Maximize Your Productivity By Getting Focused On What Matters
I am a born procrastinator. When I was a kid, I would wait until the last minute to finish any project. Today, I am no more focused. I am easily distracted, tend to multitask and my work suffers for it. In fact, I usually have to download tools that force me to remain focused. Even those are often not enough to keep me from finding ways around them.
The worse part of this is how long it can take me to finish something that might have only taken a few hours had I just worked on it from the beginning. Because so much of my work involves the internet – my main distraction – it is a hard hurtle to overcome.
This lack of focus has led me to seek out every productivity tool and tip I could find. In the end, I have managed to come up with a small list of things that have helped me fight off my procrastination. Luckily, they seem to also be tips that help many others.
1. Pick The Right Background Noise
This is a big one for me. I love to have music playing in the background, but if I choose the wrong kind it will distract me as badly as anything else. Inevitably, it leads to YouTube searches, playlist creation and other non-productive activities. Putting together something that helps keep you relaxed and attentive is best. I find that anything instrumental, such as classical or even movie orchestral soundtracks, are great. Studies have shown that lyrics are horrible for focusing on tasks. You can find many great playlists with instrumental music anywhere from YouTube to 8Tracks.
2. Put Things Aside
I will always manage to come across something I want to read. Some might be helpful articles, but when I am working is not the time to immerse myself in them. Which is why I have found great tools like Pocket to be helpful. That way you can bookmark it for when you have time, and move on with what you are doing.
3. Remove The Distractions
Sometimes staying focused can be as simple as keeping yourself from looking at anything else. There are tools that will hide other windows and icons, to keep you from looking away from what you are currently working on. My favorite is definitely Isolator. Nice and customizable, it gives you several options for hiding any other content on your screen. This includes blacking it out entirely, or only blurring it. This lets you remain visually focused on a single window.
4. Block Sites
Probably the most popular way to increase productivity is through a site blocker. These are simple plugins that work by having you fill in the sites that distract you the most, and times when you can or cannot access them. They also have an option on most than block them for a certain amount of time, such as a few hours, so you can work without distraction. StayFocused and LeechBlock are both great (and free).
5. Make Lists To Follow
Sometimes it helps just to organize a nice list that gives you everything you have to do, and in the priority in which you have to do it. It can be a simple sticky note on your desktop, or a program like LazyMeter.
6. Remain Motivated Through Success
Another great idea is to remind yourself of how well you have done at working on what needs to be done. My favorite tool for this is the rather simple Don’tBreakTheChain.When you meet your goal, you simply sign in and check off the day with a red box on the calender. The longer you go, the longer the red chain becomes. Very basic, but super effective.
Staying on track is possible for even the most easily distracted person. It just takes a bit of willpower and some helpful tools. Try the ones above, and watch how much your focus improves.