Stay on Task – How to Focus on Your Work and Stop Wasting So Much Time

How do you stay on task and be focused in the modern office environment? After all there are all these gadgets that distract you from your work.

Just the computer itself, you are connected to the whole world. News, emails, Facebook, messenger systems. What about your cell phone? Add these together, if you do not have good self discipline, it is very difficult to focus.

How do you focus on your work? How do you stop wasting time? Personally, I have tried some of these and it has worked well for me. Of course, I do at times still get distracted but the incidences are far lesser now.

1. Be Organized
How do you get organized? Is it through a to-do list? How do you organize your to-do list? Even if you have one, make sure you adhere by the to-do list religiously. Giving yourself excuses to defer every item on it will just make it worse for you. Add a little discipline into your life to get organized so you can stay on task everyday.

2. Simplify The Task
Is there a way you can break down the work into simpler smaller tasks? Sometimes you may get overwhelmed by a big task and start to give yourself excuse to be distracted. It’s an excuse not to look at something you feel is insurmountable. Learn to simplify big jobs into smaller bite size chunk so you can stay on task.

3. Keep The Schedule
Related to being organized, you should have the discipline to keep the schedule. This is slightly different because this entails keeping to the time. Even if you have a to-do list, give yourself a timeline that you need to complete. Otherwise, your to-do list is just a moving target. That makes it hard for you to stay on task.

4. Set Goals
Give yourself a few daily goals you want to complete before the end of the day. Of course, be realistic about it. There is no point being over ambitious and ending up not achieving any. Be realistic. Start with small goals. Perhaps, finish three important task for the day? Then increase the number of tasks the next day. Follow on with next steps each time you complete a goal as there are always follow ups.

5. Plan Your Day
One way to stay on task is to plan your day. Preplan your day if you can. That keeps you focused on the work you will be completing. It is tough to ignore work you have been preplanning and planning for a day in advance. Once you use this together with the other action steps, you will succeed to stay on task.

6. Keep A Routine
Tell yourself there are no such things as “I have no mood, no inspiration, no inkling to start on xxx today.” Give yourself a routine when you will do certain blocks of work. For example, reply emails early in the morning. Prepare for the weekly work-in-progress report every Tuesday evening. That way you do it as a routine and excuses do not come into play.

7. Clear Today’s Work Today
Simplest way to stay focused is to clear today’s work today. Clear your in-tray and your email in-box before you leave for home today. Today’s work should be done today, not tomorrow, not when the mood comes.

8. Eliminate Distractions
Switch off the cell phone, turn off the chats and the messenger. Close the internet browser. Eliminating distractions is another way to stay on task. Focus on the work and get into the flow of work. Like an artist, once you hit the flow, it will be difficult to stop.

Try these action steps in order to stay on task. These are called action steps as stopping to waste so much time takes action and effort. Focus on what you need to do.

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