Keeping Focused at Work and the Benefits of Little Distractions

Twenty minutes on Excel, ten minutes on Facebook, ten minutes on Word, twenty minutes on Wikipedia and there goes an hour. Rinse and repeat about eight times and there goes half my shift.

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Throughout my long, illustrious career at Wowmax Media*, I’ve developed certain habits to keep me on track. Here are the two most effective tricks that I use on a daily basis.

Site Blocking

As a child, I despised site blocking. Even if I didn’t care about the sites being blocked, I felt smothered. It was another reminder of how little freedom I had under the totalitarian regime of my parents. Well, that’s what I thought when I was twelve. Now, site blocking is a way to put one more roadblock between me and TvTropes. It’s not stopping me, but it’s enough resistance for me to pull my attention back to that twenty page TPS report**. I use SiteBlock, an extension for Chrome.

Little Distractions

I’ll admit, sometimes I’m just too wired to fill out a nine hundred cell Excel sheet. When I can’t focus, I jump onto Lumosity and play a couple games. It takes five minutes and it helps expel that excess mental energy. As ironic as it sounds, sometimes a little distraction can help you focus. A word of warning, avoid distractions that have sucked up hours of your time in the past. It’ll make it that much harder to get back to writing that twenty page technical manual for your company’s new earwax remover.

So if you find yourself learning the entire history of pickling on Wikipedia or feel your eyes glazing halfway through a 5000 cell data-entry form, try using these little tricks to help put you back on track.

* I’ve worked at Wowmax Media for two years.

** I’ve never filled out a TPS report in my life.

Why Habits Are the Key to Workplace Sanity

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m borderline neurotic. I’m fueled by stress, coffee, and Chex Mix. So for me, scheduling stops me from going completely cuckoo cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

With this, we shall build an empire!

With this, we shall build an empire!

You see, decision making is one of the most stressful activities out there. It’s why being thrifty at the supermarket can drive even the most patient parent to fantasize about punting little Timmy into the produce section.  Habits, scheduled activities, help us avoid the stress caused by decision making. When should I handle my company’s social media? 12PM to 1PM. When should I write my weekly post for the company blog? Friday at 4PM. If there is anything at work that you do repeatedly, schedule it out and stick to that schedule. You’ll find yourself breathing easier.