Professionals, regardless of their work environment, sometimes find their focus lagging. If you’re someone who has to deal with divided attention between multiple tasks, you may find the quality of your work and your ability to manage it will start to suffer before too long. To remedy this situation, you’ll want to figure out how to retain your focus and discipline within the workplace.
Luckily, there are several approaches to reestablishing your focus at work. Productivity is linked to your mindset and your environment, after all. Below, 14 professionals from Young Entrepreneur Council discuss some of their favorite and most effective approaches.
1. Find Your Motivation
The more motivation, the more discipline you will be capable of exercising. Consider the purpose, benefit and output of a goal to source extra motivation. Use your team as accountability and a source of motivation—discuss your objectives for the day with your colleagues, separate and reconvene through the day to monitor progress. Prioritizing motivation means discipline to achieve will follow.
2. Embrace Accountability
Accountability is key. A lot of this comes to the project management methodology your company is using. Many businesses are cultivating healthier workplaces by encouraging accountability. That accountability creates transparency such that individual contributions are measured to help teams work toward achieving their goal. Keep yourself accountable, even if it’s not in company policy.
3. Focus Less on the Clock
Focus less on the clock and more on completing a set list of tasks. Some workers have a habit of counting down the minutes until the day ends. However, the most productive people set goals and work toward them, whether it takes two hours or 10 hours. That way, they have an endpoint that’s focused more on creating value rather than burning through time.
4. Minimize Distractions
In this hyperconnected world, it’s crucial to minimize distractions—both business and personal. Otherwise, discipline is virtually impossible to maintain. Many studies indicate that multitasking significantly lowers productivity. Consider working in “sprints” where you mute messaging apps, email, etc., enabling you to monotask. Curbing distractions will improve your discipline immeasurably.
5. Connect to the Bigger Goals
My sense is that people lose motivation when they feel disconnected to more macro initiatives. It’s important for people to know how what they do plays into bigger objectives so it makes the sometimes necessary minutia feel less trivial.
6. Practice Self-Awareness
It’s essential to understand our own ebbs and flows of will power so we can create a work schedule to take advantage of them. Get “hangry” close to mealtimes? Avoid big decisions around those times. To find your optimal times, track your schedule for a week. Then you’ll know when your resistance is low and you can avoid situations where you’re not your best self.
7. Plan Ahead
It’s well known that making decisions all day reduces your will power. If you start your workday without a clear plan, you’ll find yourself thinking about what to do. This can lead to stress that spirals during the day. Instead, plan your day and the tasks and commit to following them. The less you have to think, the more you’ll focus on the real task and this will make you more productive.
8. Define Your Purpose
When you understand why you do the work you dedicate your days to, the effort and commitment become deeper. Take the time to consider why you got into your career path and what aspect of your job you find the most fulfillment in. The sooner you understand your own purpose, the easier it becomes to stay disciplined and dedicated.
9. Visualize the Outcome
When you get stuck on a project, try visualizing the results you want to see at the end. This can motivate you to stay productive, implement creativity and meet deadlines. It’s easier to stay focused when you can’t wait to see what your project will look like at the end, so use that as fuel to keep going and practice self-discipline.
10. Apply the Pomodoro Technique
You can apply the “Pomodoro Technique” to improve mental discipline throughout the day. Work in timed 25-minute spurts in which all distractions are eliminated and you’re solely focused on your task. When the time elapses, immediately put down your work and treat yourself to a break no longer than five minutes long in which no work is done. Then, repeat the cycle.
11. Focus on the Process Over the Result
Very often, people lose their focus since they’re worried about getting the end result perfect. This anxiety is often the cause of procrastination. It’s important to work toward a good outcome, but really enjoying what you’re doing is what will lead to a positive end result. Set a goal and then forget about it. Immerse yourself in the job and you’ll feel more disciplined.
12. Recognize When You’re Going to Break
The best way to improve your discipline is by realizing when you’re going to make a mistake. You have to be very “in the moment” and aware of your decisions as you make them. Knowing when you’re getting close to a mistake and avoiding the trap will help you improve your discipline over time.
13. Work Out Every Day
Taking aside all the health benefits of working out daily, the routine itself will help to push you to be more self-aware and push through moments in life and career. An added bonus—workouts release serotonin and dopamine, which will make you crave the exercise over time, which allows it to become a daily habit.
14. Organize Team-Building Activities
Team-building activities outside of the office establish natural hierarchies that operate inside the office. Sounds counterintuitive, but these fun activities yield real results in non-fun performance.- Matthew Capala, Alphametic
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.