The Single-Eyed Employee
The typical employee has a fully-kitted arsenal of devices: personal phone, work phone, laptop, tablet. And on these devices are even more productivity tools: calendar, organizer, Skype, reminder apps, notepad apps, text messaging, email apps, messenger apps – and these are just the productive applications. Add to that, news updates, blogs, websites, linkedIn, facebook, twitter, instagram, and other dubiously productive forms of social media and we can easily say this: the typical employee has a fully-kitted arsenal of distraction.
A recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology suggests that our brains are finely attuned to distraction – even the slightest interruption has the power to decrease our productivity significantly.
Further research shows that the majority of us can only truly focus for an average of six hours a week! It’s crucial that we use the time wisely.
And while it is easy enough for employees to make legitimate claims about their distractions, losing focus at work typically leads to reduced productivity: missed deadlines, passed opportunities, raise denial, demotion and increased stress levels which may, eventually, result in employee redundancy.
If you struggle with focusing at work, here are a few tips to help convert all that distracted energy into single-eyed efficiency:
1. Identify your most productive hours in the day.
The work week is structured to utilize daytime effectively; however some people are just not very efficient in the morning. Many people find that mid-afternoon to early evening is when they are best able to concentrate, while others thrive at night.
It is important that you identify your most productive hours. This will help you plan your day, allocating the toughest tasks to the most productive times – even if that means getting some work done outside of normal office hours. You can tweet in your less productive hours, instead.
2. Remove all distractions.
Be rigorous! Hide your phone, turn off your email notifications, and delete your Candy Crush app for as long as you need to complete your tasks and deadlines. In fact, eliminate social media temptation by turning off the Internet altogether – if possible. Missing a few phone calls or emails will not upset your day as much as being unproductive will.
3. Restrain your inner child.
Distraction and procrastination are intertwined; it’s rare to find one without some trace of the other. When we procrastinate, we’re simply succumbing to the distractions around us, putting off work in order to feel good in the moment. However, difficult and unpleasant tasks will not magically become easier when moved to another hour or day. The quickest way to break the habit is to realize that getting started on important tasks has nothing to do with how you feel.
It is crucial to remember that employers of talent reward single-eyed focus and efficiency, with little regard for the number of hours spent idling on the internet. Turn away from distraction and watch your productivity increase in leaps and bounds.
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