Distracted at Work? 3 Simple Tricks to Get You Focused

In 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!

Increasing Productivity on a Software Development Team

October 30, 2017 / in Blog, IT Team Player, / by number8

Increasing Productivity Before the New Year

As the year draws to a close, you may notice your software development team is lacking in productivity. You're not alone. Managers from all types of sectors notice a dip in work rate as the holiday festivities approach. So how do you go about increasing productivity with a team distracted by online shopping and dreaming of vacation days?

Communicate Face-to-Face

We often rely on messaging applications like Slack and email to relay important information to teammates, but with all the digital noise available, crucial points may be lost. If you want to keep your employees' attention, start logging IRL face time with your developers. Getting them away from the screen will help keep the task at hand on their mind without being overly aggressive.

Clarify Project Specs

If a project's specifications are not clear, your team will waste hours trying to hit a target they can't even see. Ask your programmers about the requests they receive and their clarity. There is always room for improvement as far as processes go and you will save time and money, in the long run, figuring out how to fix them today.

Lead by Example increasing productivity

Your attitude this season will affect your team's, so be positive and productive if that's how you want them to function. Teams work harder if their leader has a good attitude, so make a concerted effort to stay that way throughout the season.

Encourage Breaks

You may think that encouraging your team to spend time not working is counterproductive, but there is scientific proof that breaks boost productivity in the workplace. If you notice your team members are plugging away hour after hour and not getting up from their desk, gently remind them that it's not a crime to take a break. Encourage them to take a 10-minute walk, get a fresh cup of coffee, or even take a minute to stretch.

Set End-of-Year Goals

Going into the season, have your developers set goals to reach by the end of the year. Help them decide how they will break up the work into daily activities so they can accomplish the goal. Setting small milestones is a good way to keep your programmers on task when the time of year tempts the mind to wander.     At Number8, we encourage healthy business relationships for increased productivity as well as job satisfaction. 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 here!    

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