Can you believe we're almost halfway through the year already? It's easy to get lost amidst the noise and clutter as we go about our daily lives. So this time of the year is always good for self-reflection and to revisit our goals and resolutions.
We have put together some tips on how you can stay focus, improve your productivity and work towards your goals.
5 Ways to Ditch Digital Distractions
Did you refresh Instagram one more time just in case someone updated their story in the last two seconds? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. In fact, studies show that most people spend an average of eight hours a week just on notifications. That’s an entire workday!
But to avoid low productivity due to going down notification rabbit holes and off on social media tangents, maybe try these five tips.
It’s important to optimise your schedule to work for you, not against you. So firstly, are you most productive first thing in the morning, or only later in the day? Take advantage of when you work best! And especially for parts of the day when you know you struggle to stay on track, make “Take a break” a mandatory to-do. Catch up on social media, or get a cup of coffee.
You control your to-dos, not the other way around. We can’t emphasise this enough, but getting your head organised about what you need to do BEFORE jumping into anything works wonders to keep you on task. When you give your mind a clear and direct path to concentrate on, you will be far less likely to get distracted by the commotion of the digital world.
Try the Pomodoro Technique
If you’re not sure how you work best, a good place to start might be the Pomodoro Technique. “Pomodoro” is Italian for “tomato”, referring to the tomato-shaped timer of Francesco Cirillo, the Italian university student who created this technique in the 1980s to promote concentration and productivity.
This technique schedules 25-minute time slots to FULLY IMMERSE yourself in work until your timer rings. Be sure to record your progress and enjoy your 5-minute short break as a reward for staying focused. Then the cycle begins again. You can set longer work and break timers as needed for more demanding tasks.
This method is helpful because it sets a clear time goal post for your mind. “After just these 25 minutes of intense focus, I would have accomplished a task and can enjoy a good break.” Nearing the end of each work time slot gives you that same boost of productivity that you feel when you’re nearing the end of your work day.
Take Advantage of the “Do Not Disturb” Feature
A study from the University of California determined that it only takes 20 minutes of interrupted performance to feel significantly more stressed and frustrated. Why? Because it forces your mind to switch gears.
Picture this: you’re in the report-writing flow, and your colleague emails you asking about your availability for a meeting next month. It’s not urgent, but you decide to respond right away. Here’s what happened in your mind: it might have been easy for you to switch gears away from report-writing, but getting back into it after you’ve replied that email will take a while.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t always need to respond to every notification right away. Thankfully your phone, laptop, Apple Watch, and any other technology should all have the capability to turn off notifications while you focus on your work. Utilising the ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature will create a boundary that will not only limit your daily dose of distractions, but also help you feel more in control of your workday.
Communicate Your No-Distractions Time To Your Team
If you are a remote worker, there is no way for your coworkers to visually see how focused you are on your tasks at any given time. So to avoid any potential misunderstandings or conflict, it’s important to communicate and help your teammates understand when you are shutting out distractions because you are “in the zone”.
A simple way to do this is by updating your status on the communication platform your team utilises, such as Slack, or dropping a message in your team chat. This way, your manager will be aware of what you are doing and your co-workers will wait until you are available again to ask any pending questions that aren’t urgent. Just don’t forget to change back your status when the work is complete!
Tune Into A Deep Focus Playlist
Let’s be honest. There are some days where it feels like you just can’t seem to focus no matter what you try. If short breaks aren’t working, 25 minutes of work seems like an eternity, and your brain finds it too easy to exit the ‘Do Not Disturb’ zone, this last technique might be right for you.
Your mind has a much better chance of focusing on a task and moving forward with a fast rhythm than trying to concentrate through the latest Lizzo album.
Source: Caryl Teh
Tips to Get Back on Track