BreakingModern — With our attention being pulled in so many directions, it’s tough to stay focused and productive at work. Here are a few tips from productivity experts to help you make the most of your time.
1. Change Your Email Habits
One way to stay focused is to turn checking email into a specific task rather than an ongoing activity. Productivity expert Julie Morgenstern recommends avoiding email during the first hour of your workday to help you stay focused on what is important.
She also recommends checking email at designated intervals, such as every 90 minutes or every two hours. Try closing the email tabs on your browser and turning off notifications on your mobile devices to help you avoid email distraction during the day.
2. A Must Do List
Start your day by writing your “must do” list. David Seah’s Emergent Task Planner is a great way to select the three things you definitely need to complete by the end of the day, and also to list other possible to-do items if you have time to get to them. This way, you’re starting your day based on what you want to complete, not by reacting to whatever items might be waiting in your inbox.
3. Save That Link for Later
To be productive at work, we need to have chunks of time where we’re closely focused on tasks in a goal-oriented way. David Rock, author of Your Brain at Work, calls this Focus Time.
Just one quick glance at an interesting link can tip you into black hole of the Internet for hours, compromising your ability to get things done. Instead of clicking on the link, use an app like Pocket to save the link to read later (you can also install the browser extension and add links to Pocket from the web).
4. Try Tabless Thursdays
We like to think of ourselves as multitasking machines but brain science is clear — multitasking is a myth. What we’re actually doing is quickly switching among several tasks but only focusing on one task at a time. When we try to focus on too many things at once, our concentration and our productivity both suffer.
James Hamblin M.D., health editor for The Atlantic, advocates for “Tabless Thursdays.” Each Thursday, when you open a web browser you can only look at one tab at a time. In order to open up another website, you have to close the one you’re on.
5. Bring the Coffee Shop to You
Research suggests that ambient noise has a positive effect on creative thinking. Dr. Ravi Mehta, says that moderate levels of noise — such as the noise at your local coffee shop — can help you bring more focus and creativity to your work.
If you can’t head to the coffee shop, try bringing the coffee shop to you with Coffitivity. The buzz of conversational chatter can help you stay focused and get things done. Unlike turning on Netflix or Pandora, where your attention will be divided between your work and your media, Coffitivity can provide the background soundtrack to help you stay focused.
Have a great way to stay productive? Let us know in the comments. Good luck!
Featured/First image credit: caffeinating, calculating, computerating by Ryan Ritchi via Flickr