Most of us know that in order to achieve the professional success we crave, there are no shortcuts, no better alternative than pure hard work. That being said, there may be days when life tends to get in the way of our best intentions. Whether you’re feeling under the weather or going through some form of emotional struggle, it’s easier said than done to concentrate all our efforts on the task at hand.
Instead of getting discouraged, here’s some tried and tested ways to refocus. Get the job done, even when you’ve got other things on your mind.
Take a Break
This may seem counter-productive but human beings just weren’t built to be all work and no play. You may also find that when you do try to power through, you end up feeling unsettled and burnt out. Taking breaks to eat, sleep, and even just do something you enjoy such as chatting with a co-worker or reading the paper, can help to recharge our batteries. This will allow to return to your work with renewed energy and focus. No matter how focused you are, we all deserve a break sometimes.
Reward yourself with short time-outs to take a beat and you’ll end up feeling more efficient for it.
Stick to Similar Tasks
It takes our brains approximately 15 mintues to refocus on a different activity to the one we’ve been doing. If you start your day by checking and replying emails then switch to another task only to go back to your emails again after half an hour, you’re losing more time than you might be aware of.
In order to use your time more wisely, consider grouping similar tasks together so you won’t have to be shifting gears back and forth throughout your day. Start with your emails and get those out of the way before moving onto to prepping for your meetings, for example.
Get Your Tunnel Vision On
We all have trouble focusing on our work sometimes, a sure-fire sign that there’s something more interesting or important on our minds, vying for our attention, whether it’s daydreaming about your weekend plans or worrying about a personal issue. Whatever it is, rid it from your conscious mind for the time being by putting pen to paper and writing it down; in this way you can make a promise to yourself to ignore any distracting thoughts and focus exclusively on the task in front of you, that requires all of your undivided attention in order to get done asap.
If you still find this difficult, up your discipline levels by setting a timer for, say, half an hour to work solidly, then reward yourself with a short break to let your thoughts stray. You’ll be surprised at how quickly the time goes by once you get absorbed into your work.
Contrary to popular belief, performing several tasks at once is actually detrimental to productivity at work. While it may work for household chores or menial work that don’t require too much brain power, the opposite is true of multitasking for more important tasks. Focusing on finishing one task at a time will be more worthwhile and save you a lot of precious time than trying to divide up your attention to multiple projects.
This is especially true for those high-priority assignments which required complete concentration; eliminate all distractions by turning off your social media notifications, and even your phone if possible and tune all if your attention into getting it over and done with.
Being productive is no easy feat and can be challenging for those of us who are easily distracted. Hopefully, with a little determination and these trusty tips, your workday will start to feel more constructive soon enough.