Staying focused on the task at hand isn’t always as simple as it seems. Your mind wanders, email alerts keep popping up, deadlines draw closer, and you just keep jumping from project to project. You’re pulled in ten different directions, and it’s seriously having an impact on your process. Just as you seem to get a grasp on one thing, an unexpected email takes you in another direction. You're frustrated, and it's becoming apparent in your work. Plus, with what seems like a neverending stream of bad news in the air, it's probably a little harder than usual to stay focused on the task at hand. You can always try to go radio silent, and turn off your phone, the tv, or even your wifi, but even then it's hard to not think about what's going on in the rest of the world. So, what do you do? How can you stay on task and make things run a little more smoothly? Well, here are some tips to keep you on track while working from home - hopefully they help.
Start with the Easy Stuff
If you have a long list of things to do, you might feel a little bit overwhelmed, because you’re unsure of how to start. Some people will say to start with the most difficult task, as that’s the one that will take the longest, but I see it the other way around – start with the easy stuff. If you have a list of 10 things, and 9 are easy and short, and one is very difficult, it’s a lot easier to bang out some of the easy things, which will not only shorten your list, but you will end up feeling very productive as you knock tasks off your list. Start easy, cut the list down, stay productive.
Learn to Communicate
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes you need a bit of support to help accomplish a task, or maybe you need a bit of extra information to be able to wrap up that project in the best way possible. It’s better to ask and get the help you need from your team, rather than trying to figure it out on your own and wasting valuable time. Your team is there to support you, and if they’re a good team then they’ll be happy to help. A team that helps each other is one that produces the best work, and does it most efficiently. So, don’t be afraid to reach out with an email or a message on Teams, or even a quick call over Zoom, and get the support you need to do your work and keep you on track while working from home.
Make a List
One of the best ways to help keep you organized is to make a list of what you need to do each day. A nice list helps you figure out which task needs to be taken care of first, and what can be pushed to later. Having things laid out visually for you will help you have a better grasp on how to handle your work, and its always revitalizing to cross an item off the list.
Take a Break
This might be the most important one. Sometimes you just need to recharge, whether it be for five minutes or a half-hour, sometimes your brain just needs a bit of time to relax and refocus before getting back into things. There may be times where you get on a roll, and your fingers dance across the keyboard with ease, and you’re pumping out work for hours that seem to just fly by, and that’s great. Getting to that point is especially helpful when you have a lot to do. Though there are times where you just can’t seem to stay productive for more than 10 minutes, and if that’s the case, then sit back, relax for a minute, take a breath, and get back to it. Your brain will appreciate it.
Hopefully, these tips help keep you on track as you try to stay focused during these uncertain times. Though at the end of the day, if what you really need is some time to yourself to recoup, then that’s OK too. We need to be OK with people being stressed or not being able to focus. It isn’t always about putting on a positive face and cracking down, it’s about actually feeling good – because if you’re not, then the work won’t be good either.