Do you get the feeling that you are not getting enough work done at office ? You might be sitting late to catch up, while your friends and colleagues are able to finish and do not need to spend so much time working. Is it your fault or something else ?
Have you ever given thought as to what’s behind this lack of productivity? There are many possible options including maybe lack of required skills for the job, new technology, inefficient management and poor communication.
Another very time consuming activity maybe too many meetings. However you may not have control over these factors, but by identifying them you can take the necessary steps to control them and improve your level of productivity. Finally, most important and one we are least aware of is distractions.
Research shows that on an average a person is interrupted or distracted every 40 seconds when working in front of their computer. Sometimes it is easy to get back on track and resume our work but when our attention is completely disrupted research shows that it might take up to 20 minutes to regain our focus and continue our work.
HOWEVER, there are some steps you can take to limit distractions, so that no one and nothing can disturb you at work.
TIME ALLOCATION : If you develop the habit of making a daily schedule that takes into consideration your things to do for the day, including meetings, work time, checking emails, free time etc you will be more likely to achieve what you need to do each day. It may seem to be difficult at first, but you will soon get the hang of it and feel the difference it makes to your working pattern at work and even your personal life.
SET BOUNDARIES WITH COLLEAGUES : One’s coworkers and colleagues can prove to be a big source of distraction at work. In the present open office culture it is sometimes difficult to concentrate on ones work. So its up to us to set the limits and ensure we get the privacy we need to focus on our work. Worse comes to worse we can wear ear plugs, put up a “Do not Disturb” sign on our cubicle / computer or even clearly indicate that you are busy and will talk later.
CONTROL OTHER DISTRACTIONS : Mobile phones are a constant source of distraction as calls and messages including Facebook, Whatsapp etc keep calling our attention to other sources of information. Its useful to switch off the mobile device when urgent focus on work is required and check it when you are taking a break only. This will definitely improve your efficiency level and help you to produce error free work,
LIMIT PERSONAL ACTIVITIES TO URGENT AND IMPORTANT ONLY : We tend to be distracted by our personal work while on the job. If these distractions are at the back of the mind we do not focus on our work. So using a software to sync your calendar, set up reminders to ensure your do not miss out on urgent work or appointments is very helpful. This will let you focus on your work without worrying that you may forget something important.
WORK WITH GREATER INTENT : When you work with a greater intent to complete some tasks by the end of the day, you will actually be focusing on those tasks with the intention of completing them. Try to develop a rule for yourself to define three things you intend to do that day. These could be at work or any activities you need to complete at home. This is a powerful tool to use since three things are generally manageable and as you set a priority to completing them you will focus on achieving these. Of course once these three tasks are completed you can move on to other activities as well.
SET A MOCK DEADLINE : The more time one gives oneself to complete some work the longer it takes. However if you set a rigid timeline internally for yourself, you will see that in most cases you achieve it. Thus improving your productivity. On a personal level for example, when I am writing an article I give myself a couple of hours to complete it. I find that in 90% cases I end up very close to that target.
It is human nature to crave distractions and diversions, but in order to be successful we require to adopt strategies that help us to block distractions and focus on what we need to do. Thus working with greater purpose and defining an objective for our self we will focus our attention on accomplishing our goals every time.
Remember : “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”- Pele