You know how you start work and a few minutes later become distracted or are “interrupted” with a phone call, an email alert or an unexpected walk in and you lose your focus. Or, you are faced with a workspace that is not clean and are thrown of kilter first thing in the day.
To keep your concentration and to stay focused try this:
1. Start your day prepared
As early as you can have a quiet moment so that you can see in your mind what the workday will look like before it happens. Then eat some kind of breakfast because eating in the morning can improve attention and concentration.
Finally write down what things you need to get done or what you want to accomplish for the day; and give each task a time slot. This way each task has a specific amount of time and will move the day along more constructively. Interruption or no interruption!
2. Break things down into smaller tasks
The work day is never straight forward and some days can take an overwhelming direction. When this happens breaking up the day into smaller separate units can make it easier. Yes you have a to-do list but this does not mean that you must work until something is finished.
Tackle things piecemeal- like read 10 documents (and not all the documents on your desk) or answer emails the first hour of the day then stop when the hour is up, instead of stopping when the in-box is at zero.
3. Keep your eye on the goal
If you play or watch sports you know that the person who has their eye on the goal and aims for it has a good chance of scoring. It is the same with your work; if you maintain the momentum this will help you achieve your goal. Sometimes it might mean skipping something or passing the task on to someone else especially if it is breaking your focus.
Eventually you can go back and check on the results and hopefully by the end of the day you will have accomplished the overall goal.
4. Take your lunch break
Getting to your work place early, working through lunch and staying late doesn’t necessarily mean getting more stuff done. Or taking no or shorter lunch breaks in order to compete with other employees for a better position, and to show off your productivity is a very bad idea. You need a break.
A study about the relations with energy levels at work did show that recovery during lunch breaks and energy levels at work are related across time.
5. Clean up
Clean up at the end of each work day so that the next day you can start again with a clean slate so to speak. A crowded, dirty workspace, be it your workshop, car, desk or bag is not a good work environment. You already have a lot to focus on and stress about when it comes to your work but if your work space is not clean, your stress will only increase.
The cleaner the workspace, the less stress; a clean, clutter-free space keeps distractions at bay and you can aim your focus at the work rather than the disorganized workspace.