than 5.4 hours a day just sitting in office. The survey results showed insightful revelations. Out of the many respondents,
31% of people experienced lower back discomfort.
19% of the employees had neck pain
17% of them had mid-back pain.
Now, if you are sitting in pain, it’s high time to stop straining your muscles and ligaments with your bad posture. This will ultimately lead to spider veins, improper digestion, mood swings, poor productivity at work, etc. Ensure that you have a chair with adjustable lower back support, arm rests and seat heights. Spare yourself the horror of delirious pain.
5) Keep Personal Problems Personal:
I agree! We are Humans. Emotions are good at influencing our mood. But if something is troubling you, isn’t it better to fix it and then concentrate on your work? In the first place, mixing your work and personal problem will lower your efficiency and along with that, hinder your team’s work. You need to understand that your mood swing is the last thing your employer would want to deal with. Take a day off and come back to office the next day afresh. Find alternative ways to forget your problems by listening to music or taking breaks at work for a cup of coffee or better yet, solving them! Trust me! Nobody wants to listen to your break-up stories or last night fights. So, get rid of your problems, wear that armour, it’s time to get your Superman/Superwoman mode back on!
6) Avoid Gossiping:
How would it feel if a fallacious rumour about you keeps passing every now and then at office? Either you get distracted, deeply hurt, lose interest in your work or profoundly lose your peace of mind. This feeling wades through every employee’s mind if an office gossip pops up. It is advisable that you keep away from gossiping about others and stay away from the negative people that do.
7) Don’t get distracted online:
The generation Z are concurrently living in 2 different worlds these days; one in the real world and the other in the digital. Your alter-ego finds satisfaction in socialising with people who are in this virtual world of social media. Your curiosity to know what’s going on around you may haul your concentration at work. To be upfront, you cannot get rid of this. Instead, you can ensure to balance your work and distractions. How about treating your curious mind with a break of 5 minutes to browse interesting articles after completion of a task? Or make sure not to spend more than 20 minutes in half a day surfing interesting articles. It’s never too late to set priorities right.
8) Cast out multitasking:
If you are watching TV as well as reading a book, it is obvious that you will loose out on important details of both. Multi-tasking drains your short term memory (working memory) and impacts creative thinking. This will further hamper quality output at work. In contrary to the popular belief of saving time, multitasking slows you down when you are busy jumping between 2 projects. Psychiatrists suggest following the OHIO (Only Handle It Once) principle to be more organized and productive at work. You can apply this principle by sticking to a project and not stopping until you finish it. You will notice drastic changes immediately.
9) Discover your prime time:
If you are a morning person, ensure to finish all creative work requiring high concentration as soon as you reach office. Push other responsibilities which do not involve high thinking to another time post lunch. Once your time passes, what next? Gliding out of work mode is very easy for anyone. But getting back to their prime time is comparatively difficult. Well! There is a solution even for that. If you bribe yourself with small treats (coffee break at 4:30 PM, read your favourite article online for 15 minutes, etc), it can enhance your chances to focus at work even if your prime time has passed.
10) Never forget why your employer hired you:
Since, your monthly obsession with materialistic pursuits are satisfied by your pay check, you should remember to always fulfil the obligations you owe to your employer. If you are not satisfied with the role, instead of cribbing and ignoring, a stealth job search will possibly be a better solution. But ensure that you always give your 100% at your current work.
Since we are all living in a world filled with constant distractions, it requires a lot of concentration and effort from our side to focus at work place. Regular exercise, good sleep cycle, meditation, etc could also help bring back your wandering mind to its place. Ultimately, a positive attitude towards work and a few simple changes to your routine can significantly leave you with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction as an individual. Happy focusing