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December 31, 2018

Focus on Results

Focus is necessary if you want to excel in any activity, be positively productive, and achieve the results you need, but focusing at work can be challenging. Here are some tips to make focusing easier.

  • Be proactive about interruptions. When you are interrupted, it takes up to 20 minutes to regain your focus. Be assertive when someone tries to interrupt you. Tell them politely that you cannot be disturbed now and will contact them at a specific, later time. If necessary, move to an unoccupied office or conference room and close the door. See my blog post Take Charge of Interruptions.
  • Be prepared to work. Set an appointment on your calendar to work on a critical activity and add a 15-minute notification. When you hear the notification, immediately stop what you are doing and gather everything you will need for the scheduled activity. Turn on your voicemail messaging and out-of-office email responder, stating when you will be available to reply. At the appointed time, focus solely on the scheduled activity without interruption
  • Take breaks. Intense focus is good for only about 50 to 60 minutes before it is depleted. Set a timer to remind you to stop working and move for about 5 minutes. Get out of the office, stretch, grab a snack or drink. When you return to your desk, you will be ready for another round of focused activity.

The ability to focus is a critical factor in being positively productive and getting things done. Practice focusing for a set amount of time each day, and you will see dramatic results in what you achieve.

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