We all know that feeling of trying to get things done at work while we are being distracted by everything that is around us. Colleagues asking your questions, new email alert popping up every five minute and airplanes that are flying over the office building are just some of the examples. Would it be great if you can tick all those tasks off your to-do your list without being disturbed? What if I tell you that this is possible? The following tips make it all a little easier for you to put it into practice and nail it!
Get your tasks for the day clear and jot them down
By planning out the specific tasks you are going to do on a particular day, you prevent yourself from getting lost in what you need to do next after finishing a specific activity. Also, by writing the to-do items down, they suddenly feel more tangible which helps you to keep your focus around achieving them. Then I usually go one step further by organising them in such a way that demanding tasks alternate with less energy-intensive activities. This variation keeps me from getting bored and, in turn, helps me to work efficiently.
Schedule work sessions of 25 minutes with 5 minutes break in between
The feeling of working non-stop hours without having a break does not really get you motivated to focus and do your job. Also, people simply have short attention spans. One method I use to cleverly deal with it is the promodoro technique. This means that I plan sessions of 25 minutes to work on a specific task with 5 minutes break between each session. In the short break, I take this opportunity to stretch and grasp something to drink to keep myself hydrated. When 4 sessions of 25 minutes have passed, I allow myself to have a longer break of 25 minutes. Eventually even with taking breaks, I noticed that I work more efficiently as during the sessions I can be really focused in completing a certain task.
Communicate your “office hours”
Set up fixed time slots in your calendar in which your colleagues are welcome to come to your desk for help or advice. Not only do they know that they can count on you for your availability and help during these time sessions, you also get the certainty that beyond these time slots you will be not disturbed by marking the rest of the day as “busy”. This, in turn, enables you to dedicate your whole focus on other tasks.
At the end of the day, I always tidy up my desk. I quickly scan my desk and only leave those things on it which I will need the other day. The other items I store in my drawer or throw it away. This is also my way of closing the workday relaxedly with the thought that the following day I will be welcomed by a clean desk that allows me to nail it again. Without all the clutter around your computer, my eyes and mind will not get distracted. The space I create around my table also lead to more space in my mind which, in turn, enhances my focus. This is what I call good riddance!
Block out the noise
Despite the different thoughts about music at the office, I have experienced myself that when the work environment is unruly and noisy, putting on my headphone will actually help me to exclude myself from all the distracting sounds and noises. Also, the extra kick and motivation music gives, can not be underestimated. In times when it is already calm and silent around, I can better focus without music. Is when extra inspiration and motivation comes in. Try it out yourself and see what works best for you.
Do you have any tips you have used before to keep distractions outside your work? Let me know in the comments below.
Until next time!