Are you on top of strategies to improve focus? Have you ever asked where your time goes?
You’d be surprised by how many people lose track of where their time goes. They might think they are focused on a single task, but are they really? One way to find out is to keep track of how you spend your time for a week. You might find out you’ve been wasting time on little things like checking Facebook once an hour.
Strategies to improve focus and increase productivity
1. Track your time. Analyze the results after a week. Tweak and get rid of time wasters. And definitely be honest when you do this. How much time are you really spending on these activities?
2. Plan your week. At the end of your week, find a quiet spot to plan out your week’s tasks. Write down key projects and the tasks associated with them.
I find it is helpful to be realistic when you write up your to-dos. When you put too much on your list and can’t accomplish everything, you give yourself an opportunity to feel negative. don’t do that to yourself. And don’t forget to add in family activities that you participate in as well.
3. Prioritize your list. Break down your tasks from most important to least important. Use a calendar to mark out blocks of uninterrupted time (anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes) to work on each one.
4. Eliminate what isn’t essential. Outsource what you can for things you need to do but which aren’t your strengths. This could be anything from mowing your lawn to hiring a virtual assistant to take care of your social media for the week. You can’t be good at everything nor should you attempt to do everything needed to keep your LNC business running.
5. Set your goals. Break down big or long-term goals into smaller weekly or daily goals to make them easier to focus on. Smaller goals are less overwhelming and more manageable.
6. Set aside a specific amount of time each day for checking/answering email and social media. I recommend you not start off your day on these sites. Anything on social media can derail your plans. Email will shift your priorities. Pick no more than 2 times a day to check email and limit yourself in a 15 minute segment.
Don’t be stopping in the middle of a task to check your email. The same goes for social media channels as well.
7. Do away with multitasking. It takes a while to learn how to focus on one project at a time, but stick with it and it will become a habit. Finish one project/task before moving on to the next one. Become laser-focused on one task at a time. This can really increase your productivity.
Nurses are great multitaskers but this pattern can work against you when you need to improve focus.
8. Make a distraction to-do list. The Internet has made it easy for us to become quickly distracted. As soon as we want to look something up, we hop on the Internet to do a search. “I wonder what’s happening on Facebook.” “What was the name of the actor in that movie?” “How long will it take me to drive to the zoo tomorrow?” Anytime we get distracted like this it takes about 25 minutes to get back to the original task.
So instead, next time you want to look up something or an idea pops in your head, jot it down on a piece of paper (or, even better, use Evernote). I keep paper near me when I use my computer, which is what I do most of the day. Quick notes about things I need to do allow me to stay on task and not drift away from my focus.
9. Learn to say NO. If you already have full day’s task list, don’t feel like you have to take on another project for someone else.
10. Create an environment that works for you. Do you need a quiet space, free from people, phones and television noise? Set up your office so it works for you. Decorate it in soothing colors, inspiring artwork and a comfortable chair.
If you work best in a neat and clean area, make sure you put away or file papers and magazines. Get rid of clutter. If you focus better while listening to music or some kind of ambient noise, be sure to have a way to make that happen.
11. Take a break when needed. Short breaks help break up boredom and burnout when you’re working on a big project. Get up and walk around the room. Do some yoga stretches.
12. Break up or chunk it your tasks. Break your tasks down into smaller more manageable chunks of time with short breaks in between. Work on a task in 15 minute chunks. For example, let’s say you’re organizing medical records. Don’t try to do the whole thing at once. Break it down. Take an hour at a time, then a break, then return to the records. And so on.
13. Use an app on your phone to boost your productivity and improve focus. Apps like Evernote can keep you organized and keep track of distractions. An app like Brainwave can be downloaded to your iPhone. In this app, you can choose settings like Concentration Boost and Problem Solving, Brainstorming, or Memory Boost and Creative Thinking. There are other apps that help you stay focused and productive as well.
Got a tip that helps you improve focus? Add a comment.