Looking to improve your concentration? In today’s post from our IT Coach, Michelle Hamer, we look at a mixed bag of tips and techniques that might help.
- Prioritise – having too much to do can be distracting, and this often leads to procrastination. Do you jump quickly from task to task, creating an illusion of work but in reality, not achieving much? Try starting your day (or ending the day before) with 10 or 15 minutes to prioritise your to-do list. There are many articles you can read on ways of overcoming procrastination – see if you can find one that suits you.
- Take on your hardest tasks when you are most alert and fresh – this will help you maximise your concentration. For most of us this will be first thing in the morning but everyone is different and you will know what time of day you are at your best, so use it wisely.
- If you have a headset for your phone, consider using it for a few hours each day. If colleagues think that you are on the phone, they will be less likely to interrupt you.
- Promise yourself a reward – this can be great if you work alone or for yourself and don’t have the support of a team to help keep you motivated. For example, I promise myself a trip to the local florist which is also a great coffee shop. Small self-rewards can be great motivators.
- Turn off email notifications or better still have email down-time. It can be very distracting to have emails pinging into your inbox every few minutes – you’re tempted to stop what you’re doing and answer them. In Outlook to turn off the email notification, select File > Options > Mail and under the Message arrival banner un-check the “Play a sound” option. Better yet, turn off your email altogether and jot your notes into Word and copy and paste them into Outlook when you are online next.
Many of the suggestions covered in this five-part series on improving concentration and focus may be obvious and some you probably already know. But when you are absorbed in problems and trying to get focussed, it can be all too easy not to consider what you already know, so hopefully these reminders will be useful. If you just try one or two of the techniques you might find you get enough of a boost to your concentration to try more!