Are you someone that skips from task to task at work without spending a significant amount of time on any one thing? You probably are if you’re reading this article… but that’s okay, you’re here now, and we are going to work on it. Keep reading to learn the 5 things you should be doing at work to improve your focus and productivity.
- Respond, Don’t React
Immediate reaction is something we all feel like we have to do. New email? Read, react, and hit send. New to-do pops up on your project management system? Do it immediately. STOP. First, unless something is marked “Immediate Action Needed,” it can probably wait. Stop reacting immediately and instead take time to work through, think, and respond when you’re ready.
- Hardest First
Get the toughest (or most boring) tasks done first thing in the morning. This will get it out of the way so you can enjoy the rest of your day, and it will stop you from procrastinating to avoid that unbearable task.
- Stop Time-Sucks
Time-sucks come in many forms. Notifications, social media, and cleaning out your deleted email files are great examples. You are giving up your valuable time to those things that can wait, and instead, most likely creating a backlog of work for yourself. Do whatever it is you need to do to remove the temptation and get back to work. Sometimes something like deleting emails can be multi-tasked at a different time, for example, when you are on hold waiting to talk to someone on the phone. Think about some time wasters and when you can multi-task them in. Another thing that can be done is set up folders for incoming emails. For example, you probably get notifications when you pay bills. By making folders, or labels as they are sometime called, in the email provider, you can automatically or semi-automatically send emails to your folders. This will save you time.
- Make a To-Do List
A game plan for your day is possibly the most valuable tool you have at your disposal. Simply knowing what all you need to do and what other commitments you have will give you a clear view of what your day will look like. A simple piece of paper with a time ladder and checkboxes will do the trick.
- Work in Chunks
Break your day up into chunks by time. Working for forty-five minutes with a ten-minute break will not only make the day go by faster but will also help you learn to gauge how long specific tasks take and where your time is being used.
Improving your focus at work is about more than exercising your brain to be more productive. It’s also about training yourself to work, respond, and plan your day in a way that is most useful to you. This will look different for everyone, but with time and practice, you can become an effective worker.