Even the most successful people can have trouble staying focused from time to time.
Life is overrun with distractions due to family, personal issues, coworkers and the widespread availability of the internet. Sometimes, it seems that just concentrating on the task at hand is the hardest part.
The beginning of a new year is always a great time to think of ways to better yourself. Here are a few ideas to help you (and us!) get started, stay focused, and keep on task in order to have a more productive 2018.
Be a List Maker. Jot down a list of everything you need to do, prioritizing them from most to least important. Then, highlight the first few tasks that you need to complete and check them off as they are completed. Also, don’t forget about the big picture. Instead of just focusing on today’s to-do list, think about your schedule two weeks in advance. It will help you plan accordingly and keep you more organized.
Minimize/Eliminate Distractions. Rule Number One: Turn off your phone. This is by far the most distracting item for the majority of Americans. If you don’t want to completely turn it off in case of an emergency, put it in a different room so you are not tempted to regularly check email, social media, or your favorite shopping site. Once the phone is eliminated, focus on creating a work environment that is quiet, calming, and conducive to success. Some people prefer to listen to music while they are working, but be sure it isn’t too loud. For those who work in close quarters with co-workers, maybe get some noise canceling headphones or find a quiet place to go for projects that require extra focus and attention to detail.
Figure Out What Works for You. When do you do your best work? Are you a go-getter morning person that works best before noon? Or, are you a late bloomer that needs a cup of coffee or two before you can think straight? By scheduling your to-do list around your natural mental clock, you will maximize your productivity during those peak times when it already comes more naturally.
Break Down Big Projects. Just like when you were in college, never wait until the last minute to start a large project. Create a list of what you need to do (in order of when you need to do it) and knock a little bit out each day. Before you know it, you’ve got a big project well under control.
Celebrate the Victories. One of the best parts of a productive day is sitting down at the end of it and feeling victorious, knowing you’ve accomplished something. Remember to regularly take time for yourself to celebrate the progress you’ve made and your accomplishments. We all deserve breaks, so tell yourself after you complete a specific item on your list, you can take a quick break. Then, actually do it. Take a walk around the block or go get something to drink. Many studies show that these short breaks can actually help you boost productivity, creativity, and motivation. Celebrate the small victories, so you can focus on the long haul.