If you're tired of constant distractions while working at your desk and losing focus as you switch between tasks, the simplest solution might be the best one: move.
Photo by Ed Yourdon.
Sarah Rapp from Behance experimented with two methods to see which offered more focus and productivity. Ultimately, what worked best was her ability to assign specific tasks between different working stations. For example, she'd handle her long term to-dos on a laptop in a coffee shop or conference room. The change in scenery and isolation helped her focus on her long-term tasks.
Returning to her desk, she was then able to switch focus immediately and spend time responding to her email, tweets, and other social engagements.
Breaking up the workday by leaving the office made both halves of the day much more manageable, and gave me the chance to "reset" my workspace and mental state. Forced to leave my desk (and its pile-up of open web browser tabs), I had no choice but to slow down and stop madly clicking between things.
If you're having trouble focusing at work and find it difficult to split your time between multiple machines, Sarah suggests the following:
- Slow down and choose a single task to work on.
- Mimic a "school day" by creating blocks of time dedicated to specific tasks.
- Leave your desk, even if it's just with a notepad and pen.
What practices have you put into use when it comes time to focus? Let us know in the comments.