I don’t know about you, but I have self-diagnosed attention issues. When I’m at work surrounded by my funny, like-minded, similarly-nerdy coworkers, it’s really hard to focus.
Ok even when I didn’t like my co-workers it was hard to focus.
There are plenty of distractions to find. Better yet, your personal distraction machine is probably in your pocket or palm right now.
I don’t have one cure-all solution. I have a toolbox acquired from many years as an unfocused lady with life goals. #ladyboss
Make a list
Sometimes I feel like there’s too much to get done and I sit there doing nothing. To get back on track, I often get out a clean piece of paper or a post it and write down everything I can think to do. Then I can prioritize my next action.
Set a limit
There are two ways to think about distracted time at work.
1. in the words of a hilarious colleague:
the easiest way to increase your hourly rate is to work less
2. the time you waste being distracted at work is time you will ultimately lose from your home life.
So what can you do? You need to advocate. We. We need to advocate. For ourselves, our time, our personal lives.
Practice these phrases:
- That’s a great idea, let’s talk about it at X time after I’ve finished this.
- Let’s get lunch, I can’t wait to hear more about your story. I just need to wrap this up, then we can go!
- *Puts on headphones*doesn’t respond to interruptions.
Wear really bulky headphones
As an SLP, I work with kids to read nonverbal implied communication. Putting on big bulky headphones is a great way to imply, “I’m focusing.” Plus it might help to listen to some instrumental music!
Pomodoro it up
I freaking love the pomodoro method for really long paperwork days!
You spend 25 minutes working and get a 5 minute break. After 3 cycles you give yourself a longer break. It may sound like a whole lot of not working, but you’ll find you are more efficient as you race your timer.
The 2 minute rule
If you think of something to do, and it will take less than 2 minutes… Do it. Do it now.
The 5 second rule
If you are avoiding the start of something, count down from 5. You reach the end and it’s time to start. For me, it’s getting out of bed. I say to myself 5-4-3-2-1 and then I’m up and at ’em!
Sometimes it helps to have a few wins in your pocket. You can build a feeling of success. Then when you start to attempt a harder task you’ve built momentum and confidence. For example, you might wake up, make your bed (win), make breakfast (win), listen to an audiobook on your way to work (win), do your first task on your to do list (win), etc!
Eat the ugliest frog
If you’ve read this post, you know all about this one. On the other hand, sometime its better to start with your biggest, ugliest task. I find that sometimes this helps me to focus and other times it prevents me from ever starting. The trick is to figure out what works for you when!
Good luck! Let me know what strategies you love in the comments below!