Let’s face it. Social media and emails eat a lot of productive time at the workplace. As per an Attentive survey, an average worker spends about 13 hours a week on checking and responding to emails. Social media platforms take up even more time than this. This is alarming, especially when we are facing difficulties in meeting deadlines and completing tasks on time even with the use of a productivity tool.
Another report has revealed that employees at large organizations send more than 200 Slack messages every week and over 1000 messages on a normal workday. All these activities distract employees and decrease their productivity significantly. In such a scenario, it is necessary for employees to keep the focus on work to enhance their value in the organization and improve the work-life balance.
Let’s go through four proven and powerful tips to increase focus in the workplace.
Four Tips to Increase Focus in Your Work
1. Set Priority of Daily Tasks
It all starts with prioritizing your daily tasks. Usually, we start our workday with pending tasks, irrespective of their importance. We tend to arrange them based on our choice or take care of each task as they arise. But, this way brings inefficiency and fails us to accomplish important tasks on time. Therefore, it is necessary to prioritize all the tasks.
As per the popular notion- do the hardest tasks first- it is better to finish difficult tasks prior to other tasks. We can focus more on such tasks in the beginning, and therefore, we can complete them on time. However, it is fair to mention that all difficult tasks need not be important. You can set the priority of tasks using a productivity tool or a tool called the Eisenhower matrix.
As per the Eisenhower matrix, we can segregate daily tasks into four groups based on urgency and importance-
– Important and Urgent (Immediate Priority)
– Important but not Urgent (Scheduling)
– Not Important but Urgent (Delegation)
– Not Important and not Urgent (Elimination)
This tool can assist employees to improve their focus and increase productivity.
2. Set Deadlines
As per Parkinson’s law, work expands to fill the time available for it. Simply put, if we allocate 3 weeks for an activity, it will take almost 3 weeks to be completed. In other words, a large time frame gives us room to procrastinate on our tasks. Now, think of one month to complete these tasks. It will certainly make us more efficient and productive as we need to complete tasks in a shorter time.
Parkinson’s law is about evaluating the work we do because there is always a possibility for improvement. It is, therefore, necessary to set deadlines. When we set deadlines or time limits for tasks, our focus on those tasks intensifies, and we can easily eliminate the minutiae. As a project manager, you can help your team members plan a task, and set their time limit 10% to 20% shorter than the usual time frame.
If their performance does not get affected, then you can set their new timeframe by another 10% to 20% in the next allocation to see how quickly they can accomplish tasks without decreasing quality.
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3. Block Distractions Completely
A computer science professor, Cal Newport has coined the term deep work. It denotes the way of working in which we focus on a demanding task completely while blocking out all sorts of distractions for a particular period. This deep work model is based on the fact that humans are not much capable of multitasking, and their speed increases significantly when they concentrate solely on a single task.
The University of California has conducted interesting research. As per the university’s report, once you have been derailed from a task due to any distraction or an interruption, it takes around 23 minutes to get back on track. It means that even five minutes of our productive time are given to any distraction that can cause almost half an hour’s loss
Deep work is a viable solution for this issue. You can create time slots for the important tasks in a workday. While working on tasks, it is necessary to avoid all distractions including emails, phone calls, and the like. You can also give clear instructions to coworkers, so they do not interrupt you during deep work.
4. Use Productivity Tools
At times, we look at a massive and complex project. It makes us overwhelmed, and as a result, we tend to procrastinate until the deadline comes near. Here, a feature-rich productivity tool comes in handy. It not only helps us segregate all complex tasks but also motivates us to complete tasks as per priority within the deadline.
Another important tool is proactive metrics. It can change the way we work and improve our performance. Proactive metrics also enable us to break a large goal into smaller goals. These goals are easier to complete on time, and they can improve your attention significantly.
Here, as a project manager or a team leader, you need to select the right productivity tool for your team. These days, many such tools are available in the market, and it is difficult to find the most suitable productivity tool for your enterprise. However, you can opt for a demo and find the right tool.
Focus on work is highly important in the corporate world to accomplish projects on time and increase the value. A focused approach can help us stand out from the crowd while improving the work-life balance. At the end of the day, the increasing focus at work is about making insightful decisions to improve the way we work.
Tell us how we can improve?