Staying focused is critical to maintaining productivity. It’s been a nervous couple of years; the opportunities for distraction are myriad. If you fight to stay productive, the tips below may help.
Keep a Consistent Schedule
If you can, get up at the same time each day. If your workweek leaves you short on sleep, catching up on the weekends is not a really healthy option. For those of us who need to get up early during the week, creating a bedtime routine that allows you to get to bed earlier, fall asleep more easily and sleep more deeply can be carried through to the weekend. You can’t cram for sleep without creating serious health issues over time, so a quality bedtime routine can actually extend your life as well as improve your quality of life now.
Don’t Fight Your Brain
For night owls, mornings are tough. For morning larks, late-night work will be a challenge. As possible, do your planning and creative synthesis thinking when your brain is active, flexible, and productive. You may wake up energized but lack focus. If your most energetic times are not your best organizing times, set yourself up for success by creating a framework before you need it. If you’re working on projects that require you to combine text, images, and tables, put together these factors the day before and build this project when your brain is freshest.
Watch Where You Sit
Inertia can really get in the way of productivity. If you have a co-worker who you really enjoy talking to, don’t sit in their office. You won’t want to get up and go do your job. If you are the person that everyone loves to come to talk to, put a box of paperwork in the guest chair in your office. This will lessen the time that people come to sit in your space and remind folks that you’re busy.
Take a Power Nap
In America, there is a stigma attached to taking a nap. This is in addition to other western cultures that place more emphasis on appearances. People take mid-afternoon breaks in places like Spain and Italy. These are known as mesimeri or riposo.
Inemuri, a Japanese practice that demonstrates devotion to work, is known as inemuri. This can be understood as a way to daydream, sleep, or just rest wherever you are. Japanese businessmen frequently use sleep pods to get quality, quiet sleep on small, comfortable beds during work hours.
A nap is not an option in many places. It’s not possible. It is too time-consuming. A litre of coffee can replace a power nap.
Power naps should last for between 15 and 45 minutes. A power nap should last between 15 and 20 minutes. This is when people feel their best. This allows you to transition from stage 1 into stage 2. These are the stages of light sleep that you will need before you can reach stage 3. Stage 3 is more challenging to wake up from and deeper.
Take Legitimate Breaks
Social media is a wonderful way to check in with friends and family. However, it’s also a black hole where a lot of time can get dumped. If you need a break, get out of your chair. Walk to a new space with your phone, check your social media notifications, smile, laugh, like, hug, love, and share your feelings. When you’ve checked in with your loved ones, go back to work. Do take care to avoid outrage over social media. Blood pressure points are finite; don’t burn your energy by getting angry over things that have no impact on your life.
Hand-Write Your Lists
Electronics are wonderful, but a hand-written list that you can carry with you in a notebook offers more flexibility and a better way to track your thoughts. Cross things off when you’re done with them, write side notes, add stickie notes, highlight what you need to remember, and put it in your pocket or your purse so you can change it up when you get to your next task.
Carry a Notebook
Keeping a notebook on your person will also allow you to clear your brain. If you need dog food, socks or dish soap, write it down! Don’t burn brain space with crap you need to remember. Your brain is an amazing high-power tool for bringing together disparate ideas and synthesizing these concepts into bigger, better ideas. Don’t clutter up your brain with simple tasks that you have to remember. Free the space for more creative processes.
Use a Timer
If you use your phone as a watch, you’re setting yourself up for distraction. Instead, use the timer feature of your phone so you can fully dive into whatever you’re working on. If you want to take a break, set the timer for 15 minutes and take your break. If you really need to put the last hour of your day gathering information for a synthesizing project in the morning, shut your door to keep others out physically and set your timer for 60 minutes. Turn your phone face down or place it where you can’t see it and work like crazy until the timer goes off. Timers lessen the number of times we reach for our phones, which limits the number of notifications that you get that don’t need your attention right now. Timers create moments of space and give you time for more flexible thinking.
When you’re tired, stressed, or agitated, meditation can help. Go to a quiet space away from all the stuff on your desk, set your timer for 10 minutes, and breathe. If your brain wanders, gently guide it back to your breath. Feel your hands in your lap, your bottom in the chair, and your feet on the floor. Meditation in the middle of a crazy day can be as relaxing as a nap.
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