You’ve already imagined it; today is going to be a productive day. You’ll finally finish your tasks and get it all over with. As you turn your computer on, you look at your to-do list and see everything you have to get done neatly spread before you. You feel optimistic because it’s only nine in the morning, and you have the whole day ahead. But you start receiving emails that seem urgent, so you tell yourself that you’ll reply to the emails first and then get on with the tasks.
Just when you’re about to finish, your colleague comments on the latest news, so you get curious and Google it. You spend the next ten minutes browsing through different news websites and get sucked into the world of celebrity gossip. The next thing you know, your coworkers are inviting you to join them for lunch. The whole morning has passed without you being able to do anything productive.
Does this scenario sound familiar to you? It could be television, social media sites, or funny cat videos—the distractions can be different for each of us. However, the commonality is that they cause us to lose our focus on what really needs to get done. When you work in a shared space, like today’s offices, it’s tough to avoid distractions. But there are ways on how you can focus your mind more so that you can tackle the tasks of the day.
The techniques on how to refocus are not only applicable for work. You can use them anytime you need a focused mind.
Do you often forget about your health goals? If you have trouble sticking to a healthier diet or integrating exercise into your daily routine, then make your goals more visible.
You can write a note for yourself and stick it on your mirror, fridge, or any location that will allow you to see it often. Write your goals on the note, such as “no sugar” or “15 minutes of exercise.” Make your goals specific and straightforward. Having a healthy lifestyle is not something that will happen overnight. So, slowly introduce new habits into your daily life.
For example, when you’ve already gotten used to not indulging in sugary foods, you can then work on another goal like “No fast food. Cook at home.” This will remind you to make an effort to cook your meals so that you can have control of the ingredients. As much as it’s tempting to order fast food, having this note of your goal will remind you of what you want to achieve.
At work, you can keep your goals on your phone so that it won’t be visible for other people. Your goals could be “get a raise” or “get promoted.” Whenever you feel like being lazy, look at your list of goals so that you’ll remember why you’re working so hard. Make sure that it is as specific as possible. For example, why do you want to get a raise? Is it to buy a house or a car? Write those down next to your work goals.
This step will depend on your preference when you’d want to tackle the most important tasks or MIT’s. Would you rather work on these tasks first thing in the morning, or would you rather warm-up by doing less crucial tasks first so you can build momentum? Some productivity experts suggest that it’s easier to do the most laborious task first. However, if this is something that doesn’t work for you, then you can try other strategies.
Some people check emails first before facing tougher things to do. As long as you limit the time you spend reviewing and replying to emails, this technique is fine as well. What you can do if you’re not sure which strategy to use is to try both. Make sure that you observe yourself and the time you spend on each task. Compare them so that you can see which technique is most effective for you.
Any big task is intimidating to do, so we find ways to not work on them. We fool ourselves that we’re doing something important when in fact, we’re just procrastinating. The best way to take on a challenging task is to divide and conquer. Break down the big tasks into smaller, more doable tasks. It may form a long to-do list, but don’t worry about it. You’ll find that it’s easier to cross them out because the steps are simple and doable.
So, if you plan to clean the whole house, then that’s a very big task. You can start by checking what needs to get done and then decide where you want to start. Let’s say you’ll start in the kitchen. Write down the tasks like clean the fridge, wash dishes, take out the trash, etc. As you can see here, the tasks are very specific.
Focus on one task at a time so that you won’t feel intimidated or overwhelmed. Continue to apply this strategy to the other parts of the house. Soon enough, you’ll realize that you’ve finished cleaning your entire home! So, divide and conquer. Whenever you’re facing a daunting task, that’s all you have to do.
These three tips will help you refocus your mind so that you can finish the things you intend to do. Remember to modify the techniques if you feel that you have a specific way of doing things that will be able to help you more. Feel free to explore how you can focus your mind more effectively. This is going to take some practice, so don’t feel frustrated if you still get distracted from time to time. As long as you push yourself to concentrate on your tasks, you’ll be able to strengthen your capacity to focus.
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