The only way to be truly successful at something, is to concentrate and put the work in to execute it. But some days, life catches up with you. You may not be feeling well or may be having issues with your personal life. On these days, it's hard to concentrate on the task at hand. Most of us don't have the luxury of waiting a day to get the job done.
Here are four great tips on how to focus when there are other things on your mind:
1. Remember to take breaks.
You just can't work 24/7. When you do, you end up burning out and having trouble focusing. Remember that you need to take breaks for sleep, food, and to do something fun. It's good for you to think about something else for a while, and remember that no matter of focused you are, you deserve a break.
It's proven that someone who takes time for themselves ends up being more efficient when they are working. What should you do during that time? Try getting up to get some water, going for a walk outside, or chatting with a co-worker about something different. You'll return to your work energized.
2. Group tasks together.
Did you know that every time your brain switches from one activity to another, it takes you time to get into the groove? It takes 15 minutes, to be exact.
So, here's how you can save time. Batch your similar work together so that you don't have to be shifting gears every 15 minutes. That means that if you are writing emails, do a good chunk of them before getting to writing proposals, and do those for a while before reading up for your meetings.
3. Live in the present.
When you are having trouble focusing, usually, something else is on your mind. We are all guilty of daydreaming at some time or another. We can be imagining what we're going to do on the weekend, or planning for the next work project. Whatever it is on your mind, write it down and put it aside while you work on the task you need to complete more imminently.
Having a hard time implementing this? Try setting a timer for 25 minutes, and during that time, you turn off all other distractions and promise yourself that you will work solidly for that 25 minutes. After that, give yourself a short break. You will be surprised how quickly that 25 minutes goes once you get sucked into your work.
4. Stop multitasking.
When you're having trouble focusing, try dropping everything else from your plate and focusing on doing the one things that matters most. Although the 1980s and the 1990s were spent teaching people how to do many things at once, the truth is that humans only have enough attention span to do one thing well at a time.
Also, you need to give yourself enough time to focus on that one important task. That means turning off all distractions, like your cell phone, your office phone, and email notifications.Can't keep your phone off because you might get an urgent call? At least turn off your notifications for social media, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and consider checking your email at only certain times of the day.
What tips and tricks do you use to be your most productive? Let me know on Twitter.