Whether you work from home or in an office, staying focused is tough. You're thinking about the kids' upcoming band recital, what's for dinner, getting to daycare on time, how many to-dos you have to get through today. No surprise then that your mind wanders away from work projects—and getting back on track isn’t always a snap. If you’re struggling to stay on point:
1. Take a break between tasks. Although giving yourself more time to let your mind wander may seem counterintuitive, taking a break between tasks, meetings or appointments will help you feel more in control. With back-to-back deadlines, it can seem like you’re always pressed for time. Allowing yourself extra time between deadlines and meetings will give you the space to focus on the next item on your to-do list and get back to work more efficiently.
2. Prioritize. When overwhelmed at work, tackling the most important item on your to-do list first will make it easier to get things done. Veer away from worry about when and how you're going to get everything finished. Instead, set a deadline for each job. This will help reduce stress and keep your mind on task while working. Also set an alert so you know exactly when it’s time to start something new.
3. Make time to move. Sitting for hours on end can actually make your mind start to fidget and lose focus. If you’re failing to keep your mind on task, get up and move. Take a walk around your building or home or step outside for a few minutes. Incorporating movement into your daily routine can help you get back to work more quickly.
4. Practice brain dumping. If you ruminate, with your brain going back to the same thoughts over and over—and it’s disrupting your work—you need to get those ideas out of your head. Keep a pad and paper on your desk and, when your mind wanders, write down your thoughts. This will clear your mind and help you get back to work.
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