Staying focused throughout your workday can be mighty challenging, especially when your to-do list is a long one. So how do you keep on task and get it all done? Depending on how realistic your daily goals are (you do have to sleep at some point) you may not get to everything, but you can at least check off a few priorities at the top.
I’m a big list builder and for me it’s one of the most useful ways to keep my day organized. I make a game out of it by using my favorite erasable pens to actually remove items from the list as I go. Nothing better than an empty sheet at the end of the day. So gratifying!
Though there will be times when the list includes one colossal task that keeps you from erasing anything else. On those days you’ll need more than the satisfaction of using your erasable pen to keep you going. Here are a few helpful suggestions:
Get up, stretch…walk around a little. When I worked in an office building I would take short breaks and head for the stairwell. It’s so important to disengage the mind for a moment and get the blood pumping. It helps to refocus and is like hitting the creativity restart button. And if you’re inclined to use this time to jump on Facebook or Instagram to see what the rest of the world is doing, try not to fall into the dreaded time chasm. I know I’ve tumbled in when I find myself taking a quiz to see which Star Wars character I am.
I’m not suggesting you sit and eat all day, but when the daily duties overflow it can be easy to let things like breakfast or lunch slip. You need to feed your body to keep your mind functioning at top performance. Without proper fuel you risk running low on energy and getting the “spacies”. Not so good for staying focused.
Use it or lose it.
The mind is like any muscle that needs exercise to stay in shape. If you feel like you’ve lost your edge try some brain teasers to re-sharpen things. Recite the alphabet backward or do a crossword puzzle. Websites like Luminosity offer games that challenge your brain in a fun way.
Clear the clutter
A messy work area makes it hard to focus, not to mention feels overwhelming. Things can pile up pretty quickly when a busy period hits, so allow a little time each week to reorganize. This also gives your mind a nice break to recalibrate.
Get plenty of Z’s.
Sleep deprivation affects your memory, ability to learn new tasks and creates a not-so-pleasant fuzzyheaded feeling. It also shortens our emotional fuse, which can make interactions with others problematic. Don’t live life in a state of irritable confusion. Go to bed instead.
Your brain functions at different speeds, or “waves “depending on what you're doing. They range from high focus Gamma and Beta, to meditative Alpha and Theta, down to the Delta sleep state. I find listening to Gamma and Beta inducing binaural beats an invaluable tool to help bring on a hyper-focused state. There are also beats that encourage slower brainwave patterns and promote relaxation. Download MP3s (or order CDs) from Brain Sync, or search for them for free on Youtube.
At the end of it all remember to prioritize, get done what you can, and know that there’s a coming new day to get to the rest!