Do you find yourself zoning out at work, staring blankly at the screen instead of actually doing anything? Is the call of social media sites just too much for you, and you find yourself spending hours on forums or Facebook, instead of actually working?
It’s hard to break these habits once you’re in them, but staying productive and busy at work is the only way you’re going to advance your career. If you’re struggling to focus and keep moving, here are some of our best tips to help you at the office.
White Noise or Music
If your office allows, put on headphones and try to listen to either white noise or music. The lack of background distractions (Your officemate talking about their upcoming surgery, the receptionist flirting with the UPS guy, etc) can make a big difference in the way you focus on your work.
Be careful with the music that you listen to, though. It’s tempting to put on your favorite CD and jam out, but lyrics can be very distracting. Spotify and Amazon Music all have ‘study’ playlists that work great for just this purpose! Listen to something instrumental, or if you have to have lyrics, try them in a language you don’t understand. Spanish or Korean pop music has a great beat!
Follow the 2 Minute Rule
If you’re putting off starting a project or working on something you dread, use the two-minute rule. Sit down and tell yourself you’re going to do something for two minutes. During those two minutes, you have to give it your full focus and work as hard as you can. After two minutes are up if you can’t bring yourself to continue, set it aside and work on something else.
Once you’ve been working on it for a few minutes, there’s a good chance you’ll find your groove and keep working. You can make a ton of progress and it’s a great way to get over that mental block of having to actually start something.
Take Regular Breaks
Seems like the opposite of what we’re trying to do, right? Not exactly. Overworking yourself can lead to slow, sluggish thoughts and less output.
Make sure you’re taking regular breaks. Look away from your computer screen every 30 minutes or so, and stand every hour or two, maybe pacing your office or going to the kitchen for a drink of water.
Regular breaks will make you feel better and keep you on top of your work. When you feel better, you work better.
Impose Deadlines on Yourself
Even if you don’t have regular ‘deadlines’ at work, set them yourself – and stick to them.
Working towards a goal or timeline is going to make you more productive, and some people even find they work better under the pressure of a deadline. Don’t set yourself up to fail, obviously, but having ‘goals’ like getting ‘x’ done every day by 2 pm or ‘y’ completed on Thursday every week can increase your focus, and productivity.