You've been staring at your screen for what seems like hours now. Instead of sticking to one task, you've been shifting from one to another, then another, all the while checking social media. By the end of your day, your to-do list is longer than it was at the beginning.
You aren’t the only one having issues with mental clutter caused by a distracted mind; almost everyone at work has experienced these things at one time or another. Here are a few ways to counter distractions and stay focused.
1. Take things down on paper.
Paper as a medium shows your entire thought process. Whether you’re a developer, designer, or a writer, it can help to put down your ideas first on paper. With most of the world’s work being completed on devices, it actually may not seem to be the best bet to go back to basics, but in truth, it does.
Why? The delete key and the undo button on your word processor undermine productivity. These keys remove your mistakes, but oftentimes, they also delete rough ideas that will turn into gems. Paper shows all your work. Having a pile of notes pays off in the long run. And what’s better than having them scribbled down in a notebook?
2. Use technology wisely.
If noting things on paper isn’t in your comfort zone, then try jotting your to-do lists and notes using a note-taking app or a bot, an online tool that tracks your daily goals and can help with certain tasks. Most of the applications you use nowadays have several such bots built into their systems.
Having reminders on your phone can be helpful. You can also have bots automate specific tedious procedures such as updating your manager via chat after an individual email has been sent to a client or, maybe have it send you a message at a particular time to get you off your chair and have a cup of coffee!
3. Find support.
Whether you work in a team or as a freelancer, you are never alone. There’s always your team or the vast online community you are following behind you.
Whether communicating with a team or with a large group, never shy away from asking a question. It’ll free your mind of excessive stress and help you progress in your work. Overall, turning to a group will further your work in a multitude of ways.
In-between breaks, you’re free to check your group chats. Connect with peers and share your experiences with them. Such groups are places with diverse creative outlets, learn, and in turn, teach others. Add your coworkers into the mix. You’d be surprised to find how similar or varied they might be regarding hobbies compared to you. Such socializing strengthens bonds; it only helps in the long-run further easing your day-to-day work.
Learning to ask questions and taking criticism with positivity is hard. But once you open up, it becomes a rewarding experience that frees your mind.
4. Close unused tabs.
Take a hard look at the number of tabs you have open in your browser. If you don’t need to have them around, close them. The more tabs you have open, the more you’re tempted to flip through them. As a result, work gets lost in the mix.
5. Work in short sprints.
Try this, count how long you can work at a stretch. For most people, it’ll be around 30-40 minutes, set a timer and only work for that amount of time before taking a break. You can keep it away once you get used to it!
6. Take a break.
Put your laptop to sleep and take a walk. Spending too much time on a project in a bid to finish it faster will only lengthen it further. It’s best to take a break and let your mind refresh. Scribble, read something, listen to music, or have a snack, but try to stay away from your laptop’s screen until your break ends.
Pick what suits you the most. It’s quite easy to pick a good habit, just try to stick to it and eventually, you’ll see the change in your workflow.