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10 Ways To Focus On Productivity At Work

As an employee, it’s often challenging to focus on one task at a time when there’s a constant flow of emails entering your inbox along with phone calls, people asking you questions etc.  Here are 10 ways to focus on productivity at work, from which I have excerpted three of my favourite.  They are written by Daniel Bortz for USNews.com and I highly recommend a read.

10 Ways To Focus On Productivity At Work

Set long-term goals. “Too many people get caught up in the day-to-day things that need to be done—the recent email that came in, the phone call that just came in—and then they really don’t get anything done that’s significant because they’re just fighting fires,” Wendleton says. Develop two big-picture things that you want to accomplish throughout the year and post them next to your computer as a reminder.

Don’t multitask. Focus is key. “These people who think that they can multitask are wrong,” Wendleton says. Focus on one thing, get it done, and move on. “The people who are able to focus and get something done well are the people who are most productive,” she says.

Multitasking will eat up 40 percent of your workday, Tabaka says. “Employers want people who can focus,” she says. Instead, block out time to do certain tasks. “You’re not putting things off—you’re scheduling things,” Tabaka says.

Power nap. A number of medical studies have shown that short napping in the early afternoon increases a person’s pr

oductivity, alertness, and sometimes even their mood. “A very short, regenerative nap can help you channel your energy and refocus,” Tabaka says. Just be sure not to sleep for more than 15 to 20 minutes. Otherwise, it could create problems with your boss.

Read the full, original, article here

From these 10 ways to focus on productivity at work, a favourite of mine was to take a power nap.  Now, whilst I love the idea of this, it’s not often that easy.  My choice used to be the toilet cubicles and a number my colleagues/friends would do the same.  We used to exchange ideas of how to create a pillow and more often than not, the toilet roll on its holder would be the preferred choice.

 

 

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Focus On Being Creative?

I was taken by this article written by Carrie Barron for Psychology Today as I for one have always been practical and sought enjoyment and satisfaction through being creative, namely with home renovations.  Do you ever focus on being creative? Her article explains how Dr Kelly Lambert has discovered a relationship between the use of your hands, cultural habit and mood.

Focus On Being Creative?

Consider how you felt the last time you made something by hand.  Whether it was a cake, a home improvement project, a garden, or a scrapbook, it was absorbing and satisfying, right? Maybe you even had a moment or more of euphoria.

Creating something with your hands fosters pride and satisfaction, but also provides psychological benefits. Because it can uncover and channel inner stirrings, wounds smart less and growth ensues. When you make something you feel productive, but the engagement and exploration involved in the doing can move your mind and elevate your mood. As you sift, shape, move and address your project your inner being moves too. As one of my clients said, “It isn’t so much what you can do, but what you do do.” The process itself provides value.  If we can treasure doing as much as having done we provide new avenues for success, self-esteemor self-repair.

Click here to view the original source of the article

I think we all have it in us to be creative in some respect and it’s all too easy to lose focus on being creative. As Sir Ken Robinson (creativity expert) quite rightly points out (in my opinion), as we’re all put through education, we’re all steered towards financial security and subjects that put is the in the best stead for getting a well-paid job.  At the same time, we’re often steered away from out creative side, the arts subjects, which is often where people are in their element.  I’ve featured this clip a few times on this blog now, but in case you missed it, I thought I’d feature it again.  It’s 20 minutes long but entertaining and quite frankly, brilliant.

Sir Ken Robinson: Do Schools Kill Creativity?

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How To Focus Like A Monk

Monks are known for their laser-sharp focusing abilities.  If you would like to learn how to focus like a monk, then look no further. If you’re a regular on this site, this post may sound familiar, but it is in fact, different.  This excerpt, originally written by Leo Babauta has been take from zenhabits.net and provides straight forward guidelines of how to get your focus back on track.

How To Focus Like A Monk

Focus Best Practices

There is no one way to find focus, but what works for me is to clear everything away and create a little space of tranquil focus. Some tips for doing that:

  • Close the browser and your email program. If you need to work in the browser then make sure no tabs or windows are open other than the one you absolutely need.
  • Turn off all notifications. Trying to focus while something is notifying you of an incoming email or tweet or Facebook update is impossible.
  • Turn off the Internet. Shut off your connection, unplug your router, or best yet, go to a place where the is no Internet (yes, those still exist). This is the absolute best way to find focus.
  • Close all programs and windows other than what you need for this one task.
  • Have a very important task to do. Not just “check email” but “write chapter in my novel” or “write that kick-ass blog post I’ve been planning” or “write that new Android app”.
  • Clear your desk. No need to spend all day on this — shove everything in a drawer or put it in a box to be sorted later. Don’t fiddle with this now. In fact, don’t fiddle with anything — don’t worry about the perfect setup or perfect notebook for writing or the perfect anything.
  • Plug in the headphones. If you have people around who might distract you, wearing headphones and playing some good, peaceful music is perfect.
  • Use a simple program. For writing, I like plain text editors (TextEdit, TextWrangler) or writing programs that block everything out (OmmWriter, WriteRoom). No distractions.

Click here to read more and visit the original source of the article

So there you have it, your focusing challenges are over! You may have come across similar tips on how to focus like a monk but I thought these were so straight forward and made a lot of sense.  The full article explains how to learn how to focus for longer, by taking small steps and increasing your focusing time incrementally each day. What did you think of this article? Please share below.

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Ways To Focus

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Welcome to Ways To Focus. Together with visitors like you, we are building the  biggest and best collection of articles about ways to focus.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, employee, student, athlete or school child with ADHD, you will find all sorts of relevant information on this site which will benefit you.

We cover all sorts of ways to focus including exercise, time management, goal setting, planning, decision-making, removing distractions, sleep, food, meditation and more.

Get focused from today and subscribe to our FREE weekly newsletter which covers the best articles each week, delivered directly to your inbox, every Thursday morning.

 

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How To Avoid Exam Stress And Focus

This is an article especially for students at this stressful (for some) time of year.  If you’re quickly approaching exam time, then these tips on how to avoid exam stress and focus are well worth a read.  They are written by Learning Development Officer, Paula Moran for the Belfast Telegraph.  Some of the tips you may have already come across but there are some useful, original pointers in here too, such as an example revision day.

How To Avoid Exam Stress And Focus

Revision Suggestions Leading Up To Exams:

Typical day

8.00am breakfast/shower/get dressed

8.30am get your study space ready and all you need for the morning.

9-10.30 Learn a topic e.g. Topic one for Biology (create flash cards, spider diagrams or lists with key points)

10.30 -11 Test yourself on that topic

11.-11.30 Short walk, snack

11.30-1pm past paper for maths

1-2pm Break and lunch

2-3.30pm Biology topic two (as above)

3.30-4pm Test yourself or get someone to ask you questions

4.- 6pm break/tea/watch TV

6-7.30pm Go through notes for another subject covering a key topic

7.30-8pm Break

8-9pm Test yourself on what you have just covered

9-9.30 tick off what you have covered today and look over plan for next day

9.30 – 10 relax

10.30 Bed and sleep

In Exams

Make sure you have everything you need for the exam. When you go in read over the instructions carefully and re-read. Allocate your time so that you cover all the questions do not be tempted to spend more on the answers you know more about as you will lose marks on questions you haven’t attempted. If you find it hard to get started or feel you are getting panicky just start to write something on your notes page to get your focus back on the exam paper. If you have lost marks for silly mistakes in the past give yourself time to check over your answers and read each question carefully, underlining key words to keep you focused. If a question is worded differently than you expected take your time to think of how you can apply what you know..

When you come out, tick off the exam you have finished and move on to the next subject do not waste time analysing what you could have done differently.

Click here to view the original source of the article

Were these tips on how to avoid exam stress and focus useful for you? Please share with your friends if you think so (icons below). I’ve been there at exam time plenty of times, during school, university, and for a masters so I am only too familiar with one’s frame of mind around exam time.   As Paula Moran quite rightly points out, and as I’ve said a number of times over different posts, exercise is key in reducing stress.  You’ll never regret doing exercise! (Unless you injure yourself, don’t get that happen.) You’ll only feel great afterwards and it will enable you to refocus and think clearly.  Always make time of it! There were times when I would wind myself up to the point of near burn out when trying to solve problems, then go for a cycle or run, and sit back down at my desk and solve those problems almost immediately.

 

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How To Improve Your Focus And Creativity

If you would to learn how to improve your focus and creativity, then these words from co-author of Organize Your Brain, Organize Your Life: Train Your Brain To Get More Done In Less Time, Margaret Moore, should fill you with confidence.  This article was written by Celeste Perron For HealthGoesStrong.com and I have excerpted two of my favourite points.

How To Improve Your Focus And Creativity

Take brain breaks. One key to better focus is to take a “brain break” every 30-60 minutes. “After that amount of time your brain gets depleted and you need a break, especially as the day goes on,” says Moore. “So move around and do little tasks like making the bed, or go for a walk.” Surfing the web and watching funny YouTube videos doesn’t necessarily qualify as a brain break. “It’s important to get out of your chair and move your body,” she says, and adds, “sometimes taking break from what you’re doing can lead to your best creative insights, which is why we so often hit upon great ideas in the shower.”

Stay cognitively flexible. One risk we face as we age is mental rigidity, getting stuck in opinions and thought patterns that can block creativity and also hurt working memory. One trick Moore suggests for preventing that is intentionally exposing yourself to opposing points of view—say, watch MSNBC followed by Fox News, or read an editorial in the New York Times followed by one in the Wall Street Journal that voices the opposite opinion. “You don’t want to get too stuck in your ways of thinking, because being able to understand multiple points of view helps you stay more youthful and get the most of your brain.”

Click here to view the original source of the article

Of these methods on how to improve your focus and creativity, I could entirely relate to Margaret Moore’s suggestion to take brain breaks away from your computer.  She makes a point that you can often have your best ideas when you’re in the shower – this is so true.  It’s easy to reach a stalemate sat in front of your computer.  If you read the full article you’d have understood the importance of reducing stress, getting enough sleep, not multitasking and feeding your brain with the right types of food in improving your focus and creativity.  She also mentioned how exercise is essential as it helps your prefrontal cortex to grow as well as reduces stress.  As you may know by now (as a regular on this site), the hippocampus is largely responsible for memory and exercise is essential in maintaining a healthy hippocampus.

The point about remaining cognitively flexible was very interesting as was her reference to mental rigidity.  I can completely identify with that as I have parents! I’ll be having words.

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3 Ways To Improve Your Brain Power

Did you know that you can improve the plasticity of your brain with a few very simple exercises? (Plasticity in broad is about your brain’s ability to repair itself through the development of neurons.)  Here are 3 ways to improve your brain power that you can do in the comfort of your own home.

3 Ways To Improve Your Brain Power

Reduce Stress
Research suggests that chronic stress can actually shrink parts f the brain that are responsible for memory and can speed up aging of the brain. Reducing stress by learning how to unwind can improve your memory as well as improve your mood.

Get Some Sleep
It’s no big surprise that sleep is important. Now we know that it not only is essential for health and wellness, but for memory too. Studies have shown that people who stay up all night after learning a new task are less likely to recall it in the morning as those who sleep. While you probably don’t pull all-nighters anymore, loss of sleep can keep you from forming memories.

Do Something New
Get out of your mental rut. We tend to fall into patterns, daily routines that can stifle brain development. Why grow new brain cells an increase connections if you’re not doing any new activities? Expand your mind and challenge it to encourage neural growth.

Click here to view the original source of the article

You’ll notice that reducing stress is at the top of these 3 ways to improve your brain power.  Stress is a main subject on this site because it is so important to reduce stress not only for your brain, but for your general health as well.  It’s also imperative that you get enough sleep in order for your brain to function correctly.  In addition to the above, exercise is key in maintaining a healthy brain, and  really helps you to focus as well.

 

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8 Ways To Help Your Child Concentrate And Focus

If your child is struggling to concentrate and focus at school or at home, then these 8 ways to help your child concentrate and focus are worth a read.  I have excerpted two of my favourite points about nutrition and exercise – both of which I’m a huge advocate.  I believe everyone should exercise regularly/daily, not just kids, and I think it’s particularly important that kids are fed the right types of food so they get a head start in life.

8 Ways To Help Your Child Concentrate And Focus

Promote a healthy diet— Nowadays, children have an increased intake of processed foods, saturated fats and sugary foods. Studies have shown that a diet rich in whole grains, fruits and veggies will help your child’s brain functions. As well, studies have shown that parents should shy away from foods that have food colouring in them, as they may increase hyperactivity in children.

Exercise more often—Both mental and physical exercise are very important to help your child concentrate better. For mental exercises, try playing board games that stimulate your child to think strategically and focus. Guessing games or even allowing them to help you cook by reading or following recipes. For physical exercise, it has been scientifically proven that children that do at least 30 minutes of exercise per day are more likely to do well in school, focus better and generally be more positive.

Click here to view the original source of the post

Of these 8 ways to help your child concentrate and focus I also like the point about controlling TV and the use of video games.  When I was a kid, my parents didn’t allow me to have a games console and I’m highly grateful for that.  I was encouraged to be outdoors, learn musical instruments, take up sports and socialise with friends.  Nowadays kids are spending hours a day on pointless games consoles that I’m sure are not doing their brains any favours.  What do you think?

 

 

 

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How To Stay Focused During Finals

This is a post especially for students as the semester has come to and end which means those dreaded finals are looming. Here, I have excerpted 3 of 5 steps that Arielle Piat-Sauve has written on how to stay focused during your finals for HerCampus.com.  It makes me nervous just thinking about it for other people, even though it’s been six years since I took an exam.  I found exam times very stressful, largely because I’d have a tendency to leave all my work to the last minute.  Apply these tips, and you may just avoid stress, or reduce it substantially, and significantly improve your grades.

How To Stay Focused During Finals

Work environment
Practicing good study habits is a must, and I find that where you choose to study is key. Although I do love the comfort of my bedroom, during finals I definitely feel the need to get out of my apartment. Getting dressed (even if it’s to jump into your regular end-of-semester sweatpants) and making your way outside, will already make you feel as if you have accomplished something. I usually am the most productive while studying at the library. The law library is usually my first choice.

Take a break

With all those long hours spent at the library, it is important to remember that you are allowed to take a break. Taking a break will actually renew your energy flow and allow you to focus better the next day. Sleep is also very important during finals.

Stay positive and motivated

Stress can sometimes bring out the worst in people and you may even find yourself at the brink of an emotional breakdown (trust me, I’ve been there). When you are overwhelmed with school and all the work you have to do, everything always appears worse than it is and as a result you may find yourself increasingly irritable. This is when you want to stay positive and motivated. Sometimes talking to a friend, or calling a family member can help you relieve some of that built up stress and anxiety and help you stay focused.

Click here to view the original source of the article

I couldn’t agree more with every step here of how to stay focused during finals.   The last point on staying motivated is key as it’s easy to get overwhelmed.  If you do get to that point, take a break, do some exercise.  That’s what I’d like to add – exercise is so important during these times.  It raises your mood, clears your head, feeds your brain with oxygen and enables you to refocus after times of near burnout.  Exercise helps your memory too as you may have read on this site.  I’d get to a stalemate sometimes, tear my hair out a little, tell myself I was going to fail, and then go for a run for half and hour.  I’d then sit down at my desk (after a shower) and solve problems I couldn’t solve before, almost immediately.

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The Secret Ways To Focus

If you have heard of the Law Of Attraction, the chances are you have seen The Secret. If you haven’t seen The Secret, I highly suggest that you do. It brings focusing to a whole new level, and is all about focusing on what you want. In this article from Psych Central Lauren Suval explains some of The Secret ways to focus.

The real question is, what are you going to do now? What do you choose now? Because you can either keep focusing on that, or you can focus on what you want. And when people start focusing on what they want, what they don’t want falls away, and what they want expands, and the other part disappears. Click here to view the original source of the article

When you first watch The Secret, it may come across as far fetched, and very different to the majority of the population’s way of thinking. The Secret ways to focus are so powerful and I’m a huge advocate of it. Why do negative things happen to negative people? Why to positive things happen to positive people? Why do the rich get richer? Some people seem to just attract money.I thought I’d include Oprah’s view on The Secret:

 

If you are not already in a frame of mind of focusing on what you want, then take a giant leap of faith and start doing so! If you’re ready to watch The Secret, then you can buy it from Amazon here:

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