There are lots of ways to be productive, even with all the technology that bombards us every minute. Here are some things we have done to stay focused throughout the day.
1. Turn Off Email and Social Media Notifications
Absolutely, the best productivity boost. Leave Outlook open to give reminders. When the team tries to meet a deadline. A common routine is:
- In the morning, plan the day out.
- Then, take a quick peek at email, sorted by sender, to see if there is anyone you’re waiting on, or an urgent matter you need to address, then minimize Outlook.
- Work uninterrupted throughout the morning.
- Check email around lunchtime with the same process as step two.
- Work throughout the afternoon.
- Check email one last time around 4 or 5 p.m. with the same process as step two.
- Email will not be checked until the next day.
This is by no means an “Inbox Zero” approach, but it’s a shift to focusing on what we really need to get done.
2. Reboot Your Computer Every Morning or Evening
Sounds dumb, but sometimes we have too many things going on. Too many tabs open. Too many programs running. It’s best to start from scratch.
3. Close The Door or Wear Headphones
Closing your office doors is okay! Don’t worry, people will still come and bug you if it’s important. If not, they may go back to their desk and send you an email you can address on your own time, instead of theirs.
If, however, you have a cubicle, some good headphones are your friend. Some headphones are great for this!
4. Stay Focused With Research
When research has to be done, which is daily, we have to stay focused in order to avoid the distractions.
A approach is to open up a new window. Close down your research browser window and get back to work. You’d be surprised how something as simple as a new browser window helps out.
Find what works for you to stay focused with research tasks.
5. Uninstall Games
Our team has said they limit the amount of game applications on their phone due to the urge to play them. Games are a good way to make an 8 hour workday turn into a 12 hour marathon. Think about deleting or limiting your game applications, especially if you’re a procrastinator.
6. Take Breaks
Taking breaks allows you to compose your thoughts, think about what you’re working on, and come back energized and focused.
Work time should be no more than one hour, and a break should be no more than a few minutes. For example, you can take a 3 minute break every 50 minutes.
Get some water, stretch, browse your favorite app and get back to work.
Just give in and try it, if you aren’t already. Exercise should be various effort levels and duration. Don’t do the same thing for the same amount of time; vary your workout routines.
Bonus – Spend Time Learning Every Day
This may sound counter-intuitive, but if we take care of our bodies, we will definitely be able to focus better. Try spending at least 15 minutes every day reading a good book, or learning a new skill, technique, or technology.
Our team has had great results with these steps above. This is by no means a fool-proof or exhaustive list, but it’s a good start. Find what works for you. You may hate headphones, or really need to play a game on your phone when you have downtime. You may be in customer service, and email must be checked as it comes in. Great, do that. Most people will excel with less email.