how to improve your focus and productivity at work

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I have a guilty pleasure while working – I listen to music. In fact, I have a whole playlist dedicated to the workday. Listening to music helps keep me focused as well as drowns out the “noise” at the workplace—equipment, loud coworkers, etc.

Studies show that music can have a positive effect on workplace performance. In fact, one study cited in a New York Times article found that employees who listened to music completed their tasks more quickly and came up with better ideas than those who didn’t because the music improved their mood. Researchers also found that listening music can keep workers focused at the office and that can improve productivity.

However, not every company allows its employees to listen to music while at the office, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you will be less focused or less productive. There are a few other things you can do to help improve focus and productivity at work without Pandora.

1)    Create checklists – My other guilty pleasure is the sticky note. Every day I write down the tasks that I need to do for the day and stick the note to the side of my computer. It may seem old fashion, but it does work. Create a to-do list before you grab that first cup of coffee for the day.

2)    Take short breaks – If you find that your mind is wandering and isn’t focusing on the task at hand, it might be time to give your brain a break. Go take a quick walk around the block or get up and stretch. Sometimes a 5-minute power break is all you need to help get you back on track with your tasks.

3)    Don’t procrastinate pesky tasks – Unfinished tasks weigh on your mind. Instead of delaying and popping over to Facebook for a few minutes—which can sometimes turn into a bit of a rabbit hole—just get it done. Lessen the burden and then you can move on to more important issues with a clear mind.

My best advice is to identify the things at work that tend to distract you. Once you know what those distractions are, you can start to avoid them. Minimizing those distractions will keep you focused at the work place and ultimately increase your productivity.

By carla roberts pruitt
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