Working in an open office environment can make getting things done a little distracting at times. There’s multiple conversations going on, people walking in and out of the office, phones ringing, etc. and sometimes it can be a challenge to focus. Next thing you know the day is over, and it feels like nothing got done. Here are my methods on how I stay productive and focused.
1. Create a To-Do List
When I have a list of all the things I need to accomplish for the day it really helps me weed out other distractions. If I don’t come in to the office with a plan then I find it very easy to get sucked into checking my email all day, or I get put on things I don’t necessarily want to do. I personally like using Any.do because they have an app for my phone and Chrome extension, so I can easily sync up all my tasks; it’ll also remind you to go through your tasks at the beginning of the day if you have remaining items, and starting your day with a to-do list is definitely key.
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2. Stop Checking Email
It’s so easy to get sucked into the black hole that is email, especially when most of the email coming through is customer service. I don’t like letting things sit for too long, but sometimes I get too eager to address emails that next thing you know I have spent the entire day dealing with emails. Instead of checking my email all the time, I’ve been setting aside time throughout the day. I’ll check my email when I first get in, around lunchtime, mid afternoon and right before I leave.
3. Put on Headphones
I find I work best listening to music that doesn’t have people singing, which is why I enjoy movie score/soundtracks so much. I have a couple different playlists on Pandora and Spotify that are my go-to when I need to focus. Putting on headphones and listening to my own music allows me to completely focus, drowning out other conversations/disctractions going on in the office. Plus, in my office, putting on headphones is the signal to everyone, “I’m busy. Don’t bother me.”
4. Checkin With Someone
Have someone that can hold you accountable for the things you plan on accomplishing. I don’t like the feeling of having to tell someone I didn’t get something done when I said I was going to. I try to checkin with my Creative Director every morning to let him know what I have going on. I’ve found that when I let him know what I have on my plate he doesn’t bother me for other things because he knows I have a plan to get other stuff done.
5. Take Real Breaks
It’s so easy for me to grab some food for lunch and come back to my desk to pick up where I left off. I never have a real lunch break where I’m not doing work. I’ve learned that when I force myself to take a real break, like watching a show on Netflix instead of working on my lunch, I really do better the rest of the day.
These are my five essentials for staying focused and productive that definitely work for me. Any other tips I should know about? What works for you?