Recently, someone asked us;
What are some tips to refocus when you’re off task?
Many of us struggle to stay focused and be productive.
Turn your procrastination into productivity.
I wrote an article for Forbes on this very topic sharing one of my best productivity tools called The Power Hour. (Read about it HERE)
The opportunity for distraction is greater than it’s ever been.
Thanks to mobile technology, you can buy your niece a birthday present on Amazon (LOL dolls are so popular..but what about legos? Or maybe we should encourage STEM with an engineering game for girls?!) and listen to a conference call (yes, Steve, we’ve finalized the budget) AND stand in line at the grocery store (oooh, more pics of Meghan Markle in People…sure, I’ll take a look) all at the same time.
It’s crazy pants.
With social media and the consumption of news and most information having migrated almost
all online, there’s a constant temptation to be doing something else.
Before mobile technology, you may have been dreaming about Hawaii while trying to do work. Now, you can look at pictures of your friends in Hawaii, price out flights, peruse luxury hotels, check Yelp for restaurant reviews and book your massage or horseback riding adventure all while at work.
Information is more accessible than ever before = Distractions are more accessible than ever before.
We need to respond to this increase in information with an increased ability to stay focused.
The best way to do this is to consciously cultivate your ability to focus in the present moment.
You must train your mind to do only one task at a time. This requires self-awareness, keystone habits, focus, and willpower.
Here are 5 tips to turn your procrastination into productivity:
The first step to refocus when you’re off task is to begin noticing when you’re off track and catch yourself sooner in the process of getting off track. You can cultivate self-awareness by doing check-ins throughout the day to see whether or not you’re on task.
Try setting a timer every ninety minutes and notice how you’ve spent your time.
With practice, you’ll catch yourself sooner when you veer off track, and instead of going down a rabbit hole spending an hour reading the news or on social media, you’ll recognize after a few minutes; “Oh, geez, I just spent five minutes on Facebook when I need to be finishing that project at work,” and you’ll get back on track earlier.
2. Build Keystone Habits
I recommend doing a Power Hour at least once a week, if not every day, to enhance your productivity. This one habit will help you eliminate multitasking and focus on your most important tasks first thing in the morning when your willpower is strongest. You can read the full instructions on how to do a Power Hour HERE.
3. Improve Focus
Increasing your brain’s ability to stay focused is critical in today’s fast-paced world. This focusing meditation will help you learn to focus your attention and awareness and direct that energy in a concentrated way.
4. Break States
When you notice you’ve gotten off track, rather than trying to shift gears and dive straight into the next task, give yourself a quick transition period or break state. Take two or three deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling to the count of six. Or look around the room and notice all the colors. Walk down the hall and get a glass of water, setting the intention that you’ll refocus when you come back.
These break state activities will help you transition from procrastination to productivity. And you’ll create a positive habit that supports your nervous system to respond in a healthy way and remember it’s time to refocus. (upside benefit: you’ll be really well hydrated if you get a glass of water every time you’re off track) 😉
5. Enhance Willpower with Self-Compassion
When you notice you’ve lost focus, instead of beating yourself up, be kind to yourself. Research shows that self-compassion actually boosts willpower. Try saying; “I’m just a little bunny learning my lessons, trying to stay focused.” Or; “I learn from my mistakes and move on.” Then do your break state habit and get refocused.
The best thing you can do when you notice you’re off track is to be kind to yourself, and then refocus.
Now it’s your turn to let us know – what tips help you refocus when you’re off task? Join the conversation, leave a comment BELOW and let us know!
We’d love to hear from you! Do you struggle to stay focused? What did you think of these tips?
I am a world class procrastinator! I’m a writer and do fiction (3 novels in progress, with no finish date in sight), 2 published books about craft beer (I guess I CAN finish some projects), and some freelance articles for income. So the nature of having different topics is built-in multi-tasking. One tool that really helps is called the Pomodoro Technique. You can download for free the app, which has a timer for a 25 minute work period. 5 minute break. Repeat. I can write and focus so well when I hear that gentle “heartbeat” timer ticking.
I’m so happy to hear you found a technique that works for you Kate! The Power Hour I often teach corporate clients is very similar to the Pomodoro Technique, and I think even based off it. 🙂
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