In her book “Find Your Focus Zone” psychologist Lucy Jo Palladino described how to become more concentrated and efficient. Here are some of her tips.
- Find pleasure in work
If a person is either too excited, or insufficiently interested, his attention is weakened and it is difficult to control it. You need a certain level of stimulation or “level of mental activity”. When this level is optimal the person becomes relaxed-focused: muscles are calm and relaxed, while consciousness and brain is ready and active. A man in this state is confident and motivated, he works with ease and is ready to use a time tracker.
- Set personal goals
If you do not have enough patience to focus and work, it is necessary to find an identifiable cause to work hard. It is clear that a manager gives you a task to be performed in time, and he uses a time tracker to make sure that it is finished in time. But what is the motivation of the employee? The causes can be: career growth, professional growth, monetary prize, pride in work, deal closed, and so on. When the motivation starts to decrease, it is necessary to recall the cause and let it become the mantra of motivation.
- Do the right breaks
Use breaks strategically to stay in a focus zone. When the work is boring and monotonous, select break activities which increase the level of adrenaline: move actively, walk quickly, do a quick exercise. If the job is mentally hard to perform a break should help to relax and calm down: go outside, listen to relaxing music, sit in your car, close your eyes. Any change of activity carries novelty and stimulates to the continued work. Most importantly, do not forget to use the time tracker to track work time and take a break in time before your level of focus dropped to zero.
- Choose proper multitasking
When a computer runs several programs at once it works slower. The human brain is similar to computer in this sense: multitasking lowers attention and focus. To regain focus people are willing to lose in performance. For example, when you need to read and understand a complex article, it can be good to highlight important parts and make notes in the margins. If during an important meeting memorizing a lot of information is necessary, grab your paper and pencil and write it down. This way you can maintain optimum productivity and keep track of your time, remembering to take breaks.
- Stop blaming yourself
For some people it’s hard not to answer a call or not check an mail, they feel despair, stiffness in actions, in planning, and in time tracking. They believe that they have to explain and justify if someone asks why they have not taken a call. This sense of guilt is what you want to leave, because mobile technology does not mean that a man must be “connected” permanently. Set boundaries in communication to not lose focus, not be overloaded, and feel comfortable.
- Combine and alternate easy and difficult tasks
Some people argue that clear plans and itineraries hinder them, impede their manoeuvre, spontaneity, while we all realize that it is planning and strict time tracking that help you to accomplish complex projects without unnecessary tension and stress. Write down a plan, because people often overestimate the capabilities of their memory. Psychologists call this principle “offset prospects” – to a man it seems that he will remember something at any moment just because it is known today.
Let easy tasks to become a warm-up, to give you a rush of dopamine in crossing them out of your to-do list. It is good to combine monotonous and active tasks it helps to keep the desired level of focus.
Small tips from “Find Your Focus Zone” book and usage of the time tracker will help to increase productivity and accomplish both hard and easy tasks.