We spend a massive portion of our existence on our computer. Whether our job requires us to be on our computer or we are at home scrolling through social media, the majority of our days are spent in front of a screen.
Because our personal life and work life intertwine through our computer, it is easy to get distracted while working. We have access to every distraction known to humanity. Social media, videos, news, and games are just the basics. Anyone is capable of getting lost on their computer.
So how does a person stay focused and motivated while they are working on their computer? Here are five tips to guarantee you are getting the most of your time behind the screen when you’re clocked in.
1. Set up RescueTime to help monitor your habits.
This type of software can benefit a person by helping them understand how much time they are spending on particular websites or apps.
RescueTime creates detailed reports and sends them out when you want them. You can set goals and keep track as you go on with your day.
It even allows you to block individual websites for specified amounts of time, so you can focus on your work and not be tempted to stray.
At the end of the day, you can see your productivity score. The ability to know how you spend your time puts a lot of perspective into your work, which can be a motivating factor.
2. Set micro goals and tackle them one at a time.
A day of work can be intimidating if you look at it as one goal. If your goal is to get through the workday, then the day is going to drag on, and that’s when distractions happen.
Breaking your day up into smaller goals can help you focus for shorter periods of time. When you accomplish a goal, be sure to take a (short) break.
Grab a coffee or a snack, do some jumping jacks, or go for a walk. The key is to get your eyes off the screen and celebrate your little victory.
Each victory gives you the motivation to move onto the next goal. How satisfying is it to complete eight goals in a day versus one?
Pro tip: Do not check social media during your break time. It is easy to lose track of time scrolling or reading an article. Reserve that for when you get home.
3. Make your computer visible to others.
If you are next to a coworker, the odds are that you don’t want them to see you getting distracted. If your computer is visible, you feel compelled to work harder.
I have found that it can even become a bit of healthy competition. You don’t want to be the employee is who is getting outworked. Competition is a natural phenomenon that drives human beings to work harder.
If you have your own office or don’t have the option of working next to someone, imagine your boss is standing over your shoulder. Would they approve of what you are doing?
Another extreme option would be to have your weekly productivity report sent to your boss. Pretty easy to stay focused when you know your boss is going to see how you are spending your time.
If you are your own boss, try and analyze your time as if you are looking at an employee of yours. Do you approve of your habits?
4. Make a playlist loaded with music that gets you going and stick with it.
For me, old school punk rock gets my fingers typing when I’m writing. I try to fill my work playlists with music that I know. I believe that it helps when I already know the words, and I don’t need to pay attention to them.
Find what works for you. Classical jazz? Hip-hop? Electronic? Nobody is going hear it but you.
Create something that makes you move. I can always tell I’m in a groove when I start tapping my feet. Beware though… if your fingers suddenly turn into table drumsticks then you might need to tone it down a bit (but maybe that’s just me).
5. Take care of yourself.
This last one cannot be stressed enough. The most critical facet of productivity is you. For your mind to work, your body needs to be functioning correctly.
Get an appropriate amount of sleep, exercise, eat healthy foods, and drink plenty of fluids. Make sure you don’t get too focused on work and forget to eat or drink anything.
Have a set time for when you are going to take your lunch every day. Drink certain levels of fluids (preferably water, not just coffee). Get some exercise and go to bed at a reasonable hour. How can you possibly expect to be productive if you are dozing off in your chair?
In a world full of distractions, the biggest one happens to be the same thing that takes up the majority of your time. Fortunately, there are ways to combat the drifting mind. I don’t think any of these recommendations will work if you aren’t willing to work hard. The right attitude will make all of the difference in the fight against distraction.
About The Author
Josh Matteson is a writer for Lula, an on-demand home services company based in Kansas City.