Whether you are working from home or back in the office, these tips will help you to stay focused.
There are so many factors that can derail your day. You have a plan and before you know it, you are sidetracked onto something, like an emergency that you didn’t plan. Or worse, you could be interrupted by small talk with a colleague or that pop up window for your latest email. Interruptions abound, issues with projects and even emergencies eat away at your valuable time. Here are five ways you can focus so you can have a great day at work.
Handle Internal interruptions-HALT is an acronym, I discuss in workshops and webinars. HALT stands for hungry, angry, lonely, tired. If any of those crop up in your workday, be ready to handle them. Have snacks and water at your desk. Make sure you are getting the proper amount of sleep. Take care of yourself first, then get back to work.
Reach out to people if you need to have brave and courageous conversations. Depending on the situation, if you let anger at work fester, you are bound to go from annoyance to a possible human resource issue quickly. Stay away from responding to email and social media until you handle your own self care.
Handle External Interruptions-It’s an easy fix, just close your door to stop people from interrupting your work. If you don’t have a door, put up a do not disturb sign at your cubicle or on your chair. In working from home, discuss with the family the needs you have to complete your work and minimize interruptions.
Stop push notifications to your computer and your phone. Any noises: alarms, pop up windows. Go to your settings and turn off all of them.
Music-At times a great diversion, and at times a great distraction. Studies have shown that when you listen to music with lyrics that it can hinder your concentration on certain tasks. Using music as a boost before a task or having light music play during repetitive tasks increases productivity. The rest of the time, music with lyrics can alter your mood and leave you unfocused.
Leave It Out-Clear your desk and only leave the project you are working on in front of you. This will help you stay focused. It will also help you to refocus if you are interrupted. If you are working on your computer desktop and your work isn’t paper driven, then only have that document or tab open. Clean and clear your computer desktop so that you can focus solely on the task at hand.
Give Up Your Phone-A client of mine needed to work on projects. They scheduled an hour and a half of uninterrupted time on their calendar. It was during a busy season of work and their phone was ringing, even when it went to voicemail it was still a disruption. They decided they would hand their phone over to their assistant for the scheduled time they needed to work on projects. This gave them the focus needed and messages were handled when the hour and half of deep work was done. When working from home, you can leave your phone in another area of your living space.
Bonus-The ‘T’ in HALT stands for tired. If you haven’t gotten enough sleep, you will not have a productive day. The brain and body need to be replenished to work at maximum capacity. Sleep is the cornerstone of productivity. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night clears the fog and helps you concentrate to stay focused.
On days you need to focus. Try these techniques for more focus and a great day at work. If you are still feeling like you can’t focus schedule a consultation to discuss your productivity issues.
Margo Crawford is a Productivity Coach with Wave Productivity. If you are struggling to stay focused, organized and productive at work during the COVID-19 outbreak, you are not alone. Margo works with entrepreneurs, small business owners and business professionals to help them get more focused, organized and productive in their workplace. Set up a consultation today. Margo coaches by phone nationally. If you want to get more organized in your office call 602-677-8275 or email [email protected]