8 Great Tips to Help You Focus At Work

1. Start Working First Thing In The Morning

When you sit down to your computer for the first time in the morning, start working immediately!  Since your brain is still half asleep, it doesn’t fully realize that you are actually working, so it won’t resist.

Whenever you begin the day this way, the whole day flows in the productive-tone.  However, if you start by fooling around on Facebook, Twitter, reading RSS feeds, your whole day seems lazy and you accomplish a lot less in the end.

This trick has probably the biggest return on investment (ROI) of all of these.  What’s the investment?  Well, it takes just a little spark of your will power to start working in the morning.  This little morning-spark can ignite an enormous day-fire of productivity.

Whatever you do, start working when you sit at your computer for the first time.  Even if just for a couple of minutes.

Any work done “first thing in the morning” counts triple.

2.  Divide and Conquer

When you have a “Task 1” that you don’t feel like doing , and you would much rather do anything else, but your deadline due date is looming, do the following:

Tell yourself that you will merely write down a few quick steps needed to complete the task.  Just a rough draft, at first, and that’s it.  Maybe just 3 steps.  You then add more steps, breaking the 3 steps into smaller sub-tasks.  Then add some details, and thoughts, notes of things that you shouldn’t forget when doing this task.  You just think the task through and write everything down.  Soon, without realizing it, you will be the proud author of “The Complete Guide To Finishing Task 1 for Dummies”.

Now, with this documentation in hand, just start nipping away at it step-by-step.  You might do just the first baby step at first, but that is fine.  It follows to the next, and to the next, and before you know it, the task is finished!

When you are thinking about how to accomplish the task, you are already actually accomplishing it.  And once you think it through, it seems ridiculously easy to do!

3.  Don’t Eat in front of your Computer

You never accomplish *anything* while eating at your desk.  As you eat in front of your computer, you usually browse on the internet, or stare at the screen of code in Visual Studio while day-dreaming, at best.  What’s worse, your food simply won’t taste that good as your mind is drifted among so many things on the computer screen.

Always sit to an actual table, like a civilized person, and enjoy your meal without staring at the addictive hypnotic evils of your computer screen.

Now, while you are enjoying your food at the table, you might come up with fresh ideas on what you want to do once you get back to your desk.  You’ll be so eager to return to it and do actual work when you get back!  The phoney feeling of being productive while eating at your computer is eliminated.

4.  Take a Break away from your Computer

Expanding on point #3, when you need a break, do not launch Facebook, Windows Live or your web browser, but actually GET UP and GET AWAY from the computer!  Go for a walk, take a 10-minute nap, get a coffee, have a fruit snack, do some stretching exercises, chat with a co-worker, or just generally chill out without looking at the computer screen.

When you return, your brain will feel refresh.  Use this energy to resume your work.

5.  “Back to work” mantra

Keep saying “back to work”, whenever appropriate, until it kicks in automatically whenever something/someone distracts you.

Just completed a small task?  “Back to work!”  Finished answering a call?  “Back to work.”  Someone interrupted you?  “Back to work!”  Rebooted Your Computer?  “Back to work.”

Get used to feeling great everytime you tell yourself “Back to work” and resume working.

6.  Always knowing what to do next

Keep your To-Do List up-to-date.  Whenever you need to know what to do next, bring up this To-Do List.

7.  Sheet of paper with the most important task

Although electronic To-Do List apps are awesome, good old physical paper has an intricate quality that no software can offer: It exists outside of your computer.

When I have high priority tasks on my plate, I often write them down on an actual physical paper, and put the sheet of paper right in front of me.  It will be a constant physical reminder of what I want to do and keep my focus.  Works like a charm!

And don’t forget the exquisite pleasure of physically checking the tasks off with a red pen, and the final crumbling of the paper into a ball once all your tasks are crossed off your To-Do List.

This has the biggest effect when you prepare such a paper before leaving work or going to bed, because it will be the first thing you see when you get back to work the next morning (see point #1).

8.  Plan Your Next Move

When you are falling asleep, think about the most important task for the next day.  Your subconscious mind will do half the job for you during the night.  As you’re thinking about next day’s task, close your eyes, your mind will eventually get tired and you’ll get a very good night sleep!

Published in: on April 23, 2011 at 8:52 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. Admiring the time and effort you put into your site and detailed information you offer. Its awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isnt the same unwanted rehashed material. Wonderful read! Ive saved your site and Im adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

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