Do you want to be more organized in your daily life – both professional and personal? You can do this with a few simple steps: start with planning your work, then estimate the time needed to complete each task, and check whether the reality (time spent) corresponds to your expectations. But that’s not all – reducing the impact of surrounding distractions on your work is also important. Only when all these actions are combined together, can you take full advantage of your natural productivity cycles and achieve better results at work. Below you will find some ways to maximize your concentration on each task you receive. Read on.
Avoiding distractions at work – table of contents:
- The Pomodoro technique
- Blocking distractions
- Dividing tasks into smaller parts
- One task at a time
- Natural productivity cycles
The Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro technique is undoubtedly the most popular work method leading to increased concentration on the tasks on your to-do list. It assumes performing duties in 25-minute cycles, followed by a 5-minute break. Why is this method helpful in reducing distractions? Because you provide your brain with the information that a given task is to be completed in the allotted time, which results in greater motivation to work and, consequently, even unconscious avoidance of distractions – especially in a situation when the set clock is counting down the time.
Of course, if you really need it, you can extend your work time (for example, up to 40 minutes), but always remember to take regular breaks – preferably at about the same time every day. Then, working and taking breaks will become your habit, helping you to stay productive.
Even if you think you don’t devote much time at all to distractions like social media or your favorite blog, the reality is probably quite different. We tend to unconsciously detach ourselves from the task at hand to check a message we’ve received, scroll through a Facebook wall or catch up on the news on Twitter, automatically extending our time to complete our duties at work or at home. Without incoming notifications or being unable to view the pages we’ve bookmarked for a certain period of time (thanks to, for example, a special app), it will definitely be easier to focus on what we have to do.
At times, you may also get distracted by co-workers who need your help with their tasks – you should try to “block” them, just like social media or a frequently visited website. Of course, we don’t encourage you not to support your colleagues, but you always have the right to tell them that you need to focus on another task now and you will help them when you finish it. Such an attitude should be understood – and sometimes you just can’t do without drawing the line and setting boundaries.
Dividing tasks into smaller parts
Do you find it hard to focus on a task because you know full well that, no matter how you work, it will take you a very long time to complete it? Such an attitude leads straight to a loss of concentration. Fortunately, it is possible to eliminate it – all you have to do is divide the task into smaller parts and focus on completing each of them, instead of thinking about how long it will take to complete the whole one. This will also enable you to estimate the amount of time that each of these minor tasks should take you, and as a result, you will gain more motivation and find it easier not to get distracted.
One task at a time
If you want to stay focused and perform your tasks efficiently, try not to do more than one task at a time. Our brains need a few minutes to get into a state of focus on a selected task, and every time we jump to the next one, this process starts all over again (because, for example, it is a completely different type of task, topic, etc. ). And even if you think that by multitasking you achieve better productivity, in fact (as also confirmed by research) you spend more time on each task, increasing the risk of making an unnecessary mistake.
Natural productivity cycles
How long are you able to work until your productivity starts to decline? How many breaks do you need during the day to keep your productivity at the same level? At what hours do you find it easiest to focus on what you have to do, and when do you start to feel tired? These are just some of the questions you should answer to discover your natural productivity cycles and plan your work according to them.
By analyzing how long it took you to complete a given task, you will be able to check when you are most productive – first thing in the morning before breakfast, between 10 and 12 o’clock (that’s what the research indicates) or maybe after lunch? Everyone is different in this respect, so it’s useful to know when you work best and find it easier to stay focused. Do your most demanding tasks when you are feeling the most energetic, and leave smaller ones for times when you are least productive.
As you can see, there are a number of ways to reduce the impact of distractions at work and, consequently, complete your tasks faster, more efficiently, and with better results. If you want to be more productive, try to identify what is distracting you, and then implement the best solution for you from those listed above.
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