Are you a professional that skips from task to task at work without focus? Or do you spend a significant amount of time without getting to today’s most important task?
The five things you could be doing to improve your focus and productivity:
- Respond, Don’t React. Immediately reacting is something we feel like we have to do. A new email? Read, react and hit reply. New to-do pops up on your project management system? Do it immediately. STOP. First, unless something is … Immediate Action Needed Now… it can probably wait. Stop reacting immediately, focus on today’s most important tasks. Then when you are ready, take time to work through, think, and respond.
- Start with Hardest First. Get the toughest or most undesirable tasks done first thing in the morning. What Brian Tracy calls ‘Eat that Frog’. This will get it out of the way so you can stop procrastinating to avoid that unbearable task.
- Stop Time-Sinks. Time-sinks come in many forms. Notifications, social media, emails, phone calls, and interruptions by colleagues, are great examples. You are giving up your valuable time to things that are not that important and can wait, and instead, most likely creating a backlog of tasks for your important projects. Do whatever it is you need to do to reduce or remove the temptation and get to work on what is important now.
- Make a To-Do List. Establishing a game plan for your day is possibly the most valuable tool you have at your disposal. Simply knowing what you need to do and what other commitments you have will give you a clear view of what your day will look like. A piece of paper will do the trick or your digital to-do list or appointment scheduler. Try and limit today’s to-do list to no more than three most important items. Rather than multitasking, give one task your full attention until it is completed before moving on to the next. When a to-do list is in your head it is little more than something to stress over. There’s something about writing down a list of tasks that makes us more motivated to complete them and tick them off the list one by one. When a to-do list is written down it becomes a plan of action.
Improving your focus at work is about training yourself to work, respond, and plan your day in a way that is most useful to you This will look different for everyone, but with time and practice, you can become an effective and productive professional.