Why are the busiest days always the ones with the most tempting distractions? It’s hard not to wonder if there isn’t some strange cosmic joke being played on you when a new project from the highest level comes in right before your big client meeting. How can you stay ahead of the curve and accomplish things, for lack of a better term, like a boss? Start with these 7 ways to avoid the deluge and stay focused even when the cards- and work- is stacked against you:
1. Make multiple lists:
Writing down all the tasks you have to do in a given day, week, or month helps you stay organized in your own projects. Making several lists such as a list for that day’s tasks and a separate list of tasks to be completed weekly can help you visualize everything that needs to be done without making it seem so overwhelming. Writing down everything that needs to get done gets rid of that “am I forgetting something?” feeling.
2. Snack smart:
Hunger can derail progress quickly and nobody likes finding out what the word “hangry” means when it comes to other employees. Eating snacks with fiber and protein keep the nagging rumblings at bay.
3. Take a break and move around:
Putting off work for a minute or two might just be the best thing for getting it done. Walking around, going outside, or powering down and meditating for a few minutes can renew focus and help you get through long afternoons. Try working out on your lunch break instead of just eating at your desk. Taking some time to remove yourself from a project often helps you return with fresher ideas and more detail oriented eyes.
4. Work on different projects on different days to avoid burnout:
Patterns can be helpful, but doing exactly the same activities day in and day out would make anybody worn out. Compartmentalizing different areas allows you to focus on one area at a time and could be more productive than considering lots of areas every day. Create a varied schedule where Monday's are devoted to creative projects, Tuesdays are devoted to business partnerships; Wednesdays are for marketing, etc. It's like P90x, but for your brain.
5. Two minds are better than one:
Collaborative brainstorming can help you get out of a rut with a project while also injecting creative ideas from other colleagues. When assignments become stale, having a coworker review progress and consider future options might help you get back on track.
6. Make plan- follow plan- let it simmer:
Once you have completed an assignment let it sit for at least a few hours before you return to make adjustments, overnight if possible. Taking the time away from one project not only helps you feel focused on a different endeavor but also allows you to view your previous work from enough distance to see things objectively.
7. Leave work at work:
Often easier said than done, people who do not bring work home after hours are generally happier with their work life and are more productive during the workday. Look at work days as opportunities to accomplish a variety of tasks and avoid blurring boundaries.
Looking for a place to try out these tips for your small business or startup? Get out of the distraction infested waters of home officing and into a full-time or virtual space at AdvantEdge. We create unique work environments and communities that can help you stay focused and keep a healthy work life balance.