Some people thrive in a busy office, but not everyone is cut out for working in a distracting atmosphere. If you’re struggling to get things done at work, there are plenty of ways to be productive without chaining yourself to your desk and swearing off all social interaction.
The most precious commodity in today’s world is focus: holding undivided attention to the task at hand. But how do we get there when we’d much rather “focus” on Facebook or watching funny cat videos?
Don’t despair. We’ve prepared these 5 tips for focused work to help you slay your workday and make your colleagues jealous.
1. Race against yourself
Using a timer as a motivational tool is very powerful, especially if you’re a competitive person. Even if you don’t have external pressure to finish specific tasks, you can set mini-deadlines and use a time tracker to track the interval you’d like to stick to.
Parkinson’s law states that any task expands to fill the time we allow it. Most of us don’t even schedule our work, and wishful thinking won’t get things done. Strive to do quality work in the shortest time possible and you’ll surely enter a deep state of focus.
2. Leverage peer pressure
Most of us have an innate desire to please people, so we may as well use it to our advantage. Just like accountability partners and workout buddies can help us reach goals outside work, we can mimic the same peer pressure inside our office environment. If you hate working alone, spend time with a like-minded colleague who values efficiency and productivity.
Want to take social pressure to the next level? Tell your boss, manager, or coworker your plans to finish a certain project by the end of the day. Afraid this approach will get you into trouble? Good. You’ll work extra hard just to avoid embarrassing yourself in front of others.
3. Listen to focus-inducing music
If you’re working in an open space, you’re probably aware of this magical device called noise-canceling headphones. They might make you look a little silly, but they’re a good defense against that coworker who wants to hang out by the coffee machine for the millionth time. Unlike him, you might actually get some stuff done.
But since you’re already shutting out the outside world, why not go a step further and feed your brain some hypnotic waves? Binaural beats are proven to increase cognitive function, improve memory and strengthen neural connections. You can choose from plenty of playlists on YouTube and Spotify and feel your mind enter its zone of genius.
4. Schedule uninterrupted time
The single biggest enemy of focus is interruption. Interruptions can come from your team, your phone or e-mail, and even yourself. Distractions and unforeseen situations will never stop occurring, but it’s in your power to make yourself unavailable.
Block uninterrupted time in your schedule and let your coworkers and even superiors know that you’ll be unable to respond during that specific time unless it’s a true emergency. Place your phone on airplane mode and out of sight. Shut your e-mail and notifications off. This might seem scary or selfish at first, but you’ll get a lot of work done, and you’ll barely be missed.
5. Use apps to block distractions
Okay, so you’ve taken care of other people distracting you. Now, you need to take care of your own interrupting behavior because, when it comes to focusing, even mindlessly clicking online for a few moments can ruin your state of flow.
Breaking deeply ingrained habits like picking up your phone or scrolling on social media to soothe yourself when you’re stressed or uncomfortable isn’t an easy thing to do. That’s why using apps that block those specific sites can be so beneficial. You can try Freedom, FocusMe, or SelfControl, just to name a few.
Apps are an integral part of our life today. As your work gets more focused, you’ll want to have all your efforts on record. Our Time Tracker for Salesforce is a great way to keep track of the work that you’ve done.
Ultimately, the goal is to create a habit of efficiency. The longer you procrastinate on work, the less time you’ll have to truly disconnect, engage in meaningful conversations or even leave home early. Not to mention that you’ll feel so proud of everything you accomplished. Try these ideas for yourself, and may the “focus” be with you! 🙂