10 ways to stay concentrated at the office

Working at a office today there is so many things around us which will compete on stealing your concentration. The information overload is upon us and at the same time we use the computer as a tool just as much in our work as in our private life. Social networks, multiple mailaccounts, calls and news-flow – they all need you attention at all times which will be a struggle to hold back while at work. Here is a few tips on how you can try to maximize your concentration while at work.

  1. Shut down automatic mail-fetching – The flag in your system tray may be small but every time it lit up you lose a bit of concentration. Not only this but quite often you may find yourself starting to work at the issue you just recieved instead of working on what you did from the start. Task-switching is dangerous.
  2. Use an alternative browser without private bookmarks – If you have one browser at your work-computer I bet you have bookmarks there for your personal sites, news-sites and networks. By installing an alternative browser in which you keep only work-related links you wont get distracted by that link to amazon.
  3. Read up on material – Do not start working on a task until you understand the problem you’re facing.
  4. Regular breaks, routine is your friend – If you usually have your morning-coffe at 9, plan it so that your body knows that you’ll get it at 9. By doing this you wont get an urge until the time is right anymore.
  5. Scheduele planning time for each day – Start each day by going through what you should achieve before your day is ended.
  6. One task at a time – Multitasking and task-switching is time-consuming. Work at one task at a time, creating sub-tasks to narrow down what it actually is you are to do.
  7. Keep a calm workplace – If you are working on one project, don’t let the papers for your ten other projcts linger on your desk. By just having them in your field of view you might have a big portion of your mind in the other things you did earlier.
  8. Reward yourself by not working on breaks – If you are on a break, take a break! Do not read mails, make work-calls and such, just take the time to restore some energy.
  9. Minimize surrounding sounds – If you work in an open area or in a cubicle, get a pair of headphones which stops sounds as well as play good sound. Wear these even if you are not listening to music, if so only to get a more silent work sphere.
  10. Socialize – Comunicate with people in your workplace or if you’re working from home, comunicate with your customers. Speaking will get your body going on that something is worth taking notice of and you will work better afterwards.

2 comments for “10 ways to stay concentrated at the office

  1. October 15, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    A good set of advices. I’ve recently tried applying the ‘Pomodoro technique’ to get work done when stuff starts to pile up.

  2. Martin Karlsson
    October 15, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    Thanks for the link! Interesting technique that Pomodoro, I got a feeling that it particular strong when it comes to studying and learning. The main aspects of it is quite alike GTD as well with the task-lists and short planning. Think I have to try it out sometime.

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