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How to Be Focused and Productive at Work So You Don't Have to Bring Work Home

by Nadira Ezrin. |

If I asked you the real definition of productivity, what would you have in your mind?

A lot of people would imagine a day with most of their tasks done efficiently.


Productivity varies differently for each person. For some, it could mean doing many tasks within a specific amount of time like getting solid 6 hours sleep, cleaning a chaotic bedroom, taking a walk at the park as a productive day. Some would consider their day productive when it's time spent with friends, enjoying themselves and over good food and company.


For me, one of the few tasks I find myself most productive is when I'm able to, take a 6 AM run, read a good book and get my laundry done.


But how about when it comes to productivity at work? Have you ever felt like your 8 hours at workplace is often not enough to get your job done and you have to bring work home? Bringing your work home could make you feel like you're not completing your work efficiently and you will not get sufficient rest as you should leading to burnout.


Here are a few ways you could try in order to be more focused and productive at work:


1. Keep your workspace clean

Did you know that your physical environment could affect your work productivity? Researchers of the Psychology Department from Princeton University found that too much stuff in your field of view has a measurable impact on productivity. Too much clutter will eventually cause an inability for one to stay focused.


A clean and tidy space will put your mind at ease and help you to focus for a long time. It is best if you can keep your desk as minimal as possible and minimize fancy decorations that can distract you. Plus, it helps you to save time from looking for your missing item all over the place. Keeping a simple workspace can boost your focus and productivity so that you can get more work done on time.


2. Try your best keep your phone away from you

Yes, we had to include this in. We are all attached to our phones almost every single time and it has become a pervasive part of our lives. But when it is time to get your tasks done, your phone can the most tempting thing and you should get rid of it first. However, no matter how some of us try to avoid using our phones while working, we always find ourselves holding onto them again after a few moments, thus we failed to focus consistently.



There are a few apps that can prevent you from using your phone to help boost your productivity. Forest is an application that helps you to be productive by letting you to virtually build a tree in a specific duration, specifically the duration of your desired time to focus on your work. It prevents you to exit the apps before the timer goes off, otherwise, your little virtual tree will die.


I understand that some of us can't work in complete silence and would prefer to have background noises when working. However, using our phones to play music will captivate us to constantly check them. To solve this, just simply use Noisli on your desktop or laptop. It offers various kinds of unique sounds such as rain, thunder, water stream, fireplace, train and even combinations of them to help you focus and boost up your productivity.


Try to do this at least for a day and you will be surprised on the number of tasks that you managed to finish on time.

3. Plan ahead

Have you ever struggled to remember important upcoming events and due dates? As a result, you were always in a rush and tend to be unorganized because of your poor time management. In order to be more productive, you need to be alert of the due dates so that you can get your work done just in time.


If your job makes you occupied and requires you to get everything done in a short period, I would recommend for you to own a yearly planner. You can jot down your to-do lists, upcoming events and appointments, meetings, all in one place. Since last year, my life has been so much easier ever since I decided to use a planner. I started and ended my day by flipping through my planner to gear up for the following weeks. Subsequently, my days become more productive as I try to get more and more tasks done a few days before it dues because I have an overview of everything that needs to be done.


If you're not a pen and paper kind of person, try using a virtual task manager like Asana or Trello instead.


4. Set daily goals instead of weekly.

One of the fundamental things of productivity is to set smaller goals before you achieve big goals. Try to start your day by setting daily goals. For example, in order to achieve the main target of succeeding in a client meeting in the following week, you might want to get your designs and documentation done at the end of the day.



By constantly setting your daily objectives, each day you will be more focus on accomplishing the goals that you have set. With every new task assigned, the scope may be too broad. But when you break it down into a few sub-tasks and arrange them according to their priorities, the assignment can be achieved with a lot easier and efficiently.



5. Take care of your body

If your body isn't in the best condition, you're also unable to function as well mentally. Eat well, have enough rest and exercise. Go a morning run or exercise before you come to work. Starting your day with an energetic body can help you to focus throughout the day because it increases your alertness. This isn’t about just losing weight or staying in shape, but try to set your mind and purpose to be more productive at work.


You can also try to do meditate as soon as you wake up. Headspace is an app that guides you on how to meditate and live mindfully by using their hundreds of themed sessions on everything from stress and sleep to focus and anxiety. I use Headspace every morning and it took me around 5 minutes per session. As a result, I personally find that I subconsciously became more prepared to hustle until the end of the day.


Aside from that, it's also best control the number of meals that you’re taking; we know, snacking can be tempting! Breakfast is very essential and you should never skip it. What you eat can affect your brainpower, so it's important to eat breakfast foods that can help you to focus. During lunchtime, try to not eat too full that you bloat. Bloating will cause discomfort to your body, later it makes you unable to focus and distracted throughout the day.


Taking good care of your body will increased your blood flow, so that you will be less anxious, more focused and capable of dealing with stress.


6. Take short breaks

A short break can give you that burst of inspiration and creativity you’ve been looking for. It also allows your mind to reset and restore your motivation. When you are getting too much on hand, you need to step back, take a deep breath, and reflect. You might also want to get a caffeine shot to boost up your brainpower. However, limit your caffeine consumption as the more you drink caffeinated beverages, the more your body gets used to the stimulant and the less impact it has on you.



Also, I'm sure we have had moments when you're working too hard on a certain project and you fing you were slowly losing focus. Try to switch tasks. You have been focusing on one thing for too long, and now your brain needs a change. Giving yourself a variety of things to work on can help to stay focused for longer time.


There are many habits that you can start to apply to train yourself to be more focused and productive at work. But of course, no one can change over a new leaf overnight. It will take you a few weeks or months apply new habits into your life. No matter how difficult it is, try to do it consistently because eventually, it will become a habit that you can’t resist.


Good luck!


You may find out more about Nadira on her Instagram too.

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