Environmental distractions and procrastination can quickly kill your focus. Whether you're bad at multitasking or easily sidetracked by Internet memes, you can train yourself to be efficient by differentiating between high- and low-impact work goals. Learn to prioritize tasks that produce the most effective results, and stop wasting all your energy on work that has no measurable impact.
1. Define Work Goals
Efficiency is impossible if you don't know what you need to accomplish and why it matters. Ask yourself how a task serves your end goal, such as saving money, simplifying production or improving customer relations. Even small or simple tasks can have a significant impact, so focus on how each work goal advances the business or helps you deliver consistent performance. Making your work goals transparent can help you cut out time-draining tasks that have no purpose or benefits.
2. Distribute Time Wisely
Good time management is about weighing the value of accomplishing a task sooner rather than later. Divide large work goals into manageable tasks, and allocate time based on how each job influences the progress of the whole project. Even when a goal is important, you lose efficiency by dwelling on it before you have the right information or tools to complete the task. Plan realistic time frames to maintain your concentration and keep deadlines on track.
3. Budget Your Energy
Think of your mind and body as an energy meter, and performing difficult jobs when you're tired or distracted leaves you feeling drained. You can increase efficiency and avoid mistakes by scheduling complex jobs when you're most alert and leaving the simple tasks for low-productivity moments. The key is to understand your personal productivity cycle, so you can prioritize your schedule to fit your work style.
4. Don't Multitask, Group Tasks
Instead of helping you get more done, multitasking splits your concentration between multiple work goals, making it harder to complete any of them. A better option is to group similar tasks into batches. If you need a mental warm-up when switching between tasks, you can save time and preserve your focus by sticking to related projects and skill sets for a predetermined block of time.
5. Think Positively
Productivity takes a plunge when you focus on how much you hate performing specific tasks. Before you start any project, clear your mind of negative feelings about your job, co-workers or personal flaws. Keep stress at bay by reminding yourself why you're the best person for the job and why your contributions are valuable.
6. Identify Procrastination Triggers
Unsurprisingly, it's hard to stay focused when you surround yourself with tempting diversions. Pay attention to habits that hinder time management, and remove those distractions or limit them to scheduled periods. Recharging every now and then helps you conserve energy throughout the day, so balance intense work periods with relaxing breaks.
Focus depends on your commitment to finishing a job, and it's completely within your power to decide how much mental energy you devote to a task. Laying out clear work goals makes it easier to manage your time and decide when a task deserves your attention.
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