It’s beginning to feel a lot like summertime. The sun is shining, holidays are cropping up: Memorial Day, Fourth of July, (flag day?). During lunch break you breathe in the sweet summer air and become vehemently jealous of any tourists casually strolling around and enjoying the outside. You can’t stop thinking about your beach trip this weekend.
I understand — it’s tough to stay focused with beautiful weather and a yearning to be untethered from your desk. However, the more focused and productive you become, I guarantee the more you will enjoy your spare time after work and on weekends — also, your boss is way more apt approve your Fourth of July time off! Here are a few tips to keep you on your A game, and to help you steer clear of daydreaming about the beach…for too long.
Prioritize & List
Figure out what exactly you need to do each day. What is the most important thing that needs attention? The second? The third? Etc. etc. Instead of just mulling these things over in your brain write it down. Having a visual absolutely helps. Create a list of what you’re going to work on every day — it will feel amazing crossing things off.
After you’ve figured out WHAT you need to work on, decide how much time each task will take. Rather than moving full speed ahead with no regard to how much time you have or will spend — deadline yourself. Assign hours to each task you will be working on daily. Once the hours are up, move on! Pat yourself on the back for sticking to the plan and crunching in as much focused work as you could during the allotted time. Staying organized is key.
Obviously! But it’s also important to take a break here and there. Along with your other tasks, assign some time to take a breather. It’s different for everyone but it’s unreasonable to believe you can go full steam for 8-10 hours a day, every day, forever! It’s not going to happen. Take a walk, grab a coffee, sign onto gchat/facebook/rue la la for a few minutes. Get your fix, then LOG OUT, exit the shopping screen, put your away message up and get back to work.
Leave work at work. If you have honestly been as productive and focused as possible then there is no need to think about work after hours. Leave the stress there, and reward yourself by taking time for yourself. If you think about work all of the time, you will begin to feel burned out, and that will never lead to focused productivity. Enjoy your weekends to the fullest and by the time Monday rolls around you will be refreshed and ready for the work week. I guarantee the more time you spend focusing on work and being productive the more you will be able to truly enjoy weekends, happy hours, and the like.
It’s going to be really hard to stay focused if you feel like taking a nap all day long. If you’re committed to staying focused at work, make sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep. If caffeine helps you to stay alert, go for the coffee — but not too much because you will crash in the afternoon. Also drinking lots of water will help you to feel energized. If you feel yourself slumping in your chair, fix your posture and sit up straight. Exercise also increases your energy so try taking a brisk afternoon walk to keep lively.
Good post, Katy! I’ve been using various productivity tips for a while now, and you’re spot on — using tools for Lists (with ability to prioritize) and Time Management (I recently started tracking every minute I spent) really does help stay focused and avoid distractions.