The best tech tools in the world may help a business solve productivity challenges throughout the company, but the individual worker still has a responsibility to ensure any work that needs to be done is completed in a timely manner. But with all of today’s distractions and talk of collaboration, finding the time to stay focused is harder than ever. Workers, however, can utilize a number of techniques to keep up productivity and ensure work is finished efficiently.
Learn How to Ignore
One of the easiest tips to recommend but probably the hardest to actually complete, learning to ignore is a special skill that’s easy to pick up, but difficult to master. The most capable have extreme focus and can enter a sort of “zone” where only work matters. Even the loudest distraction won’t have much of an effect. However, individuals who have this type of concentration are the exception, not the rule, especially as so much of our daily lives is now spent responding to emails, texts, phone calls and alerts.
But there’s still hope for the rest of us. Certain techniques can be used to at least help many eliminate some distractions so their focus isn’t broken as easily. Some individuals employ white noise to eliminate noise pollution, lock the door to get rid of interruptions and turn any devices that may break their focus. It’s perfectly alright to turn off a smartphone during working hours. Unless there’s an ongoing emergency, a smartphone will feel perfectly alright being rendered immobile – at least for a little while.
Set a Time for Collaboration
Collaborative efforts are all well and good, but they shouldn’t exactly be welcome when an individual needs to center his or her focus on a piece of work. When this time is necessary, an individual should set presence tools to “busy”, close the door and let any potential coworker looking for collaboration know now is not the time. However, an individual should make up for that lost collaborative time later in the day or week. If an individual is part of a team, he or she should schedule a later time when an open door policy is welcomed. Burying your head into your work is important, but so is making time for coworkers to ensure any needed collaboration can be done.
Create a Feedback Loop
A simple trick anyone can use is prepping oneself psychologically when set to enter a focused state, which can be done through outside signals. For example, some writers light a candle when they need to really focus. The candle isn’t as important as the signal itself. A worker is basically teaching his mind and body that whenever a candle is lit, focus is needed. This can be done through any outside signal – listening to a certain kind of music, putting on a certain piece of clothing, eating a certain food or any other ritual. Either way, your body and mind start to associate a focused work state with a certain action, and it’s easier to access that state when the action is completed.
Set Time Limits
Sometimes, all a worker needs is a deadline to be more productive. Time limits are great ways to keep a person’s head in the game and keep them focused toward a goal. A similar productivity device is known as the Pomodoro technique. Basically, individuals set a 25-minute timer and work to complete as much work as possible in those 25 minutes. When the time goes off, individuals can then take a three to five minute break to clear their head. Four sets of 25 then form an entire Pomodoro set at which an individual can take a longer 15-minute break.
While each productivity technique has its benefits, not every individual will find each technique will benefit their actual working style. They’ll most likely have to mix and match to find what productivity practices work best for them. For example, some individuals flourish better in a distraction-filled area, while others would rather light a candle and keep their heads down.
Businesses can extend individual productivity by ensuring individual workers have the technology and the environment they need. From presence tools to collaborative tech (that easily turns off and on), businesses can put the processes in place and watch users and, consequently, the business receive the benefits of increased productivity.