In the modern age, it can be difficult to focus on one task for very long. This difficulty of focus can easily extend to your business, as distractions can pop up at any time and are sometimes impossible to ignore.
Focusing is a lost art but there are a number of ways to keep momentum and improve productivity, both in the business world and in your personal life. Here are some tips to stay focused and productive throughout the day.
- Prioritize your work and focus on one assignment
- Take any needed breaks but keep them short and mentally active
- Don’t let fear rule your life or your work habits
Learn to Focus on One Project at a Time
The key to productivity is focusing on one task and seeing it through to its conclusion, with minimal breaks or moments of distraction. To do this, you’ll need to take into account your current priorities and straighten them out, choosing one to focus on before moving onto the next task.
The most common method for working on tasks many people is to start several and work on them all at once, slogging through the projects but perceiving productivity because of the constant hopping from one assignment to another.
This emphasis on quantity over quality may seem effective, but it can seriously harm your productivity in the long run, as your sense of accomplishment will be vastly inflated due to the feeling of “movement” between projects.
Like jogging in place, you’ll feel productive if you exert almost no energy over a long period of time, but you’ll see and feel better results if you increase your energy output and learn to live with the cramps and feeling of work that comes with energy expenditure.
Learn to Avoid Distractions
One of the oddest phenomena in the world is the feeling of getting work done. Sometimes, working through goals can be invigorating, a stimulus which pushes you harder to accomplish more than you thought you could. At other times, however, work can feel like a slog, even if you’re seeing tangible results.
The key is to imagine the finished product without punishing yourself for not having achieved your final goal at the present point. Let the images of a completed piece of work fill you with confidence and inspire you to keep working on the task at hand; don’t be discouraged with a past failing or let the work overwhelm you. Take breaks as needed but never be hesitant to throw yourself back into the work you need to finish.
Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard Too Fast
Those who are most productive are usually not the ones whipping themselves to take on the maximum amount of work they can and finish in the least amount of time possible. Being productive means knowing your limit and setting planned stoppages for yourself. Go for a walk or tune into a show every hour or two to create a controlled, brief distraction for yourself.
Research has found that students in universities and high schools who absorb the most information are not those who cram and deny themselves study breaks, but those who have a set pattern of learning and taking notes, then putting down the book while keeping their brain active in exercise or another activity.
The brain, like any muscle, needs time to mend and recuperate after a heavy bout of work; let your brain rest from time to time to maximize your productivity and accomplish more in less time.
Just Do It
The number one reason many people are not as productive as they could be is simple – fear. The fear of failure or not living up to the task at hand stops many people cold before they even begin their task. Learn to overcome whatever fear is holding you back and you’ll be able to focus more intently on your work than you ever thought possible.
Fear is so prominent in those who procrastinate that they might not even be conscious of it to begin with. Even latent fear of failure or another negative outcome can develop acute anxiety and fret at the idea of working on their latest pile of work.
This anxiety creates a self-fueling process of doubt and hesitation which halts work and creates unneeded stress. Confidence in your ability to accomplish what you put your mind to is key to starting and following through on your work.
Be Honest with Yourself
Businesses have streamlined work to an incredible degree with the help of the internet and advanced telecommunications. Many business tasks can be completed within a day and even complex projects can be finished in a few months if given the proper attention and effort. However, even with the increase in efficiency in the past few years, many tell themselves they simply don’t have the time they need to finish everything they need to finish.
This is a simple and effective lie which results in avoiding tiresome work on important projects or errands; working more productively requires sacrificing time spent on unproductive tasks in the office and at home. It’s not easy to sacrifice pleasurable distractions, but it can be done to focus on more pressing or important matters.
Focus and productivity are a lost art in the modern world. Incessant fear and a plethora of potential distractions can make even the most resolute hesitate in their duties. Learning to give yourself breaks and avoid the anxieties of self-questioning and doubt will improve your productivity and leave you feeling more confident and headstrong in all areas of life.