12 simple ways to stay focused and increase productivity

Category: Task Management.

Productivity is a common workplace jargon that you may come across quite often. Productivity is also used as a performance metric during employee performance reviews. So, every employee should strive to be operating at his or her best when it comes to productivity so that they can contribute to the organization in a meaningful way and achieve growth in their career.

While it is easy to define productivity as ‘getting the job done in the least amount of time possible with highest efficiency’, it is much harder than that to actually be productive at work. That is simply because staying focused on the task you undertake is extremely hard, with so many distractions to stop you from doing your work and being productive.

Mark-Esper-quote

Stay focused on your mission, remain steadfast in your pursuit of excellence, and always do the right thing.

Mark Esper, Former United States Secretary of Defense

Importance of Staying Focused

It is crucial to stay focused at work if you want to increase productivity. But it is easy to lose focus, as it is almost impossible to shut yourself to the external stimuli in the form of various distractions. How many times have you started to do a job, only to be distracted when something else comes up? It stops you from delivering results.

You have to find workarounds and make a conscious effort to stay focused to achieve your goals and objectives because the more you lose focus to the distractions, the less productive you will be, and the least amount of goals you would be able to achieve in any given period.

Benefits of Staying Focused

Staying focused impacts the way you work and how you achieve your professional and personal objectives. In the long term, it enables you to consistently deliver the best results and helps you to be successful in your career and life. Staying focused brings you numerous benefits. With better focus, you can:

1. Deliver More & Deliver Better

With more focus on the task at hand, you can do it flawlessly. Better concentration translates into less room for errors. As a result, you become capable of delivering quality work. When you can focus on your work better, you can also do your work faster, complete more tasks and deliver more work.

2. Get into the Groove

When you stay focused, you simply get familiar to the task on hand that you can do it better and faster. You can develop consistency and get into a rhythm that work gradually becomes a habit. When you can maintain this rhythm, you can complete more work and produce better results.

3. Remain Calm

Staying focused on everything you do calms your senses. As you are aware of your ability to complete work and deliver on time, it gives you the peace of mind. This further gives you the confidence to shine at work and master your schedule and to-do-list with ease. It motivates you further and helps you achieve your goals one after the other.

4. Increase productivity

Avoiding distractions and concentrating on your work increases your attention span. With unwavering attention, you can stay on the task longer and make constant progress. As a result, you can do work faster and complete more work in less amount of time.

How can you Stay Focused?

Focus is not something you cannot attain without serious effort. You have to first identify the factors that distract you and take your focus away. It requires a thorough analysis of not only your work environment and work habits, but also your lifestyle. You have to make a conscious effort to bring focus by addressing every single identified factor that takes your focus away. Only such a systematic approach can help you attain focus.

Systematic analysis of all these factors can sound like an overkill. But unless you do it, you can never achieve the focus you want. For instance, multi-tasking is a highly glorified habit in a workplace. But in certain situations, it can force you to share your focus towards various tasks, ultimately slowing you down from completing any of those tasks. In such a scenario, work itself is a distraction. If you are suffering from the loss of focus due to that, you can identify that only with a thorough analysis. Following are the steps you can take to stay focused.

  • Analyze your work environment for distractions.
  • Identify the work-related habits that take your focus away.
  • Look for lifestyle issues that stop you from focusing properly.
  • Address every issue and attain focus.
  • Make your work environment focus-friendly.

Common ways to find focus

There are some measures that you can take to find focus. You can find tangible gains in productivity by implementing these changes in your lifestyle, workplace and work habits.

Increase-Productivity

1. Love your work

You will fall for distractions more often, when you find the work daunting or uninteresting. You have to find motivation in work by understanding that you are an active contributor to your organization, and by understanding how your contribution helps your organization grow. It will give you a sense of purpose to what you do, and you will start loving your work. When you feel more involved in it, you will automatically stay focused. It is a continuous cycle – with the new-found concentration, your productivity, and hence the contribution to your organization, will increase, which will give you more reasons to love your work.

2. Do quality work

When you start loving your work, the quality of your output also gets better. This will earn you rewards and recognition, which can be a huge motivating factor. This will give you another compelling reason to stay focused and do more quality work.

3. Prioritize your Tasks

The level of engagement you might feel with every task could be different depending on how important or rewarding it is for you. Also, some tasks can take longer time, requiring prolonged, uninterrupted attention, while some tasks get completed fast. So, it is vital to identify the tasks based on their magnitude and how interesting they are for you. You can mix and intersperse tasks of various sizes and likability so that your engagement levels with the tasks remain stable. This will help you stay focused consistently.

4. Group similar tasks

The key to productivity is rhythm. Once you get it going, there is no stopping you. When you do different types of jobs one after the other, this rhythm is broken and there is a chance of losing focus. So, you can do more by grouping similar tasks together and doing them at a stretch. This will stop your focus from wavering.

5. Focus on tasks, one at a time

As mentioned above, multi-tasking can be boon or bane, depending on the tasks you undertake. When your focus is at the edge, it is better to not shift between one task and another without completing them. Taking one task at a time and working till it is finished often helps you stay focused.

6. Plan day

Everything that starts with a plan and follows the plan ends well. So it is important to plan your activities every day and increase productivity. You can plan the day by:

  • Setting a daily goal

    While a to-do-list and schedule are important, it is even more significant to set a daily goal. Only when you can push yourself towards a major milestone, you can easily identify smaller objectives that you may have to cross to achieve it. So, a daily goal is a great starting point from which you can break down smaller goals and tasks. When you set your daily goal, make sure it is achievable and realistic. While it is good to push yourself to the limit and set ambitious goals, it can make you tired and impact on your concentration in the long run. So, know your limits and set your goals accordingly.

  • Making a to-do list

    A to-do list keeps reminding you of your goals and helps you stay in sync with your timelines. It is important to put the most engaging and rewarding tasks on top to find motivation. As mentioned before, you can choose the order of the tasks according to size and the interest you have in them.

  • Allotting a specific amount of time for every task

    Productivity is all about doing the work in the least possible time with great efficiency. So, time is an important factor in planning a day. You have to be aware of the available time and allocate appropriate time for each task in the to-do list.

  • Breaking up bigger tasks into smaller chunks

    Bigger tasks can be daunting. Seeing important and time-consuming tasks lined up one after the other can make the road ahead seem even more difficult than it is. So, it is vital to break them up into smaller chunks and set deadlines for each section. That way, you can see tangible progress and derive motivation from your work. Use Templates that will help you plan your day everyday.

7. Practice Time Management

All the tasks you take up are time bound. So, it is important to follow the timelines, complete the tasks and meet the deadlines without fail. Once you miss a deadline, the plan for the whole day gets derailed. Time management is nothing but following the plan you made. So, if you can stick to your timelines and schedule, you can master time management. Also, when you take up a task, you should avoid any delays. Postponing a task and procrastinating are some of the worst practices that keep you from staying focused.

8. Avoid Distractions

There are various sources of distraction. When you identify them, you can work on making changes that help you avoid distractions and stay focused.

  • Social Media

    Social media is one of the most common distractions in the workplace. It is more than just a distraction, and it can further become an addiction, where employees cannot refrain from checking social media frequently. Social media can consume your valuable time, take your focus away, and severely impact your productivity. This study on the ‘Impact of Social Media Addiction on Employees’ Wellbeing and Work Productivity’ clearly establishes the link between social media addiction and a drop in productivity. So, it’s important to avoid using social media while at work.

  • Distractive Workspace

    Your workspace can have a great impact on your focus. Unnecessary things, television, unwanted noises, loud conversations nearby, etc, can all distract you from staying focused. You can address them by changing seating positions shutting your cabin close if possible and organizing your workdesk properly. In short, you can gain focus by making your workplace more ‘work-friendly’.

  • Work Habits

    Some of your work habits can distract you and take your focus away. As mentioned above, multi-tasking is a work habit that can potentially distract you. Similarly, habits like speaking to colleagues, taking frequent breaks, postponing complex tasks, etc, can all impact on your productivity. You can identify them and change your work habits and behavior to achieve focus.

9. Take regular breaks

While too many breaks can affect your concentration, it is also important to take enough breaks to maintain focus. You can schedule those breaks after you complete a task/objective/milestone. You can indulge in activities that help you relax, or you can have an energy drink or snack that gives you the energy to get through the rest of the day and help you to stay focused. Whatever you do, it is crucial to do it within the time you had allotted for the break. You have to get back to work on time.

10. Maintain a healthy lifestyle

You can stay focused only if you are physically and mentally capable of it. A healthy lifestyle goes a long way in helping you find the focus you need. Following are some of the healthy habits you can follow.

  • Sleep well for adequate amount of time.
  • Sleep early and rise early.
  • Follow a healthy diet.
  • Do some physical activity and keep yourself fit.
  • Start your work early.
  • Eat your meals on time.
  • Keep yourself hydrated and drink water regularly.

11. Manage your attention

Loss of focus may not necessarily be caused only by distractions. Even in normal day-to-day activities, your mind may wander into other thoughts despite the lack of major distractions. It is essential to train your mind to bring your attention back at the first instance where you start to lose focus. Some physical and mental activities like yoga, meditation, etc are known to improve attention management and help maintain focus better.

12. Reward yourself for your achievements

When you complete your goals or meet your deadlines, reward yourself with a well-earned snack or short break or a vacation, depending on the size of your achievement. Self-recognition and appreciation can motivate you to do more and give you one more reason to stay focused and increase productivity.

Final Thoughts

We all strive to become better workers and increase our productivity. To do this, we might need to change the way we work and the environment we work in. By making these changes and committing to staying focused, you can transform your work output and productivity in impactful ways to the benefit of your coworkers, your company, and yourself.

OKRs, or Objectives and Key Results, is a goal-setting framework that helps users focus their efforts on their most important company priorities so that they can achieve their most impactful and beneficial goals. The OKR framework follows the rule of five, which states that a team or department should not have more than three to five Objectives in a given timeframe, and no more that three to five key results for each of those objectives. This rule helps narrow focus on a team’s core priorities and direct resources where it matters most.

The OKR framework is best used on an agile and scalable software that grows with your business. Profit.co is the most intuitive OKR software on the market, and enables complete transparency throughout an organization so everyone knows what the most important objectives are for each group, and how they align to those objectives. To find out more about how Profit.co can help your team focus better and achieve more, you can visit our product page, book a demo with our OKR experts, or get started for free today!


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