Women are notorious multitaskers, and we often have a zillion and one things on our minds. But when at work, you just need to stay focused to get the job done. Here are some easy tips to try when you can’t afford to procrastinate on the job.
Clean up that mess
If you keep a tidy desk at work, congratulations! You are part of the exceptional few. However, if you have all sorts of clutter on your desk, even the important ones like reminders written on Post-It notes, chances are you’ll be glancing at them now and again and will lose focus from the work that needs to be done.
Pack away the post-its in a notebook (and remember to look at them later), throw away all junk (when was the last time you looked at that brochure since you got it?
Just Google the information when you need it), and organise all the neccessities to appear clean and streamlined, lending a calm and serene ambience to your desk so that you can focus on nothing else but work.
Get rid of distractions
Find out what distractions take up a lot of your time and put them away or turn them off.
If you find yourself often checking messages on your phone and feel the need to answer texts immediately, just turn off the app and put away your phone in your bag or drawer (but keep your ringer loud enough to give you peace of mind that you will not be out of reach in case of emergencies).
Believe it or not, you’ll forget about your phone almost immediately and will be able to focus on your work easier, and for a longer period of time, too.
Need to answer emails? Schedule a later time to look at them if your current project or report ranks higher in priority.
You may not be able to finish the work in a couple of hours, but at least you would have had a lot more done at a certain time during the day, say by lunch time, if you didn’t spend a big chunk of it answering emails that are probably not that urgent anyway.
Write a long list of to-dos
Still think you need a “mental break” every 5 to 10 minutes? Then maybe you should spend 5 to 10 minutes writing down all your to-dos from every Post-It note you saved in a long list on one sheet of paper.
Everytime you feel like you need to check Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, whatever your choice social media distraction may be, just look at this list to remind you that the clock is ticking and you have no time at all to spend fiddling on the Internet.
FOMO is real and you need to stay on top of it. Don’t worry, if something was really important to you, the person posting it would find a way to make sure you got the message, and that message would still be there after office hours.
Aim for complete silence
Okay, this might be a bit hard if you’re working in an office with any number of colleagues, even when no one is speaking to anyone.
But research has shown that working in complete silence leads to higher productivity compared to working with white noise (sounds you put on to block out other distractions, for example classical music or sounds of waves) and, of course, working with noisy noise around you.
Of course, complete silence may not be an option for many of us. You can put on some white noise if you have always found that this helps – apparently it works better for extroverts compared to introverts according to the study done by two researchers at the Glasgow Caledonian University.
A little bit of distraction might help with focus for such individuals. If not, you can just put on your headphones without playing any music to buffer any noise around the office, while also signalling to others that you are not in the mood for any kind of chitchat. If your office has many work stations for staff to use, pick up your laptop and move to a quiter area, if possible.
Text by Reza Zurien