Focusing on one job at a time can sometimes be difficult. And even when you do manage to focus, it can then be difficult to maintain that focus. After all, there are so many distractions, from our phones (or even watches, these days), to thinking about what you’ve got to do next, and tomorrow, and what you are going to do when you finish work this evening.
With so much going on, how does one stay properly focused at work? How does one stay efficiently and effectively on-task in order to consistently produce quality work?
In this blog post we’re going to look at 7 simple ways you can improve your productivity with proper focus. As well as how with the right productivity tools you can better maintain your focus and achieve optimal productivity.
The right daily routine, having a plan, and knowing your goals will help you properly focus and boost your productivity tenfold.
It’s ideal to set daily, weekly, monthly and project-specific goals. This is the simplest way to organize your work week, and allow you to focus on what’s in front of you.
By breaking your day up into manageable goals, you can then plan the day out. Which allows you to stay focused on that specific task, and so increase your productivity.
Make sure you set reasonable goals. The best way to do this is work backwards. If you have a project due in 3 months, figure out what you need to do in order to accomplish that. Then break it down into monthly, weekly, and daily tasks.
Read more on the power of setting short-term goals
Once you’ve set your daily, weekly, monthly, goals it’s time to make a list of tasks that you need to get done today. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Don’t worry about next week. You need to focus on today.
You will want to have your list centrally located; some place like a productivity app. At the beginning of a project, it’s a good idea to make out all the work necessary for its successful completion.
And then only focus on what’s in front of you for today. Make off each task as you go—this will help with motivation and keep you focused on the task at hand.
This is derived from a Mark Twain quote that then became the title of a Ben Tracy book. Essentially, it means do the hardest task first.
If there are a few tasks which seem daunting or difficult. Pick the worst one. And get it out of the way. You will find by tackling the biggest, ugliest task first you will have a greater sense of accomplishment throughout the rest of the day.
It is also practical to tackle the biggest task first thing. It is when you have the most energy, you are the most alert, and so more likely up for the challenge.
If you focus all your attention on getting the task down and maintain that focus until the task is complete you will find your productivity will increase dramatically throughout the rest of the day.
You are not properly focused if you’re multitasking. While there is something to be said for multitasking, to a point, if you truly want to improve your productivity and be more efficient, then focus on one task.
In fact, none of us are properly focused if we’re multitasking. It requires your brain to shift from one point to another, which means your focus and attention is split between multiple things.
Often the analogy of juggling is used, but, in truth, juggling is a single act: juggling. And while you may be juggling three or four things this is still the singular act of juggling.
Perhaps a better analogy would be if you were juggling, watching a movie, and trying to make a hot drink. You surely cannot do all three things well. You mind is across three things, trying to focus on three things. Which means at any one time you aren’t focused on two things and truly are not properly focused on any one thing.
But sticking to one task until it is completed, you are properly focused on that task, allowing you to better, more efficiently, and thoroughly complete it.
Read more on breaking the myth for work-life balance
There is too much noise nowadays.
When you are working, work. Social media can wait till your next break. A study conducted last year showed that the average worker spends almost 25% of their work day looking at their phone for non-work-related activities.
Twenty-five percent is a huge amount of the work day to lose. Just think of how much more productive you could be with that time.
Also: bouncing between non-work-related activities on your phone and doing actual work will mean you need to constantly re-focus on what you’re doing. Which adds to the wasted time.
Better to complete the tasks and leave the digital world until your break. This will allow you to stay properly focused and so be far more productive than the constant stop start of pausing to check social media.
Creating to-do lists is quite common.
But what about a list of things not to do? That’s right. Life is busy and messy. And there’s lots of things to do—lots of things you want to do. Think back to last week, and everything you did just before and during work that detracted from your productivity, or distracted you from your work.
Write these things down on a list and keep it handy. This list is all things you’re going to stop doing on a daily basis to help you better focus. By writing the list you will become much more aware of these activities and stop doing them. Or, at least, cut down on them.
In this way you will find yourself with more time, energy, and focus.
The conventional wisdom is that you should get up early, exercise, shower, breakfast, and then go about your day. Except not everyone is an early riser. After all, if you are a night owl, getting up early doesn’t make sense. Rather than saying “you should get up at 5am” it’s better to say you should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep. And then start your morning routine.
By establishing a healthy morning routine that suits your lifestyle you will be better prepare yourself for the day, and be ready for a productive day.
To boost productivity tenfold, you should be laser focused on the task in front of you. But that can be hard sometimes. When you have a million and one things to do, it can difficult to focus in one that one task you’ve got to work on right now.
Which means your focus is all over the place, and you can’t truly be productive if you’re stressing out about just how much work there is to do.
This is where project management software comes in. When it comes to successfully completing a project, you need to work effectively as a team and as individuals. Which means having an understanding of what the team’s goals are, as well as your own.
Two of Quire’s features are incredibly useful when it comes to being properly focused on one task at a time to allow for maximum productivity.
These two features are:
Sublists are great for individuals who want a distraction-free view of their tasks, without annoying other team members by creating a ton of tags all over the place.
The sublist feature allows you to take all the tasks (and subtasks) on a particular topic and put them together. Allowing you to work on the necessary tasks at the necessary time. And you can go back to the master list to see what the team is doing at any time.
Quire Sublists are great in team environments when a project is just starting out and there are an overwhelming number of tasks to get to. By sifting out your specific tasks into a sublist you can start working distraction free. Providing you with the proper focus you need to be as productive as possible.
Quire’s peekaboo feature is a way of sidelining all tasks that need to be done but are neither important nor urgent. This also helps you stay focused on what matters, when it matters, with the added bonus of no tasks being forgotten.
Read more on how to set up GTD method to live a stress-free life
How will they not be forgotten? Well, you can set a timer so that they tasks show back up on your active task list.
The Peekaboo and Sublist features are just two of the ways Quire helps people manage projects, maximize efficiencies and boost productivity.
If you would like to know more, or if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.