Top-Shelf Tip No. 221:

"Always remember, your focus determines your reality."

George Lucas

Seven Tips For Staying Focused On Work

If you sometimes struggle to focus on your work, you're not alone. With distractions in the form of phone calls, emails, meetings and requests, it can be hard to home in on one particular project. Lolly Daskal, founder of Lead from Within, says that focusing at work is like going to the gym every day—it's largely a matter of building good habits.

If you want to refine your ability to zero in on your work, keep reading. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Daskal's seven important tips to help your focus.

1. Planning. Staying focused starts with planning ahead, and it begins the night before. Daskal suggests professionals email themselves at least three goals for the next day before they go to bed in the evening. The next morning, they will have those goals to start their day off right. Planning ahead helps you focus on what you need to get done.

2. Batching. If you have small tasks on your to-do list, you may be tempted to work on several at once—in other words, to multitask. It's nice to think you can work more efficiently by doing more than one thing at a time. In reality, though, every time you change or switch tasks, your brain takes time to re-focus, making it harder to accomplish the things you need to do, according to Daskal.

3. Chunking. Large, complex tasks are typically hard to get done all at once. Try breaking up larger tasks into smaller chunks and setting mini deadlines for each chunk, Daskal recommends. Think of your mini deadlines as checkpoints to keep yourself accountable.

4. Scheduling. The best way to stay on task is to make a list of things to do, set priorities and create a schedule. Once you know your personal and professional tasks are accounted for on your schedule, you can free yourself from the nagging feeling that you're forgetting to do something.

5. Blocking. Daskal suggests that professionals block out any distractions that keep them from being focused. Think of what distracts you and avoid it. Build in specific times to answer emails, phone calls and texts so you aren't constantly checking in. If you find that you're constantly drawn to email, the web or social media, block them for periods of time.

6. Tracking. Time is the one resource that cannot be replenished and tracking how much time you spend on what task each day will clue you in to the things that are getting more than their share of your time. Technology makes tracking your time easier than ever.

7. Customizing. For maximum efficiency, customize your approach to managing tasks and projects. Some people organize assignments according to the order in which they are due, while others tackle tasks in order of difficulty. Consider the time of day when your energy is highest and schedule your most challenging and visible work then, says Daskal. Consider the ways you work best and implement them to improve your focus.

If you find yourself getting distracted at work, follow the steps above to get back on track.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Lolly Daskal is the founder of Lead from Within, a global leadership, executive coaching and consulting firm based in New York City. With more than 30 years of experience, Daskal has written thousands of articles and columns for a variety of media, including Inc., Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Huffington Post and Psychology Today.

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