Do you find it hard to focus on your work? If so, you’re far from alone. It’s important to stay focused and distraction-free, but that’s especially difficult with multiple projects in play and a steady stream of emails, phone calls and petty tasks constantly beckoning.
Focusing at work is like going to the gym every day—it’s largely a matter of building good habits. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Planning. Staying focused starts with planning ahead, and it begins the night before. Before you go to bed email yourself at least three goals for tomorrow. The next day you will have them to start your day off right. Planning ahead helps you focus on what you need.
Batching. If you have small tasks on your to-do list, you may be tempted to work on several at once—in other words, to multitask. It’s nice to think you can work more efficiently by doing more than one thing at a time. In reality, though, every time you change or switch tasks, your brain takes time to re-focus, making it harder to accomplish the things you need to do.
Chunking. Large, complex tasks are typically hard to get done all at once. Try breaking up larger tasks into smaller chunks and setting mini-deadlines for each chunk. Think of your mini-deadlines as checkpoints to keep yourself accountable.
Scheduling. The best way to stay on task is to make a list of things to do, set priorities and create a schedule. Once you know your personal and professional tasks are accounted for on your schedule, you can free yourself from the nagging feeling that you’re forgetting to do something.
Blocking. Block out any distractions that keep you from being focused; avoid the things that interrupt you. Build in specific times to answer emails, phone calls and texts so you aren’t constantly checking in. If you find that you’re constantly drawn to email, the web, or social media, block them for periods of time.
Tracking. Time is the one resource that cannot be replenished, and tracking how much time you spend on what each day will clue you in to the things that are getting more than their share. Technology makes tracking your time easier than ever.
Customizing. For maximum efficiency, customize your approach to managing tasks and projects. Some people organize assignments according to the order in which they are due, while others tackle tasks in order of difficulty. Consider the time of day your energy is highest and schedule your most challenging and visible work then. Consider the ways you work best and implement them to improve your focus.
Lead from within: If you have trouble staying focused at work, there are steps you can take to minimize distraction and maximize your effectiveness.
#1 N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.