Listen to the right types of music. Music is a great way of settling into the working routine. In addition, having music can drown out office noises like printers and background chattering. Be careful though, depending on personal preference, some types of music are not particularly conducive to productive work. For me, I can´t work when listening to songs with lots of lyrics because the words interrupt my thinking process.
Fill up a water bottle. Keeping yourself hydrated is pretty important for all sorts of health reasons. Instead of going to the water cooler with your glass every hour, try filling up a water bottle at the start of the day. This does a couple of things – firstly, it limits the starts/stops associated every time you get up for water and secondly, it avoids being sucked into lengthy discussions around the water cooler.
Find the best time to do repetitive and boring tasks. No matter how much you try to avoid it, you´re going to have to face doing things which are either repetitive or boring. For these tasks, I find it is best to choose a time in the day to work on them. For example, I´m more alert at the start of the day, so it´s better to work on things which require brain power early. Working on boring tasks that can be done via auto-pilot are better left towards the end of the day when I´m usually tired.
Our physical being is so important to our ability to focus. Here’s one that I DON’T agree with!
Bring your lunch and have it at your desk. I´m not suggesting you do this every day, but if you really have to focus and are trying to meet a deadline, having your lunch at your desk really helps. The normal one hour lunch break can really interrupt any momentum you might have built up during the morning. I find when I´m eating lunch at my desk, my lunch breaks are shorter and I can get through a few emails while I´m eating. After I´m done, I´m straight back working on the next task.
Sure every now and then, this is fine, but we will not think at our best chained to the desk. A walk around the block and some fresh air will help, not hurt, your overall productivity. If you bring your lunch, eat it somewhere other than your desk. Engage in a stimulating conversation, people watch in the park. Sometimes we need to slow down to speed up.
In Dwayne’s post, he admits to being easily distracted. Dwayne, this is why I love chunking – there’s a time to focus (the chunk) and then a time to let our mind wander a bit. Sometimes our wandering becomes the next new thing. I can focus for two hours if I know that I can relax a bit soon. I quickly see the shiny object and then set it aside until my chunking is done.