We’ve all had that day: you wake up knowing you have a million relevant tasks and goals to complete in the next 8-10 hours, but you can’t seem to focus on your computer screen. (Confession – I am experiencing one of those today!)
But sometimes it doesn’t just seem like a crazy day – sometimes your craziness has no end! So what should you do to be the most productive you can be today so that you can hopefully decrease the craziness of tomorrow?
Instead of just searching the internet for different ways to focus, I thought it would be more valuable to ask my fellow teammates here at Holmes. Below, you will find the tips and tricks my coworkers use to stay focused on our clients and solving their problems.
Write it down and make a list
Your brain can’t handle keeping everything straight at a time, so give it a break! Take five or ten minutes at the beginning of your day to jot down your three or four goals for the day. Or, do a huge brain dump and write down everything you have to accomplish in the order of importance.
If you are a book reader, I recommend Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog! It is a quick and fun read to help you brainstorm the best way for you to be productive with your day.
Stop, Evaluate, Prioritize, Dive In!
When you look up at your browser and realize you have more than ten tabs open, it might be a time to recenter your thinking. Stop everything you are doing and clear your brain. Take five minutes to not think about anything. Then, take a look at the tasks you still need to complete for the day. Which ones are the most pressing? If they are all pressing (which happens often) which one is going to be the MOST difficult to complete? Do that one first. That way, when you move onto the other tasks, they don’t seem nearly as daunting as the first one.
Just Ignore Everyone and Everything
While this won’t work for a lot of positions, especially if you are a client facing employee, sometimes it is appropriate to hang your “Do Not Disturb – for ANY Reason” sign. Quarterly reports, crunchtime projects, or brainstorming are some of the tasks that fall under this area. If you work in a joint workspace, respectfully let your coworkers know that you will be unavailable to them for the next hour or two. If you have space, reserve the conference room or a huddle room for just yourself or a team member that is helping you on the project.
It is a myth that humans can multitask and be more productive on cognitive tasks such as watching t.v. and scrolling through Facebook. In the previously linked article, there is a test for you to see if you really can multitask. Give it a try and let us know how you do!
Instead of switching back and forth between two tasks and have it take twice or even three times as long to complete both of them, just focus on one at a time. You will be able to keep up your train of thought for a longer period of time and you will also finish tasks faster the more you practice.
Mute Your Phone
Set times every day for your phone to be silent and out of your line of site. Maybe from 9 a.m. to noon you only allow yourself to look at your phone each time you complete a task or goal. You know the old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind!”
This is also a good tip to have follow you home. Try setting times in the week where the family is screen-free. Maybe start out with Tuesdays from 6 – 9. If you think this isn’t enough, increase it to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Or, make it an hour and a half every weekday from 6 – 7:30. Feel free to have a discussion with your spouse and your kids to figure out what works for all of you. Be intentional about filling that time. Take a family walk, play a board game, or learn to meditate as a family! Be creative and inclusive – you will be amazed at the increase in communication between family members in the coming months.
Track Your Time
Keep a journal of what you do every day. Much like keeping a food diary, keeping a time diary will show you very quickly where the junk exists. After a couple of weeks or months of writing down your day, analyze how you spend your time. You might find that over time your time wasting starts to naturally disappear since you know you will have to own up to it at the end of the day!
Find Out What Works Best for You
While these are some of the tips and tricks the Holmes team does, it does not mean that they are the only success stories. Just do a quick Google search on ‘Tips to Stay Focussed,’ you’ll be amazed at the results you see. Find out what works best for you, and don’t be afraid to experiment!