Today’s world has so many distractions. You have five minutes in between tasks, and quickly (and surreptitiously) pull up YouTube…only to wonder afterwards where the last 45 minutes have gone. Now you’re off track, you feel bad, and you’re pressured. How do you stay focused on what needs to be done?
Stay Focused: The Five Hacks
- Set rigid break times – with a timer, if need be – and incorporate them into your daily schedule. We all need a chance to breathe sometimes. But you have to be on top of managing the time. A break can be a task, no different than any other – put them into your schedule blocks, and use them well. Once you condition yourself to treat breaks as tasks, you will end them on time, yet get recharged.
- You need effective breaks, too. A break that consists of cat videos on YouTube doesn’t leave you energized afterwards. Spending a half hour on Facebook arguing politics won’t put you in a frame of mind for tackling the next thing on your to-do list. What makes you relaxed? What puts you in a more productive frame of mind? Answering those questions is essential for staying focused through break time.
- Get enough sleep! No one is focused, or productive, when they’re tired. Your brain doesn’t have the computing power it needs when its lacking sleep, and you don’t have the energy to focus. Most people who have a hard time focusing are simply lacking the energy needed to pay attention! Getting a good night’s rest is so important for productivity – it might just be the most important thing.
- Leave your cell phone on silent. Not vibrate. Silent. Every time a phone buzzes, we feel the need to look at it. 90% of the time the notification is nothing important – a cousin posted something on Facebook, a tweet was sent by an account you follow, an email arrived from a marketing company…who cares. Every time you pick up that phone you reset your focus, lose your groove, and have to start all over again.
- Play some music in the background. Music helps us stay calm, focused, energized, and enjoy the time. Whether it’s light listening, classical music, or something heavier, you’ll be in a better mood. A good mood is key for attention, focus, and productivity!
- Use the right software. Today’s tools are built for the internet-savvy, and they know how to grab your attention back when it wanders for too long. Your work software needs to keep itself front and center in your vision. As a project manager, I like the project management tools that send digest emails on the project, reminders, updates, etc…