Staying focused for long periods can be tough sometimes, especially now that some of us have to work from home. Most of us need the daily routine of waking up and commuting to the office to get pumped for the day. And without that, it’s easy to feel unfocused and even unbalanced in a way.
Morning routines can set the tone for the entire day, making the difference between a productive day and a whole lot of procrastination. However, if your previous habits aren’t cutting it anymore, and you can’t stay focused on work, you might need a new plan.
You don’t have to be ashamed to admit that you’ve been struggling. You’re only human, after all. Acceptance is the first step. Now we have to work on finding ways to remedy the situation and offer useful tips to help stay focused.
Causes of Time Management Failures
Before exploring methods that’ll help you stay focused and manage your time, let’s first check out the root causes of unproductivity.
1. Poor Organizational Skills
In most cases, excellent organizational skills serve as a prerequisite for productivity. It goes beyond merely creating a to-do list. Having great organizational skills means assuming responsibilities that help you achieve the best possible results - in everything.
Most of us suffer from this problem as we tend to postpone tasks we can achieve immediately to a later date. Pushing things down the road offers immediate gratification, and sometimes it’s easier to say yes to that rather than doing the hard work up front. These unfulfilled tasks, however, interfere with our productivity because your responsibilities pile up over time and can cause you more stress than what is necessary.
3. Working Against your Internal Clock
We all have peak hours for focus and productivity. Not knowing the right time to schedule arduous tasks usually plays a role in most unfinished projects.
You need to understand your internal rhythm and utilize it. If you need six hours of sleep to perform optimally, then get it. Your productivity levels increase when you’re well-rested.
Time Management Tips to Keep You Focused
You need to master the right time management skills to help you stay productive long enough to complete your tasks. Let’s explore some tips that may help with the process.
1. Keep Your Workspace Organized
Avoid wasting time looking for a misplaced item. Your workspace should be tidy and organized, which means putting back everything where it belongs after using it. Adopting this tactic can help you cut back on wasted time you can then channel into completing daily tasks.
2. Prioritize Appropriately
Create a to-do list that ranks your daily tasks from most challenging to least challenging. Tackle the more demanding projects during your peak productivity hours; for most people, it’s usually in the morning after waking up from sleep. Schedule tasks that don’t require much brainpower for later in the day.
3. Move on to the Next Task
Don’t waste much time trying to make something work. Let’s say you have a blog post to write, and you’ve spent over 30 minutes staring at the blank screen. Instead of wasting precious time in writer’s block, move on to the next item on your to-do list and keep the flow going.
You can always circle back to a task later when inspiration strikes.
Apps that Improve Focus
If you still need help staying focused on your daily tasks, these apps here might assist you.
As the name implies, Forest helps you stay focused on essential tasks by planting a tree as you work. If you get distracted and leave the app, your tree dies. The longer you stay productive, the more achievements you unlock, expanding your forest in the process.
The app is also great for teamwork. You can collaborate with friends and plant trees together. However, if one of you gets distracted and leaves, everyone’s plant dies. It’s not only a great motivator for accountability, but it also provides a fun release throughout the day as you check-in with your team and your own tasks.
This app works great for people who can’t seem to stay away from Twitter and other social media sites during work. One second, you’re writing a proposal for work, and the next, you’re following a trend that sends you down a conspiracy-theory rabbit hole.
Mindful Browsing is a Chrome plugin that interrupts unnecessary browsing sessions with beautiful images of trees or sunsets. All you need to do to get it running is to type in the URL of websites you want to avoid while working.
Trust us, we all need this app in our lives.
3. Hocus Focus
The application hides inactive windows that you haven’t used for a while so that you can only view one. This strategy prevents you from switching back and forth between multiple tabs and allows you to focus on one at a time.
If you love multitasking, Hocus Focus might seem like a nightmare to you, but it helps keep your mind focused. You can also customize the app to hide specific sites, depending on what you’re doing.
Hocus Focus was initially built for Mac OS, but you can use it on Safari and Chrome browsers now, too.
Motion is another Chrome plugin that intervenes in-real-time when you’re on a distracting site. The app sends a pop-up that prompts you to close the tab or use it for a specified duration. You can always ask for more time if you need it.
Motion limits the time you spend on things that aren’t related to your tasks. And even when you forget about a particular job you’re supposed to complete, Motion sends a reminder to help keep you on track.
This app helps you boost productivity with ambient background noise. Noisli offers noises that drown out annoying and distracting sounds to enhance concentration and efficiency. The offline feature lets you play the sounds even when you have to turn off your internet connection.
If playlists with lyrics tend to bring out a mini-karaoke session in you, Noisli might be the perfect solution for you to truly focus.
Improve Your Productivity
It’s easy to slip into unproductivity if you don’t keep yourself focused and motivated. Use an app from the list above and start developing good, productive habits.
Speaking of taking more control. Use the GVTC Wi-Fi app to stay in charge of your home internet connection and access to help limit the time you spend online shopping and promote better time management skills.