What do you do when you are working on a project and become distracted? How do you regain focus? How do you maintain focus after you have regained your focus? Those are key questions as they speak to personal and professional productivity.
Handle the work crisis first. Imagine you receive a phone call in the middle of a significant thought while writing an important report providing solutions to an important problem within the organization, how do you regain that focus? As far as regaining focus at work after a phone call, a work crisis, a co-worker’s question, or another event, it is important for people to realize that they can only fully tackle one issue at a time. Therefore, handle the work crisis, take that phone call or question, and when you are finished, take a few minutes to process the issue. Write down any further thoughts, questions, or areas to follow up with on that issue. Taking these few minutes will help to sort and clarify all of the thoughts that are surely swirling in your head and distracting your focus. Once you have processed the issue and written down pertinent details, it is easier for you to return to the task you were initially working on because your mind is less cluttered.
Create the list of tasks. Creating lists and prioritizing are the two keys to focusing on the tasks at hand rather than what lies ahead. It is certainly important to have a larger picture in your mind of what lies ahead, but those same thoughts can poison your focus for the tasks that need to be tackled in the present moment. Prior to the start of the month, create a list of projects that you need to complete within the next four weeks. Then prioritize the projects, giving them dates and timelines on how you would like to see them progress. Further break down your projects by weeks and days. This is important because it gives you a road map for the month. When you get into the office each morning, create a list of what you need to finish by the end of the day. Distractions and changes to your plans will happen, but being organized and having a prioritized list can draw your focus back to what you need to get done to stay on task.
Your list is essentially serving as your distraction back to your task. You can create lists on your cell phone, your laptop and desktop background, or even the old fashioned way of keeping a list on a sheet of paper on your desk. The more places you see your list, the more often your attention is drawn back to the tasks you need to accomplish.
While these tips are fairly simple, they are the most effective. People are asked to do more today than they ever have been asked to before, and the distractions have increased immensely. Getting back to the organizational basics of creating lists and prioritizing can help us maintain our focus even on the most hectic days at the workplace.