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8ways to Reclaim Focus on Your Work

  • Date Submitted: 08/28/2010 11:31 AM
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8 Ways to Reclaim Your Focus at Work
Who would have thought that one of the greatest struggles of the early 21st century would be something so seemingly simple? I’m talking about focus – the ability to train our attention on a single task for a sustained period of time, and get it done.
We multitask at work – flitting between 12 browser tabs, chatting on IM, taking phone calls, processing our inboxes. We multi-task in the car – driving, texting, listening to the radio. We multi-task in the kitchen – talking to our partners, chopping vegetables, checking our Blackberries or iPads. Yet, multi-tasking has been proven time and again to be a miserable failure.
So how do we fight back? Here are eight tips on reclaiming – and rebuilding focus – culled from some of our favorite productivity minds:
1. Build up your focus through good old-fashioned practice and single-tasking using the Pomodoro Technique.
Clay Johnson, Lifehacker:
"I've been using interval training with great success. Modeled after how I trained to run my first marathon using Jeff Galloway's technique, I practice attention interval training. I got this timer installed on my computer. It's an excellent interval timer based on a technique called the Pomodoro technique, but I'm primarily using it based on its ability to make sound, set good intervals, and support logging. 
"I started small: 10 minutes of work with two minute breaks. My strategy: when the timer goes off that tells me it's time to take a break, I feel like I can keep going. I'm up to 35 minutes now with 2-minute breaks. This is about as far as I'll get probably while still being able to keep Instant Messaging on. I've found that about 35 minutes is the max response time for IM to be useful."

2. Block out time for mission-critical tasks and schedule them like meetings; then do a weekly review to regroup and re-prioritize.
Gina Trapani, Fastcompany:
"If your workdays are scheduled out with wall-to-wall...


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