In a world where we are surrounded by the distractions of smartphones, social media, and more, how can we get more work done?
As we spend our days surrounded by technology and interacting with social media sites, distraction from these activities are a normal part of most people’s lives. At this point, they don’t even seem like distractions anymore – a fact to which many Millennials can attest.
Social media and technology are not the only distractions at work, however; distractions are everywhere and we inevitably find them at work. So how do we find focus in today’s workplace?
Here are some suggestions for completing work in an arena of distractions:
- Begin by clearing your workspace. A clear space is a clear mind. When your desk is a mess, you may spend more time trying to find parts of projects, notes from meetings, and even your favorite pen that you lost a week ago. Save time, and get your work started faster by clearing your desk before you leave work every day. This way in the morning, you have a clear desk to look forward to.
- Compartmentalize your time. According to the Wall Street Journal – led from research by Robert Matchock –most people are easily distracted during the period between noon and 4 p.m. Ensure you are getting a large portion of focus-intensive work done before lunch. Save activities like returning phone calls, planning activities for the next day, and clearing your desk for later on in the day.
- Taking breaks are a must, but taking too many can lead to inefficiency at work. Choose specific times in the day before noon and after to focus on yourself or to have conversations with others. When you take these two short breaks, be sure to leave out technology and social media. Instead, embrace human interaction or go for a walk outside. Making sure this time to yourself has nothing to do with work; it will help you generate more energy to complete your tasks.
- Recognize your patterns. If you find yourself getting less work done when around certain co-workers or when working in certain areas in the office, minimize these distracting interactions and environments to specific times during the day such as your break times.
- Make a list of priorities for the day as soon as you make it to your desk. For serial procrastinators, having a small list of priorities is the best thing you can do. Making a long list is ineffective because you can become overwhelmed by the length of the list – not to mention distracted by trying to prioritize too many tasks throughout the day. Having a manageable list of priorities will allow you to manage your day around the most important task.
It is unrealistic to focus on one task for the entirety of the day, so the trick is finding sections of the day in which to be the most engaged. In doing this, your mind can more easily handle some of the more taxing activities in manageable sections. Push yourself to take breaks during the work day to release and increase the quality and creativity of your work. With these suggestions, you can take steps towards finding your own system to focus and excel at work.