Distracted at Work? 3 Simple Tricks to Get You Focused

tips for focusingIn the world of technology, distractions are everywhere. Pinging notifications have a way of popping up on our phones and computers, and then an hour later, we find ourselves trying to remember what it was we were doing in the first place. However, when it comes to staying focused at work, it's just a matter of building good habits that will stand the test of time (or at least get you to the end of the work day). Here are a few tips for focusing amidst the mountain of emails and instant messages that are sure to come your way. 

3 Tips for Focusing At Work:

  1. Set specific goals.

    Part of the reason we get distracted at all at work is that we are bored or overwhelmed by the task at hand. However, knowing your priorities and setting goals can help minimize any attempt at procrastination. One of the best tips for focusing is proper goal setting. Proper goal setting works best when you break down each goal into reasonable time blocked tasks. Outlining all the steps it will take to accomplish what you want and then giving yourself a time limit for each one will help motivate you to meet your potential and fulfill your deadlines.  Make sure the goals you set are SMART; meaning they are specific, measurable, assignable, relevant, and timely. This will ensure that you aren’t overwhelming yourself or wasting time on unattainable projects. Also try tackling the hardest tasks at the beginning of the day when you’re most energized and have loads of time ahead of you, and save the more routine things on your to do list for the end of the day when you’re brain and attention span is winding down. This way you won’t be as stressed or pushed for time on an important project.
  2. Take breaks.

    It’s important to step back every once in a while, and if you do so regularly, you’ll find yourself less prone to give into the little distractions that present themselves throughout the day because you’ve already taken a break. For example, after spending a period of time hard at work, try rewarding yourself by getting up and walking around, grabbing a cup of coffee, filling up your water bottle, or even eating a mid afternoon treat. You can control the temptation to constantly check emails, social media, and text messages by setting aside a specific about of time in your workday for it. Catch up with your peers during lunch, so you don't find yourself chitchatting at your desk instead of working. It also helps if your work space is somewhat enjoyable. So if you can, listen to background music to pump you up or keep your brain relaxed.
  3. Regulate technology.

    \ When you’re in the office, why not make your devices work for you? Take advantage of the many apps out there that can track your time spent on certain sites, and even block those that you are prone to linger on for too long like YouTube or Facebook. Additionally, consider disabling your phone by turning it on silent, or having calls go directly to voicemail so you’re not interrupted unnecessarily during work hours. Keeping any handheld devices in your bag, or face down on your desk so you can’t see if the screen lights up, will also help prevent you from being pulled off track.
At Number8, we believe one of the keys to achieving your business's goals is great IT that supports your company. We help businesses access great IT by connecting them with remote workers that utilize best-practice tools and processes. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page!

Insights for Business Leaders from a Popular 2016 TED Talk

May 16, 2017 / in Blog, Entrepreneurship, / by Number8

Insights for business leadersEveryone wants to be original. But what does that really mean? Does it mean being the first, or being the best? In one of 2016’s most popular TED Talk sessions, author and professor Adam Grant explores the concept of what makes someone an “original thinker.” Below, we have outlined the three qualifiers from Grant’s talk and how they apply to becoming a successful business leader.

Adam Grant's "The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers" TED Talk

Late to the Party

In his TED Talk, The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers, Grant reveals some unexpected details about the link between procrastination and success. He tells a story of former students who asked him to invest in their start-up. They were behind schedule, so Grant declined. He later found out that their company was none other than the widely successful Warby Parker. As a chronic “pre-crastinator”, Grant failed to see that sometimes procrastination is necessary when building something great. “Originals are non-conformists, they drive creativity in the world,” Grant said. When you procrastinate, you have more time to think through the prompt, and create original, “divergent” ideas. However, procrastination does not always lead to success. There is a “sweet spot” of productivity and creativity somewhere in the middle between pre-crastinating and overly procrastinating. If you start Procrastination can lead to creativity: insights from a TED Talkon a project too early, you aren’t taking advantage of your brain power. Rather you’re solving issues in the easiest, most accessible way, which is most likely how everyone else is working. If you wait too long, you run out of time and do the same thing. But if you procrastinate just long enough, you might reach a truly original solution.

Feel Doubt and Fear

As Grant mentions in his TED Talk, when you think of an original thinker, you think of someone who is unabashedly confident and self-assured. But in reality, people who come up with great and unique ideas are just as afraid of failing as anyone else. What sets them apart however, is that their fear of not trying at all outweighs their fear of failure. They believe in the idea that our biggest regrets are not our actions, but our inactions.

Lots of Bad Ideas

It can be discouraging to have one unsuccessful idea after another, but that doesn’t mean you should stop trying. Original thinkers fail the most because they are the ones that try the most. If you want to be an original, you have to generate a lot of ideas. Is it easy to remember the famous inventors and business-owners for the one idea that made them famous, but that wasn’t their first, or their last idea. Grant also says that an original idea doesn’t necessarily have to be unique. Take Google for instance. The search engine wasn’t the first of its kind. Yahoo came before, and yet Google is used far more frequently than any other search engine. “You don’t have to be first, you just have to be better,” he said. At Number8 we strive to empower original thinkers within our own staff, and among our clients. If you are a business leader with an original idea, but need some help making it happen, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or learn more about our services here  

10 Tips for First Time Entrepreneurs

May 11, 2017 / in Blog, Entrepreneurship, / by Number8

first time entrepreneurIn today’s world it may seem easier than ever to create your own business. As long as you have access to the Internet, the possibilities are endless. However, there are still many difficulties that come along with being a first time entrepreneur. So, below we have assembled a list of ten tips to help you and your business succeed.

Take Risks

Arguably, just making the decision to pursue an independent career as an entrepreneur is risky in itself. And once you get past that first step, you can’t stop taking risks. No matter how intimidating it is, fear of failing should never stop you from taking your business to its highest potential. Playing it safe doesn’t lead to success.

Be in control

Take initiative, and stand by your decisions. Your employees and coworkers will appreciate a firm vision. Own your ideas and stick to a path that you believe in.

Network among peers

Look for employees among your peers. They are more likely to understand your perspective and be able to support it. Hire people that you admire and will enjoy working with. Surround yourself with people who won’t be afraid to challenge you and teach you. Work with people who you respect and who respect you.  

Ask for help

It is difficult to admit when you don’t have all the answers. But if you feel comfortable around your employees, it may be a little easier to ask for advice. It is important to remember that asking for help does not mean you are no longer in control. Even the most successful CEOs struggle, and the sooner you come to terms with that, the better off your company will be.  

Trust your team

As an entrepreneur, it may be tempting to micromanage all goings on throughout the office. But remember that you hired your employees because of their competency. Trust that they are spending their time wisely. It can be disheartening for employees to feel as though they have no control over their work. Resist the urge to nitpick and instead focus your energy on the big picture.  

Know when to say no, and when to say yes

Don’t take on more than you can handle. But also don’t skip out on potentially lucrative projects. This will become easier the longer you are in the business. As a first time entrepreneur, sometimes the best advice is to just trust your instincts and learn from your mistakes.

Stay organized

Organization is essential to being a successful entrepreneur. It can be as simple as keeping up with a mobile calendar, or as detailed as mapping out plans and projects for years to come. You should know what is ahead and be ready for whatever it may be.    

Be true to your brand

Developing and maintaining a brand helps to promote your business and keep it in the public eye. If marketing isn’t in the forefront of your skillset, it would be worth it to either hire an in-house expert or outsource through other companies.  

Save money, but don’t be afraid to splurge on the necessities

As a first time entrepreneur, you probably aren’t generating a large profit yet and should be wise about how you spend money. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean holding onto every last dime. Depending on the type of business, you may need to invest quite a bit of money into technology. If you invest in quality equipment from the beginning, the cost will pay for itself once you attract clients.   

Be accountable

There are many benefits of being your own boss, but sometimes it means being tough on yourself. If you can hold yourself accountable, keep your promises, and consistently follow through with goals, then your employees will too. Set an example, and be the boss that you would want to work for.   At Number8, we understand and support those who want to pursue their own career path as an entrepreneur. We also offer tech support services for new businesses. Learn more about the work we do, and how we can help your company succeed by clicking here, or give us a call at (502) 890-7665!  

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