Keep Calm & Stay on Task
Ever worked on a project that just failed miserably at holding your attention? You know, those projects for clients or your boss that should only take a couple of hours but wind up sitting on your task list for weeks, months even?
GUESS WHAT? MOST OF US HAVE BEEN THERE…
So, how do you stay on task when a project just isn’t grabbing you? We decided to put together a little list of four of our favorite tricks to stay focused when you just simply aren’t engaged.
Number one: Set a timer and give yourself little accomplishment marks. By setting a timer and allowing yourself to take breaks once you hit your time, you’re tricking your brain into thinking your task is a game. And who doesn’t love games? Seriously. Try it out — maybe 20 minutes is when you generally fall off your chair and throw in the towel. So try setting the timer for thirty, and reward yourself with a breather afterwards.
Number two: ACTUAL rewards when you hit bigger goals. Any chocolate lovers out there? Duh – dumb question, eh? Do you have 12 pages to design, or a big beast of a website to build? Maybe your reward is a piece of your favorite fancy organic chocolate, and your goal is one page design to get that reward. Or completion of the About page on your website. Whatever it is, the prize is chocolate. If that’s not motivation, we don’t know what is. Just make sure that if your reward has anything to do with food — particularly chocolate — that your goals are relatively time consuming. Otherwise we’re just encouraging you to pig out and that’s not the intent.
Number three: Listen to some groovy beats. Music is a great way to cut the office silence — silence that can be a drag and make staying on task challenging. If you work in an office and you have a pair of headphones, you can totally listen to music without disturbing anyone, provided there’s no rule against it. Try working to some suitable tunes for the task at hand, and notice how much more quickly the time passes.
Number four: Stop when you’re ready. And no, we don’t mean stop altogether, but if you’ve gotten to that point in your day where you just know you’ve had enough, don’t keep straining to do more. All that will accomplish is to cause you to build up more resentment toward the project. Then you’re going to have a really hard time wrapping things up. Balance is key, so if your brain needs a rest, give it a rest and come back to it tomorrow. You’ll return to your seat fresh and ready to get back to work.