Creating a Focused Environment
When we sit down to get things done, one of the largest struggles that we face is that of staying on task. In particular, modern life has so many tools for taking our attention away from our work. However, being aware of the things which will be distractions, and removing or compensating for them can allow us to achieve in spite of them.
We will not be able to control everything about our work environment. We may require a phone, computer, or need to interact with customers. That being said, your first step in creating an environment that is conducive to productivity is to examine which things you do have control over. For example, if you are constantly distracted by noises, look to see if you can move, or perhaps wear headphones. Unfortunately, these are not always possible in an office environment. If you struggle to accomplish tasks because you end up answering client’s emails, try to find a consistent time to do this, and leave your email closed the rest of the day. For example, if you spend an hour at the beginning of the day answering emails, and then close your email, you can eliminate this distraction. Having uninterrupted work time will allow you to complete your projects much more quickly and competently. Studies show that when you are interrupted, you will lose time when you start your new task, while your brain transitions its activity and focus. You can of course, adjust this depending on your job requirements. If you need to be available to clients more than once a day, then perhaps schedule to check email more frequently.
We train our brain to behave certain ways. If we are very used to switching constantly between tasks, we may struggle to stay focused once we begin to spend longer on single tasks. Our brains may jump at distractions, such as a passing coworker, text message, or anything happening out a window. Finding ways to eliminate these distractions will help us to train ourselves to stay focused. Thankfully, doing this is an area that will have better returns the more we learn to master it. If you are able to stay focused, you will always perform better than allowing yourself to bounce between different projects. This does not mean to avoid breaks though. Healthy breaks are taken infrequently, and allow us a chance for our minds to rest.