being productive.

Monday, March 12, 2012


i have always had a hard time focusing on the task at hand. it's not something that has been formally diagnosed, though i'm sure i could pop a pill for the problem. some days it tends to take over.

i've learned a few tricks to keep myself focused and productive.

1. check/answer emails at a specific time each day.

2. that being said, don't leave your inbox open while you're working on something else. quickly replying to emails keeps your attention diverted from the task at hand. 

3. starting a new project can be overwhelming. use the kitchen timer method!
- set a kitchen timer for 30 minutes
- work on that specific task for the allotted time
- it's easier to start something when you have an endpoint in mind
- when the timer goes off, move on to something else
- chances are, you'll probably want to continue what you started

4. sometimes it helps to release physical energy in order to mentally focus. 
- trade in your office chair for a yoga ball and ignore the crazy looks from your co-workers
- make a lap around the office (or your house) every 60 minutes 
- work from home? roll out the yoga mat and do a pose every 30 minutes

you just showed productivity what's up. 

25 comments:

Kyla said...

These are great tips! At work, I actually make myself focus on a project for a certain amount of time before I allow myself to do anything else. Each morning I write out my tasks and how long I'll spend on them. It really helps me focus on specific projects!

Helen | Living Longingly said...

I'm really struggling with this exact issue at the moment - I have a problem with seeing the count on my emails/twitter/google reader slowly rise while I'm doing something else and I just want to click on it and take it back to zero! You've inspired me to buy a timer for my desk, and turn those attention suckers off while I'm 'on the clock' :)

Lauren said...

I love the email suggestion especially. I struggle there. And I'm going to try it starting TODAY! Thank you, dear!

And Kyla's suggestions are great too! I'll have to check back and see what other great suggestions pop up. Once I'm done with all my work, of course!

rebecca said...

lauren-
"once i'm done with all my work, of course." love this. :)

jen said...

I work from home full-time and struggle with staying on task. Mostly because I don't have enough work to keep myself busy for the entire day, so I tend to procrastinate and then do it all in a rush for a few hours after lunch. This works well as long as nothing else comes in while I'm working on that...but you know that's impossible. I like the idea of checking emails at specific times each day. Of course, that's hard when my boss interprets not responding right away to me not really working. Argh!

la domestique said...

I sometimes think I've got ADD, as I struggle to focus a lot, these tips are great and I think creating routine is super-helpful! Here's to a productive week ahead!

Atsuko said...

Thank you for the tips. I, especially like the tip 2 because I have a tendency to reply an e-mail later after reading even though back of my mind I am saying that I should reply right away... Being productive can be very hard. At the same time I feel that many expect me to be productive "all" the time... Pressure.

rebecca... said...

,,,i'm happy to learn i'm not the only one!,,,

Patrice said...

I'm glad I'm not alone in feeling this way and for all the wonderful suggestions here. I find that a trusty to-do list helps immensely. I get a lot of satisfaction out of checking off my little boxes throughout the day.

Lonely Wife Project said...

I go for a run or do pilates on my lunch breaks. It's the only way I don't fall asleep in the afternoon. Also, where is your scarf from?

rebecca said...

lonely wife-
props to you! scarf is from boden, last year.

liza said...

Wow. Great ideas. I am incredibly bad at focusing. And at multi-tasking. And I procrastinate.

Brandi {not your average ordinary} said...

Nice tips, my dear! I should probably start following some of them myself, but I find I'm always productive on the things I want to be working on -- as long as I'm not thoroughly exhausted after a day of work.

Rebecca - A Daily Something said...

I'd have to say my biggest problem/distraction is my email and reading every single new email as it comes in...thanks for these great tips!

Rebeka said...

I blame the internet (and my iPhone) for my ADD tendencies. I like the kitchen timer idea, I'm going to have to try that! Thanks!

TheBeautyFile said...

I'm the WORST at this. I know I probably have some adult form of ADD, but I'm convinced it's caused by my blog and social media OVERLOAD. Seriously. I love that kitchen timer idea. It kind of reminds me of Mary Poppins where the canon would fire every half an hour or so. I like the canon idea, too....

Cute scarf, R.

Kayla Poole said...

Ah yes, the kitchen timer method. I reward myself with treats, as in a slice of fresh feta on a cracker or breaking to steep a pot of tea or cup of coffee. Interestingly, all my rewards usually revolve around eating/drinking.

Shoko said...

These are great. And much, much needed. I've become quite the procrastinator lately!

Petra said...

great post. I am going through a bad procrastination period at the moment. I'm hoping yoga will help...

Colores said...

such a productive post!!! need to read it again!! I am sure I can take advantage of it:-))

Erin@lovesomeblog.com said...

I actually use some of these with my son (who is kinda ADD). I'd been thinking that I should use some of these approaches with my own self, to be more focused, you know? apple doesn't fall far, as they say.

Your blog looks great. I sat next to you at blogshop and have watched you take off! Remember me? I'm the weird one who was completely in over my head with photoshop and also insisted on telling you how much you look like a friend of mine. you still do, by the way. kinda freaks me out.

rebecca said...

erin-
of course i remember you! so good to hear from you.

Mae said...

Love these tips!! Trading my chair for a yoga ball asap!

Bekuh said...

I really love the idea of setting a kitchen timer, I definitely think and end time would help me with my productivity flaws. I also like the yoga ball, though I think my office would not approve.

Michael said...

they did the yoga ball thing on my trading floor. i think something like 15 balls were purchased and most used. the originator fell off recently. RIP all the knifed yoga balls.

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