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Today, more than ever, it is very easy to get distracted, sidetracked, and lose focus at work. Meetings, conference calls, and emails can take up so much of your day that it can be difficult to get the task you were hired to perform done. The office is supposed to be the place where we are most productive, but that isn’t always the case. In fact, sometimes it seems like the office is the least effective place to get work done. Are we working hard, or hardly working? A recent Salary.com survey reveals some numbers behind the reasons we are most distracted during work. Time is money and we have to efficiently deliver on goals and objectives regardless of how many conference calls, meetings, and Internet hours we log during the day. It’s time to get focused and here are four creative and useful tips to stay productive throughout the day.
Create A 45-Minute iTunes Playlist.
Attention spans today are short. Lock in with 45 minutes of your favorite tracks to shut out all distractions. Turn the music up a bit and you drain out sounds coming from your email alerts, telephone calls, and reminders. I recommend making three or four different playlist to have ready for whatever mood you might be in. After your playlist plays through take a quick five to 10-minute break and move on the the next task or project.
Most of us would like to believe that we are the world’s best multitasker, with the ability to manage various projects at a very high level. Truth is that we all get distracted, and our work can and does suffer when we are interrupted throughout the day. One way to stay disciplined and focused on the task at hand is to close out all programs except for the one that you are working on. Answer your emails (unless it is high priority), respond to voicemail, and catch up on the latest news and gossip when you are done. The use of Internet-blocking apps like “Concentrate” help you stay on task and work more productively.
Breath, Stretch, and Shake
We all know that physical activity gets our brains working so get up from behind your desk and take a five to 10-minute walk. During a good walk ideas start flowing, and you give yourself time to reenergize. A little time away from the computer screen can leave you more productive in the long run than staring at a computer screen for hours and getting only a few things accomplished.
Organize your communication
If you are not organizing your communication you are wasting time. Before communicating through your default approach ask yourself, “What is the best and most efficient way to respond to communication?” Sometimes an email does the trick, but other times a text message, instant messenger or even Twitter could be more effective and time saving. Don’t forget about the age old phone call. If something requires more than four or five sentences to communicate, it might be easier to have a simple phone conversation. There is work to be done, and no time to waste. Once you organize your communication efficiently and effectively you will be able free up more time to complete your projects.
Daron Pressley (@daronpressley) is an entrepreneur and former Fortune 500 sales and marketing executive who has been featured on outlets including Fox45 News, Black Enterprise magazine, and The Washington Post. Knowledgeable in marketing and branding, Pressley works with professional athletes, organizations, and individuals to develop strategies to create, build, and grow brands. As a speaker, Pressley has reached more than 20,000 students, and provides dynamic insights on leadership and branding via his website: DaronPressley.com