Whether you’re coding websites, writing content or selling advertisement, time seems to slip away before that to-do list is kaput. With so many distractions (social media, Netflix, Reddit.com), it’s no wonder workers struggle to stay focused. A Gallup study found that employees with access to a desktop computer, paper document, mobile device and desk phone spend two minutes and 11 seconds on a single device before switching, on average.
Workers aren’t helpless against the wave of workplace distractions, however. Simple strategies can help you focus on the task at hand and get the most out of your work day. From software that helps you tune out social feeds to breaks that recharge your batteries, these tactics will ramp up your productivity.
90 Minutes on, 15 Minutes Off
You’ve felt that subtle push from your employer. “It wouldn’t hurt if you stayed late today.” “Be prepared to work some weekends.” That means longer hours, shorter lunches and fewer vacations. A growing amount of research indicates that isn’t always better when it comes to productivity, according to Nytimes.com. Research at Florida State University found that elite athletes and musicians produce in uninterrupted 90-minute sessions. After that, they take a break and forget about work. Watch the clock if you’re looking for more focus. Whether you’re planning cash management strategies for your business, researching ideas for a blog or building a social media presence, once 90 minutes is up, take a break and stop thinking.
Social media are an integral part of marketing and customer service for many businesses, but it has also become common distraction for cubicle-bound professionals. As technology creates problems, technology creates solutions. Anti-Social is an application that turns off social elements of the Internet, thus reducing the potential for tweets, post and pics to derail you from the task at hand. When it’s time to get social at work, disable Anti-Social and join the conversation.
Check Emails Later
Most of the time, it’s not laziness or a poor work ethic that prevents professionals from digging into their assignments. Rather, it’s the menial tasks that drain time and waste brain power. Microsoft program manager Scott Hanselman suggests that professionals should rethink their priorities when they sit down in the morning. His first tip is to avoid email in the morning. “Email in the morning is how you time-travel to 2 p.m.,” Hanselman said, according to Linkedin.com. Give a quick scan, if you must, and trust that anything urgent will make it to your desk eventually. A productive morning will set the tone for the rest of the day.
A Change of Pace
After weeks and months at the same desk, it’s easy to feel out of ideas. In a job that requires fresh-thinking, creativity and inspiration, a new setting can spark productivity better than any program or time-management technique. Work outside, work in the lobby, (or if you’re lucky) work from home. A new environment can reinvigorate your work life and tap into unreached potential.