IT WOULD BE an understatement to say that there is a lot going on in the world today. On a daily basis, one must make the extra effort to remain focused on what is important and not be caught up on what appears to be ‘noise’ or distractions which is evidenced by the misinformation on varied topics; the overly emotional reactions; the wilful manipulations which often cause us to feel lost, exhausted and become unproductive.
Our ability to stay focused is more than just a worthwhile thing to cultivate– it’s a critical factor in your success or failure.
Getting things done is imperative, and focus is the key to getting things done. Referencing Lolly Daskal from INC; I would like to suggest a few tips to help us stay focused at work by managing distractions, drawing healthy boundaries, and eliminating opportunities for procrastination:
1. Check up on yourself.
Distractions can be internal as well as external, so start by looking within.
If you’re all over the place, ask yourself what’s really going on. What’s the source of your anxiety?
2. Pinpoint the cause.
Once you have your internal priorities sorted out, look at more external causes. Is it your office?
An intrusive co-worker? A negative family member? A lack of skill, ideas, or time for something you need to be doing? Burnout? When you can identify the cause, you can fix the effect.
3. Be prepared.
All successful leaders are great planners; they make lists for every major and minor objective. When a task comes your way, spend some time thinking about how you will accomplish it. Write down every step necessary from start to finish, with a timeline (even if it’s a rough one).
There is a saying that every 10 minutes you spend on planning saves an hour in execution.
4. Go off-line.
Some of the biggest sources of distraction come from e-mail, social media, and cell phones.
If you want real focus, take yourself off-line until you’ve accomplished what you need to do.
5. Give yourself a break.
One of the keys to doing great work is to know when to take a break. When you start to feel distracted, take a break, and then reassess and refocus yourself.
It doesn’t just act as a reward–a short break can help your mind become clearer.
6. Tune it out.
One of the best ways to tune everything out is to tune in to music. When everything around you is distracting, put on your headphones–find something that can serve as background music rather than music that holds your full attention. Music can help you concentrate, and the headphones signal others that you’re not available to chat.
7. Break it down.
Especially when distractions are high, make tasks smaller and break down your large projects into smaller tasks to help you concentrate and give you a sense of accomplishment and progress.
8. Set a deadline.
If you’re working on a complex task, set a concentrated period of time to get the task done–and when the time runs out, stop. It’s easier to stay focused when you have an end in sight.
“By Prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination.” Christopher Columbus “Avoid distractions. The more you stop participating in pointless activities, the more time you free up to better yourself…” Lav_Knowntogvelove