Staying focused and maintaining consistent efficiency can be difficult to do at work, especially for busy executives and entrepreneurs. Your “to-do” list may be a mile long, and it is overwhelming. Take it one task at a time and get to a comfortable stopping point.
Do not over promise to clients or vendors if you are unsure that you can deliver. This is added stress that only decreases productivity and the willingness to efficiently deliver a perfect product.
Block unnecessary applications from your mobile devices and computer. When you know that you do not have access to social media, email and game apps you will be able to focus better on the task at-hand. Apps are available to block distractions by inputting a specific app name and/or website URL and a specific block of time. If you attempt to access the blocked items, you will be warned that you have them blocked and can return to working.
Schedule Short Breaks
If you have the luxury of working for yourself, schedule a 10-minute break every 2 hours. This gives you an opportunity to get up, move around and get some fresh air. Take the opportunity to stretch your body and help increase blood circulation in your body. By taking multiple and shorter breaks, the next task will seem easier to complete.
Break Tasks into Time Blocks
Give each task that you have for the day a set amount of time. Consider it a game with yourself to see if you can complete the task, and do it correctly, in a specified amount of time. Not only does this help your day go by fast, your attention is solely on the current task, not what is next or what you forgot to do earlier. It is ideal to schedule the most important tasks for the time of day that you are typically the most productive.
Multi-tasking takes energy from your body that leaves you feeling sluggish in the afternoon. Once your motivation is gone, your focus and efficiency go out the door with it. Multi-tasking takes your primary thought process and throws it off. Once you are distracted, it takes about 64 seconds to recover from a distraction like email and social media notifications.
Stick to one task at a time and complete it before diving into something else. Leaving tasks unfinished can mean that your efficiency will be lacking in terms of quality and accuracy.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Living a healthy lifestyle is important. You must make time for some kind of physical activity daily to help reduce stress and get some exercise in. It is also important that you adopt a sleep schedule and stick to it. Getting enough rest is a key component to staying on-task (focused) and completing your daily work properly.
Along with sleeping enough and getting some exercise, your eating habits should also change. Steer clear from carbs late at night. Reduce your caffeine intake after dinner and reduce your alcohol consumption too.
When you do have sluggish feelings in the afternoon, have a protein packed snack like almonds, a hard-boiled egg or fresh protein shake. Salty snacks dehydrate you and sugary snacks provide artificial energy that can cause your brain to end up being more distracted.
Procrastination is the biggest focus buster. Waiting until the absolute last minute to do something likely means that you will forget other things and stop to take care of them too. It also means that you will rush, forgetting important information and have to redo your work later.
A tip to help prevent procrastinating is: Schedule your tasks a day or two in advance of their required delivery times. Train your brain to stick to posted deadlines, not what you already know is the actual deadline.
Separate your Personal and Business Lives
Although it may be difficult to do, it is important that your personal life stays outside of the business office. Bringing your personal dilemmas to work with you only means that your focus is on what is happening in your personal life and not what is happening at the office. Simple details, that can mean big mistakes, can be missed.
Create a daily routine and stick to it. Straying from your routine can also negatively impact your efficiency and focus at work. Most of what is needed to stay efficient and maintain focus at work is just having the will-power to do so. It takes discipline and having a willingness to excel, advance and earn raises by performing your job well.
About the Author
I am a regular writer for Forbes, Inc., Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Media (among others), as well as CEO and Chairman of Alumnify Inc. Proud alum from 500 Startups and The University of San Diego. Follow me on Twitter @ajalumnify