We all do what?
Lose focus and get distracted at work.
Whether it’s talking to a co-worker that pulls you away from a project – and when you come back to it you have no idea what thread you were following, or if you kill the last hour of the day trolling on Facebook because there isn’t enough time to start and finish another project, we all have our guilty little habits and tricks to get through the day with only half of our brain present.
If you want to stay productive, focused and move up the ladder at work, here are a few tips to get you rolling.
There are a few different facets to the concept of organization. You’re going to really want to organize your desk – it’s your living space for 8 hours a day. So make sure that you’re actually comfortable – get a great chair and desk combo that you’re really comfortable in. That way all that you’re focusing on is your work and not the muscle soreness in your back or the awkward angle of your wrists.
After getting that perfect desk/chair combination, you’re going to want to make sure that your desk is actually organized. Don’t have on your desk anything more than what you absolutely need – any other stray papers, magazines or reports should be filed within easy reach (if they are something that you know that you’re going to need over the course of your day).
You’re also going to want to organize your actual day with a to-do list. If you don’t have one – starting making one, ASAP. It will keep you on task, and plus, people really like to cross things off. It makes us feel like we’ve accomplished something.
Cut The Multitasking
You don’t text when you’re driving (or at least you shouldn’t be) so why do you talk to a co-worker when you’re trying to write an email? Both parties in that case will lose. You’re not going to catch all of what your co-worker is saying, so that you’ll have to end up questioning them later about the same thing, and you’ll end up having to spend longer on that email because you were so distracted by trying to listen to what your co-worker was saying.
When you’re working, focus on one thing at a time. Don’t answer your emails in the middle of writing a press release, or your phone, or your IM’s from co-workers asking you questions. Be focused and stay focused. You’ll be amazed at how much more quickly you get that one task done when you aren’t bouncing between a half dozen different tasks and open windows.
And even more than not allowing yourself to multi-task, make your co-workers aware of the fact that you aren’t ignoring them if you don’t answering their IM immediately. You’re just getting s%*# done.
Drink More Water
This may seem straightforward, but drinking water consistently throughout the day (rather than coffee or tea or soda). Because while coffee or soda can give you an energy boost, it has been shown that the brain functions better when the body is well-hydrated. So drink that water!
And so you aren’t distracted by the chatter around the water cooler, keep a TON of water within reach on your desk, so you aren’t adding a distraction to your routine.
Especially if you work in front of a computer screen all day, you need to take breaks – it is actually proven that we can really only work at our optimal levels and truly focus for about an hour, before things start going downhill.
So though it may sound contradictory to the no-distractions-organization earlier section of this article, taking breaks isn’t so much of a contradiction, as these are productive breaks. Get up, get some water, get back to your desk. Get up, stretch, take a walk around the office.
My stance on multi-tasking is much more geared towards when you’re in the middle of a project – if you’re in between tasks, socialize or stretch, but don’t break your focus for you day. Understand when you’re most productive, and get your most difficult task for the day out of the way at that point.
This post was written by a guest contributor. About the Author:
Jackie Ryan works with a company that offers anti fatigue rubber mats (click here if you’re interested in their products) so that your body gets less tired if you’re standing on the job all day. But not all of us stand on the job – so we have to find other ways to stay focused!