It is no secret that most people's workdays are spent staring at their computer screen. For some, this can be a blessing, and for others, it can become a curse.
We all know the feeling of sitting down to check your email only to find out you have 150 unread messages or scrolling through social media sites with hours passing by. However, there are many ways to combat these feelings of being "stuck" in front of our screens and increase productivity! Here are some tips.
Set a timer for 20-30 minutes and work on your most important task during that time.
a) Because you have set yourself a limit, you will be more conscious of not spending too much time working on one thing. It is also easier to stay focused when you know it's only for a short time. Make sure this doesn't become an excuse to multi-task, though!
b) If possible, schedule all tasks in blocks like this, so the day feels less overwhelming and sections are broken down into manageable chunks. For example, writing a blog post (20 min), social media (15 min), emails/emailing team members (20min). This can help make big projects seem smaller as well because they are divided up into small tasks.
c) If you're feeling ambitious, set a timer to go off once an hour and take a break for 15 minutes! This is great because then your brain will still know that it's time to work and have the opportunity to relax or get up from your seat. You can use this as a reward system, too. If you accomplish certain things during the day, permit yourself to do something relaxing when the alarm goes off. Maybe meditate or read instead of checking social media sites again or both! Remembering how far we've come in life is one of the most powerful ways we learn about ourselves as individuals, so keep those positive thoughts coming.
Identify your distractions and find a way to eliminate them.
a) Can you schedule when certain websites will be open? For example, make sure Facebook is closed between 11 am-12 pm so that it doesn't become a distraction during your workday. If possible, close all social media sites or apps on your phone before starting an important task because if they're already right in front of you, it makes it too easy not to.
b) Make yourself accountable by telling friends/family what times you'll be working around the house or doing specific tasks. You can say something like "I'm going to write my blog post now" every time you start writing since this person knows how hardworking you are :) Or maybe even have a friend call you during your scheduled times to make sure you're staying on track.
c) Avoid distractions by creating an environment that is conducive to work! If possible, try working from somewhere else besides home because it can be too easy for something to pop up when you are in the comfort of your surroundings. It's easier said than done, but consider going there instead if there is a coffee shop or library with Wi-Fi nearby.
d) Get rid of all visual distractions around your workspace. Turn off notifications on email/social media apps and turn down the volume on anything playing music (or better yet, don't play anything at all). Looking away from the screen occasionally will also give your eyes some time to relax and take a break from focusing so hard.
e) Keep your desk/work area clean and organized! You'll not only feel better, but you'll be able to get more done in the long run because it's easier to focus on one task when there isn't an unorganized mess of papers scattered around everywhere.
f) Lastly, if all else fails, try listening to some music while working - just make sure it doesn't distract too much :) Some people prefer silence over anything, but others find that putting on tunes helps them stay motivated or focused--just remember that whatever technique works for you is best.
Break your work into smaller, manageable tasks.
a) You can do this with literally anything! For example, if you have an hour to write a blog post about how to stop staring at the screen, break it down into sections like "research" (five minutes), "writing introduction" (ten minutes), etc. This way, it's easier for yourself to remember that there are chunks of time where you'll be able to take breaks or switch gears because each section is divided up by something specific too.
b) It also helps make big projects seem less intimidating when they've broken apart--you can focus on one small task rather than having everything in front of you all at once and feeling overwhelmed. Clear goals not only make things easier for you to manage, but it's also a great way to remain motivated along the way.
c) You can even make your own little checklists using Evernote or Google Docs (or paper if that works better for you!) and cross things off as they get done too. This is such a good technique because when we see our list getting shorter and more manageable, we end up feeling like we're making progress and feel happy about what we've accomplished.