Everyone has off days; those days where you just can’t seem to stay focused. Learning how to stay focused is a wonderful talent for employees to have. And if you are seeking employment, it is an attractive quality to potential employers. The next time you’re struggling to get work done, try these four time-tested strategies for staying focused.
List and Prioritize
Sometimes we have so much going on it is hard to know what to tackle first. Dr. Daniel J. Levitan, a neurobiologist, writes in his book The Organized Mind, “An organized mind leads effortlessly to good decision-making.” So if you find your mind wandering, organize it by creating a list of what needs to be done, and prioritizing the importance of each item.
For each item on your to-do list, write a deadline for getting it done. Many things we do at work will have a deadline provided by a manager or boss. But can you break down big projects into smaller tasks, each with their own deadline? Breaking up your work into small steps will help you get started when a project is overwhelming.
Close Your Email
Do you open your email in the morning and leave it up all day long? Getting alerts every time a new email comes in might be nice sometimes, but if you’re having trouble focusing, it can be a big distraction. Close your browser or email program and get your mind back on your current task. Make it a habit to check your email only three times a day – once in the morning, once at mid-day, and once before leaving for the day. If someone needs you urgently, they can always reach you by phone. Everything else can wait.
Many employers are behind the times in this regard – “skilled at multitasking” is still a common sight on job postings – but science shows that multitasking is detrimental to productivity and efficiency. Multitasking can mean trying to perform two tasks at once (like reading an email while you’re talking on the phone). Or it might mean switching between a variety of tasks in quick succession (like alternating five minutes on a sales report and five minutes on customer reviews). Focus on one task at a time, and work on it until it is done. Resist the urge to multitask and you will find you end up getting more done throughout the day.
Practicing focus, determination and willpower will all increase your chances of being hired – and so will signing up for the top-rated Oregon Employment Staffing Services offered by Staffing Partners.