This week has been tough, with so many things going on right now personally and professionally that it’s hard to stay focused. There are a million distractions, with new must-do’s coming up, things I need to remember for after work, and the never ending office noises that are fighting to steal my attention. Some days it seems impossible.
There are times that I can really focus and I don’t need to put an effort into drowning out the distractions, but when I do, here are some of my go-to’s that help me stay on task and not run towards every shiny object or get sucked in to the latest office gossip.
Say NO to Multi-Tasking
Ron Swanson was 100% right when he said “never half-ass two things, whole ass one thing” (if you don’t get it go watch every episode of Parks & Recreation right now). Multi-tasking always seems like a good idea, but your brain is not capable of putting your full attention (or as much as needed) on to two important task. Sure, you can watch TV and fold laundry, but trying to analyze sales history information to make an informed decision while simultaneously trying to be present on a conference call is going to make you look like a fool. Plus, this kind of juggling always leaves me angry, annoyed, and usually not much farther along than when I started.
Simply focus on one task at a time. It may seem like you don’t have enough time in the day, but if Oprah can get it all done in a day, so can you. Plus, it’ll take you half the time since your devoting your full attention and effort towards getting it accomplished.
The easiest way to get distracted is to constantly not know where anything is or what you have to do next. Keep a detailed plan for your day including daily tasks, meetings, and project to-dos. That way, if you find yourself struggling to keep it together, you can turn to your list and start slowly checking one thing off as you go, keeping the ball rolling. Also, keep your papers and drawers organized, nothing will derail you more than looking 20 minutes for a contract you knew you had just a moment ago.
Get Up And Walk Around
Feeling your attention drift and energy fall? Go take a walk! Sometimes we feel like sitting and keeping focused is what will save us from getting distracted, but sometimes we just need a break. Go get up and move around for a few minutes and get the blood moving again, go grab some more water. This will help get you on track faster than if you tried to just push through it.
When All Else Fails, Headphones
Sometimes nothing works to drain out the annoying people who talk to loud or from refraining to add your two-cents about the Grammy’s performance. Just throw in your headphones and crank some music or some podcasts to help get in the zone again. Staying in your own head will help prevent you from wasting 20 minutes talking about something unnecessary when you’ve got 12 deadlines to hit.
What to listen to really depends on who you are and what works for you. Here are some suggestions if you need something in the background to get you going:
Classical Music // Seems strange if you’re not usually in to it, but it’s proven to help you focus
Coffee Shop Radio on Spotify/Pandora // Chill background music that helps drown anything out
Stuff You Should Know Podcast // I’ve been obsessed with the one lately, very interesting stuff but not so interesting where it’s taking my focus away from what’s important
Side note, I couldn’t help put these pictures of tulips throughout the post – I’m too excited for spring!