Staying focused and on task is something that many people struggle with for most of their adult lives. Especially with the advent of mobile devices and the many distractions that are out there.
However, it doesn’t have to be that hard, there are a lot of great ways you can help yourself get more done without becoming overly worried that you are not “on task” or that you’re “slacking”.
One of the largest issues I have had with the concept of being “on task” is that it is something everyone can do for hours at a time. Maybe there is some secret group of people out there that can stay focused for hours on end – but I haven’t met them.
What you can do is work on being more productive during the times that you need to be focused and setting minimums for working on a project or task – for example, I use the Pomodoro technique throughout the day when I really need to concentrate, but that isn’t the only trick up my sleeve and that isn’t how I slice up my entire day.
While I advise looking into the Pomodoro ideas, as they can be applied to office workers, home workers, and more, there’s ore out there that might work for you – here’s some additional ideas worth checking out:
The idea of quadrants is interesting – I haven’t used it exactly, but the end point is good: Not all tasks are equal and not everything deserves the same amount of time! While this sounds obvious when stated out loud, we generally are not very good at lowering the priority of tasks or completely getting rid of them in order to work on the most important tasks and projects.
Sometimes this is procrastination, sometimes it’s just the way we work!
Time wasting is another way you can regain your time and increase your productivity.
Now – this doesn’t mean that you can NEVER check Facebook or take a break! What this means is getting on top of your time wasters and being aware of how you spend your day.
Try keeping a log for a day or two of everything you do during the day. Note when you take out your phone, look at social media, etc.
Now, see if you can minimize the disruptive portions. This doesn’t mean eliminating, but perhaps you can group things together and spend 30 minutes on social media in the evening or morning instead of throughout the day. Maybe checking email every 15 minutes isn’t REALLY needed…
Some great tips here and one of them really stands out to me, “Get the hardest tasks out-of-the-way first”. That is so true. You will never have more motivation or willpower as the day goes on, so get to work on your hardest tasks up front. This stops procrastination and helps you move forward and build momentum that will assist you in the rest of your tasks.
I put this to use by taking care of the most important tasks of my day in the morning after I do my daily review. This, for me, means talking to employees, solving any issues that came up in the last 24-48 hours with the business, and working on creative material that takes brain power – which is going to be taking a nose-dive later in the day!