Being Focused Leads to Improved Productivity

Follow One Course Until Successful

Being Focused Leads to Improved Productivity In a world where instant gratification is treasured and you rarely have to watch more than a few moments of a sound bite, it can be hard to stay focused and productive. But being focused is necessary to be productive.

If you’re struggling with focus, here are a few tips to help you stay free from distractions and accomplish more.

Set Up A Physical Boundary. No matter what environment you work in, setting a physical boundary can help minimize distractions. If you have an office with a door, shut it when you need to focus. If you’re in a cubicle, post a polite sign asking not to be disturbed.

If you have a home office, make sure that your family and friends are aware that when you’re working they need to respect that space. It helps if you can set up your office in a room that isn’t used for other things.

Make a Daily Task List. It helps to get more done throughout the day if you keep a list of what needs to be done where you can see it. This can be posted on your computer desktop, on a dry erase board, or kept on a notepad by your desk.

Try to have a list with no more than 3 things on it for each day. 3 things may not sound a lot, but these are the things that you either must do or at least make a start on. Dividing larger tasks into smaller chunks can keep it from feeling overwhelming and boring. It can also keep you from feeling like procrastinating on a big project that will be time consuming.. You don’t want to become overwhelmed with what you need to do, but you do want a visual reminder of what needs to be done each day.

Make the Most of Time Management Apps. If you find yourself easily distracted by email, social media, and other sites that are time wasters you may want to take advantage of computer apps that lock those down. Examples include SelfControl and Cold Turkey.

These programs will automatically block specific sites so that you can’t be distracted by them. You can set a time limit and you can decide which ones to block or keep free.

Use a Timer. It’s impossible to be completely focused on a task for hours at a time. You may find it helpful to set a timer for 25 minutes that will allow you to stay focused for that time. Then give yourself a five minute break to get a drink of water, walk around a bit, or just take your mind off of work so that you can feel refreshed.

Do the Worst Tasks First. For some people it’s helpful to just get the worst tasks over with before getting on with the rest of the day. This is a good solution for procrastination and leaves the rest of the day free for the tasks you enjoy.

Don’t try to implement all these tips in one go, choose one or two and see if they work for you, and remember being focused is necessary to be productive.

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Till Next Time

Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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20 thoughts on “Being Focused Leads to Improved Productivity

  1. Some great points here Mike, as usual. To do lists are amazing things, but before you know it you have tens of tasks on there, which can lead to overwhelm. I use an app called Remember the Milk to list them all, in different categories, but then use a daily list of 5 things that if all goes well I want to complete. But I am happy enough to transfer one or two to the next day if needs be. If I just had one long list I think I would sit there paralysed with how I was going to do them all and get nothing done!

  2. These are great tips, thanks for sharing. One of the best tips I ever got was to work for 90 minutes and then take a break before going back in. These will help me to build on that. And the focus acronym, that’s perfect 🙂

    • Thanks for visiting Rachel, 90 mins is a long time, most adults can only concentrate fully for around 25 minutes, I always recommend something along the lines of the Pomodoro technique, work for 20 mins, 5 min break, work for 20 mins, 5 min break, work for 20 mins, 15 min break

  3. One of my biggest productivity challenge has always been the physical barrier. With kids at home and no office, it’s tough to get some quiet time. At a previous job, my desk was literally an island between two doors, the main copier, and the mailboxes. My current job situation is much better with a desk that comes partway up the front with a wrap. That has made so much difference in my ability to focus!

    I also haven’t heard of those two “time waster” apps you mentioned, because you know, self-distraction happens too – LOL! Probably going to need to check those out. Great tips and I really need to look around the rest of your site.

    • It works for many of my clients Helen, the important thing to remember is that you have to either complete or at least make a start on the three items

  4. Wonderful post and love the do the worst thing first tip! That makes so much sense, get the worst one out of the way and then you have more pleasant tasks to work on.

  5. Another great post! I use your timer suggestion and have done for some time. I find this an effective way to chunk things down, get focused and get them completed. Thanks for some of the other suggestions, I’m going to look into them more closely (because I need all the help I can get).

  6. I like the physical boundary idea. This works well for private offices.
    But how would you do that if you’re working in a cafe for example? Just focus on your task at hand and imagine a bubble around you?

    Cheers.

  7. I love that FOCUS tip – Follow One Course Until Successful! Indeed, that working for me now. I’ll keep that close to me. Thanks, Mike!