3 ways to improve your focus
Some days, it’s hard to leave work feeling like you did your best. You spent the entire day at your desk, but were not as productive as you would have hoped… you felt like you couldn’t focus or you just didn’t have a good game-plan to begin with. If this happens on a Monday, you may feel like this set the mood for the rest of the week (and that’s really not a good thing).
So how do you avoid feeling unproductive? Here are some tools to help you maintain focus and be as productive as possible.
Getting into a routine takes discipline and planning. In college, the only way I felt like I was on top of all of my work was to plan out literally every hour of my day. I know that is a little extreme, and I’m getting better at being spontaneous, but it really helped! These days, I try to just plan out my week. If I set goals for each individual day, I find that I can be more productive because having an idea of what I need to get done really helps me focus.
Have Physical Goals
Too often, I’ve spent time researching an idea or topic and I get incredibly sidetracked….to the point where two hours will pass and I have no organized proof of the work I did. I have recently started setting small goals before I start a project to help keep me on track. If you want to dedicate a valuable part of your day to something, make sure you have metrics to measure whether or not you have achieved your goals.
But what if there are no goals?... Make some!
A great way to set a physical goal if you don’t have anything to measure would be designating an amount of time to a task. If you are doing research on a project that you are considering taking on, tell yourself you will spent an hour looking into it and, by the end of that hour, make sure you have written next steps or have documented what the conclusion of your research was.
Take a Break
This one goes without saying, but a lot of people, including my adorable co-workers, will work through their lunch. This isn’t the worst thing if you are operating on a deadline, however, taking a break and letting your mind rewire itself - for even just thirty minutes - is really valuable.
After spending the entire morning making important decisions and focusing on the work in front of us, our cognitive brain power actually becomes pretty depleted as explained by Kimberly Elsbach, a UC Davis management professor. In reality, we probably get less work done when we don’t let ourselves recharge, because we work at a slower pace and are more prone to distraction.
Note: You can also apply these things in your personal life, but this isn’t a lifestyle blog because no one wants to read posts about how much Netflix I watch.