Posted by: CompleteITProfessional
Have you ever had a day at work where you just felt like you dominated? You felt like you were really focused, got a lot done, and really achieved something?
Isn’t it great?
Well, there’s a way you can do that again. It’s all about focusing. Let’s have a look at what you can do to be able to have a focused day at work.
Get A Good Sleep The Night Before
One of the most important ways to have a focused day at work is to get a good sleep the night before. The amount of sleep varies from person to person, but if you get a good sleep, you’ll notice the benefits the next day.
There’s not a lot better than getting out of bed in the morning after a good sleep, ready to take on the day. It really sets you up to have a great day at work.
Make A Morning To-Do List
When you get to work, a good way to start the day is to make a to-do list. This is essentially a list of tasks that you need to get done for the day.
Some people prefer to do this the night before, but it’s up to you. Doing it in the morning will ensure you get any emails or requests that have come through overnight.
Go through your emails, your notes, your task list from previous days, and make a list of everything that needs to get done. It can be due today, tomorrow, or sometime in the future. Write it down in a list.
The place you write it down doesn’t matter, just as long as it works for you. Personally, I use the Tasks feature in Microsoft Outlook, but a pen and paper or Excel file will do just fine.
Keeping a list of what needs to be done will make sure you know what to do at all times of the day.
Prioritise Your To-Do List
Now you’ve got your to-do list, you need to work out what the most important things are. You could do this in a few ways.
You can work out what the most important thing is to do right now, based on when it is due, or who is asking for it. If your boss is asking for something to be done ASAP, then do that first. If you need to fix a code issue by the end of the day, that might be next.
You can also figure out what you need to work on next based on the size of the task. If a task will take you four hours to do, but it’s due by the end of the day, it might be the most important thing to do.
This part will take some judgment and some experience from you, but setting priorities are helpful in getting through your day. You can put things in an exact order, or you can give them a High/Medium/Low rating, whatever works for you.
Distractions are a big factor to having a focused day at work. There are so many in the office these days that we don’t even notice. Web sites, mobile phones, and other people can all distract us and stop us from getting work done.
Some ways to eliminate distractions in your day include:
- Put your phone on silent and out of your sight, so you’re not distracted by flashing lights and messages that may come in.
- Turn off your email client popup. Many email clients have a popup to let you know there’s a new email. If you’re working on an important task and don’t care about email, you can turn off this popup so it doesn’t distract you.
- Close your web browser. Getting your web browser off your screen can stop you from getting tempted to visit personal sites like Facebook or your email. This would obviously depend on your role, because sometimes you need the web browser, but it’s an option.
- Close unnecessary windows. In many operating systems, such as Windows 7, it’s easy to open multiple windows and applications. These can drain computer resources, as well as your own time as you decide which window you need to open and which ones are still active. If you’re not using it, close it. It will give you less to think about, and more time to spend doing work.
Having a healthy diet is important, not just for working life, but for life in general. I’m not a nutritionist or dietician, but I’m aware that having a balanced diet is important to your health and your ability to focus.
Eating a big block of chocolate in the afternoon may seem tempting, but it won’t help in the long term and will do more harm than good. Try to drink less energy drinks and drink coffee instead. Eat vegetables and fruit as well.
Even small changes in diet can add up over time. They can really improve your mood and focus and help you to have a better day at work.
Check Items Off Your To-Do List When They Are Completed
Once you get through your task list during the day, it’s important to check items off. Mark them as completed when you finish them. You can do this electronically within Outlook or other system you may use, or cross them off if you’re using a written system. This serves two purposes.
First, it will let you keep track of which items you’ve completed and which are outstanding. It lets you see which items you still need to do, and what the priorities are, based on earlier in the day. You can also rearrange the priorities if needed, as you have a clearer view of what’s left.
Secondly, it can give you a sense of accomplishment. The act of crossing items off as they are completed can give you satisfaction of getting things done. The sight of a list with a few items crossed off is also great for motivation.
Review Your List At The End Of The Day
At the end of the day, it’s a good idea to review your to-do list. Have a look at which items you completed, which items you still need to do. Add any extra items that you haven’t yet had a chance to add. This will ensure you have an up-to-date list and haven’t missed anything.
You can prioritise and update this list now, at the end of the day, if you like. Alternatively, you can leave it until the morning, as suggested earlier in this post. Either way, the to-do list process starts again the next day.
At this point, you should be feeling pretty good. Your list should have a few (or a lot) of items crossed off. It would have hopefully given you a good idea of what to work on at what time, and what is still outstanding. This is a great way to have more focus for your work day.
Well, there’s a few tips that I think can help you dominate with a focused day at work. Hopefully they’re useful for you!