It’s Friday morning, I have just sat down at my desk, hopeful for a productive day. Though my working day has only just begun, my mind is already whirring with activity. This morning I have navigated my way through; work emails, personal emails, texts, WhatsApp messages, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram feeds and received some random notifications from apps I downloaded last year and did not use past the first few days of having them. Bombardment does not begin to describe the amount of information we are
Bombardment does not begin to describe the amount of information we are exposed to – no wonder we struggle to maintain our focus.
It’s time to focus…
People in the legal profession often have to time every piece of work that they do in order to know what to charge on a file, this ultimately makes them extremely productive and very good at time management as a result.
There are differing views on the length of time that we are able to give pure concentration to a task. The maximum length of time for most people is approximately 20-25 minutes, with some of the more ambitious people believing this could be pushed further to 45 minutes. You need to decide which time frame works for you and then either set yourself an alarm or use something to time yourself.
Try the Pomodoro Technique
This quite often gets referred to as the ‘Pomodoro Technique’. This is based on the premise that you work solidly for 25 minutes and then reward yourself with a 5-minute break. When you have successfully completed 4 blocks of this routine, you can then take a longer break. When you start using this technique, you’ll be so ‘in the zone’ that when the timer does go off, you’ll be surprised that the time is up already.
On these occasions, you may be able to push through or instead of using your 5 minutes to make a cup of tea, you could use it to do less mindful tasks, such as sifting through emails.
Create a routine
Before you begin to time yourself; take a moment, breathe, write down any residual thoughts swimming around your head and turn off your desktop email alerts for the designated period of time you are going to commit to. If like me, you are not that disciplined, there are many apps that can help time you and track your progress.
Though if you are trying to limit distractions, then having your phone on the desk may defeat the object slightly(!). You may prefer to have a little online timer open in a window on your desktop, such as the tomato timer to start benefitting from this trick.
Written by Grace Maxted
How do you focus at work? Have you ever tried the timer technique? Let us know in the comments below…