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10 In-Depth Strategies to Improve Your Focus and Produce High-Quality Work

Develop a Stress Management System

Develop a Stress Management System

Stress is unavoidable, but we can create systems to decrease its influence over our capacity to work. These systems vary from person to person but they often include meditation, aerobic exercise (i.e. running, cycling, walking), surrounding yourself in nature, and eating healthfully.

When you know an upcoming project will generate stress, anticipate scheduling periods into your work plan to participate in the stress management activities that work for you.

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10 In-Depth Strategies to Improve Your Focus and Produce High-Quality Work

10 In-Depth Strategies to Improve Your Focus and Produce High-Quality Work

https://medium.com/swlh/10-in-depth-strategies-to-improve-your-focus-and-produce-high-quality-work-b0fbf40de655

medium.com

10

Key Ideas

Practice Slow Work

When we react to every little thing that comes up at work, we lose focus and attention.

Counter this by scheduling extra time to complete a task, engaging in single-tasking, and setting reasonable expectations for yourself and for others on how much you are able to produce in a given day.

Develop a Stress Management System

Stress is unavoidable, but we can create systems to decrease its influence over our capacity to work. These systems vary from person to person but they often include meditation, aerobic exercise (i.e. running, cycling, walking), surrounding yourself in nature, and eating healthfully.

When you know an upcoming project will generate stress, anticipate scheduling periods into your work plan to participate in the stress management activities that work for you.

Seek To Explain

Memorization doesn’t necessarily mean learning. The test for whether you understand a subject or not is the capacity you have to explain your subject or argument. 

Improve Your Creativity.

Implementing activities into your daily life such as reading fiction, writing in different tones and styles, and even participating in arts and crafts can foster creativity.
Creativity can be determined by how effectively the brain uses its, often independent, internal networks.

Use It Or Lose It

You need to feed your brain proper stimuli in order to counter degeneration. An active cognitive lifestyle requires continually feeding your brain activities that are intensive, repetitive, and progressively challenging.

Some example activities are: doing a jigsaw puzzle, learning a new instrument, participating in sports activities that require hand-eye coordination responses, and various brain exercises.

Intense Work In Frequent Bursts

Set up a system where you focus on a specific project intensely for 25 minutes at a time, followed by a 5 minute break. Repeat this process 3–4 times and then take an extended break for about 10–15 minutes.

However, while you are on a break do not suddenly shift to multi-tasking, do just one thing at a time. Preferably, give your eyes a break from the screen or do something that requires movement.

Set Several Deadlines

To manage stress from whatever you’re working on, set specific deadlines for each step of your project. This will create a system for your project, which will deal with some of the common uncertainties that are associated with doing something hard or outside of your comfort zone.

Meditate On Your Task

Writing your ideas and meditating on them is important so you don’t commit to a flawed idea for lack of thought. It’s also good to give yourself some time and do other things as our brains often come up with alternative solutions when we are working in unrelated tests.

Make a Daily Or Weekly Work Plan

Schedule ahead of time your day and revise it accordingly as unexpected tasks pop-up.

It’s less about how much gets done and more about establishing a vision as to how your work day will unfold.

Single-Task

Unless the task requires, keep only one or two windows open simultaneously. Don’t keep them minimized either, close them and reopen only if you are taking a break or the task at hand is finished.

By minimizing the sources of distraction you will have an easier time diving into cognitively demanding work.

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Take the time to identify what deserves your focus for the year, for the month, for the week, and for the day. Then look at your calendar and block time dedicated to focus.

Unplug For 30 Minutes

If you need to focus, log out of email and social media. Log out for 30 minutes either at the beginning of the day or for a period in the afternoon. You won’t believe how much you can get done when you’re not always interrupting yourself to return emails.

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Shockingly Unproductive
  • Studies show that employees spend more than five hours per day reading and replying to emailsWhile it may seem like urgent work, email is not the best kind of work.
Facilitate Deep Work

A few smart strategies that can be deployed:

  1. Installing pods for deep work while having common areas for collaborative work.
  2. Wearing headphones that are easily seen to signal that you are not to be disturbed.
  3. Turning your office into a library, following the same culture of quietness where everyone is hushed and respectful.
Email is not Real Work

Real work, by definition, should be rare, valuable and cognitively demanding.

Email does not check any of these boxes, and is, therefore, a pseudo work.

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Work in chunks

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Think About It

Acting without first reflecting can make things worse. Regularly reviewing how you spend your time will give you insight into how you got to your present state, how to move forward strategically...

Manage Your Inbox

Knowing your inbox isn’t overflowing can save you a lot of mental stress, which helps you focus on more important tasks. You can reduce your message by:

  • Unsubscribe from promotional and notification emails.
  • Use filters to sort nonessential email into specified sections of your inbox, so they don’t show up every time you log in.
  • Use programs to schedule emails and send reminders, so you can deal with emails on your own time. 
Have a “Mental Junk Drawer”

Dump your ideas, notes, lists, and saved articles that don’t have another home into a digital document. This clears some mental space—without adding papers and notebooks to your actual junk drawer.

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Creativity is complex

It means producing something novel or original, evaluating, solving problems, whether on paper, on stage, in a laboratory or even in the shower.

Knowing how to think

Geniuses know “how” to think, instead of “what” to think.

People who are more creative can simultaneously engage brain networks that don’t typically work together.

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Break Up The Tedious Tasks.

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Fidget To Help You Focus

Trying to focus on something without moving tires the mind. In general, releasing excess energy throughout the day will help you stay on task.

When you need to pay attention during a call or meeting, bring a small object that you can play with, such as putty. Handling something that you can manipulate mindlessly while you listen frees up your mental energy so you can better focus.

Visually Map Your Time And Tasks
Map your day by the hour and review it throughout the day to help you organize your time. That visual cue will help you pace your day and budget your time appropriately. To do that:
  • Use free hours effectively by ranking your task list visually.
  • Try color coding your list according to priority, with four or five levels of urgency.
  • Do the essential, time-sensitive tasks early in the week while you're fresh, then save the optional ones for later.

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The labour illusion

We like to see real work being done. This is best shown in restaurants where customers can see chefs working in the kitchen. It builds anticipation and means we enjoy the end product more.

The effect is the same in the digital world. Search engines that appear transparent about what they are doing in the background are perceived as providing better quality, regardless of whether the results are, in fact, better.

The innovation of the progress bar

Designers are not trying to give an accurate representation of time, but rather an experience.

Facebook redesigned its loading animation. They noticed that their custom animation of three lines increasing in size from left to right, led users to associate a slow service with Facebook, compared to the spinning wheel, which users associated with their device or their internet being slow.

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  • Where: Where is this happening?
  • Why: Why do they need this information?
  • How: How should they use this information?

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