Staying On Track

Throughout any given day we all face a number of distractions and temptations to procrastinate, stopping us from getting done what we need to and throwing us right off track. It's easy to do especially in a work environment or when working from home.

You know how it is. You just settle down to work and the phone rings or the doorbell goes. You're trying to concentrate on a particular task and multiple emails keep popping up in your inbox. You really need to finish this one thing and your work colleague wants to chat about what she got up to this weekend - and you want to hear and join in so you're easily swayed! So many distractions so how to get anything done?

I face this very problem myself every day, even working on my own, so I've been seeking some advice on how to keep focused and I thought I would share my five top tips here on the blog today. This is just what works for me and I hope you find the ideas useful - if you have anything to add then as always please let me know in the comments below.

STAYING ON TRACK TOP FIVE

1. Identify your main distractions. What is it that really turns your attention away from your work. It's different for everyone but be honest with yourself. If you can't stop pinning away on Pinterest then you need to address it! If you can't resist a long chat on the phone with a friend then you know you need to tackle this. If you're always feeling hungry and keep heading to the fridge then you need to eat a better breakfast! Once you know what it is that really breaks up your personal concentration then you can look at the best way to manage it. If you're wasting time on unnecessary tasks be honest with yourself and stop using them as excuses to avoid your real workload.

2. Plan and make a proper to do list. At the beginning of your day, or even the night before, sit down and work out what really needs doing in order of priority. What do you need to accomplish that day? Work out what to tackle first and how long you will need to approach it. Do you need input or assistance from someone else? How will this work with your planned schedule? Avoid the temptation to put the things you want to do the least to the bottom of the pile. Get them over and done with then you will be free to work on the things you're more excited about without having that looming project hanging over you. You might find some further useful tips in this previous post Organise Me.

3. Work offline. Email and social media form a huge part of most of our working lives nowadays. Yet we all know that whilst their benefits can be undeniable they can also be the biggest suckers of your time and your worst distraction. If you really have to get a certain task completed then why not go offline for a while, turn your phone off and focus solely on the task at hand. It might sound like a frightening prospect but really the world is unlikely to end and you'll find yourself getting a lot more done in a much more focused and shorter time frame. 

4. Clean up your work space and get organised. Having too much clutter on your desk and working in a messy environment can be a real distraction for the mind. Take some time to clean up your work space so that you can feel more zen when knuckling down to your next task. It may be time for Winter but perhaps it's also time for a good Spring Clean!

5. Allow yourself regular breaks. Working long hours, through your lunch and into the night doesn't always mean getting more done. As previously discussed in my work-life balance post - longer hours don't always equal greater productivity. Allow yourself regular breaks to clear your mind and refresh yourself. If you're just not getting somewhere with one particular task then try moving on to something else for a while. Ok so that's technically allowing a distraction but it's a thought out one, allowing you time to refocus before facing the project again - hopefully with a fresher approach and a clearer mind.

FURTHER READING

Top 10 Ways To Defeat Distractions And Get Your Work Done - Lifehacker.com

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Do you have trouble staying focused during your working day or in life in general? What do you do to get back on track and avoid procrastination?

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