Here are 12 ways to light up your February and find your focus.
By Lindsay LaNore, ICBA
The nights are still long and spring hasn’t arrived yet, so don’t blame yourself if you feel lazy. But how do you keep productivity high when your workload shows no signs of hibernation? The theme of next month’s ICBA LIVE is “Light the fire. Light the way.” So, with that in mind, here are 12 ways to light up your February and find your focus.
- Eliminate distractions. Studies suggest that we are constantly distracted by our devices, so be sure to hide your phone in a desk drawer or turn off notifications. Turn off Microsoft Teams, make your inbox disappear, and close your browser.
- Make a to-do list. If it’s daunting, break it down into smaller chunks for the day, or even hour, ahead. End the day by mapping out tomorrow’s list.
- Prioritize. Not everything on your list is urgent. Tackle the most important job first.
- Break it. If a project is labor intensive, break it down into smaller sections. Sketch out a plan, set deadlines, and check off each piece as you go.
- Schedule focus time. Research has shown that it can take an average of 23 minutes to refocus on a task after being interrupted, so make some dedicated work time. Consider using tools like Microsoft Viva Insights to help. And listen to the natural reactions of your mind and body, scheduling focus time when you’re performing best.
- Manage the noise. Some of us like perfect silence. Others prefer classical music or even white noise. Wear noise canceling headphones or turn up the volume on Mozart, whatever works for you.
- Keep a notebook of distractions. When an idea occurs to you or you remember something that you could forget again, write it down and do not let it cloud your concentration time.
- Take breaks. Scheduling a full day of focus time isn’t healthy either. Listen to your body and beat fatigue by taking breaks to stand, stretch, and eat.
- Seek. Your mind may start to blur, so take your eyes off the screen from time to time. Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to look at something 20 feet away.
- Change the scenery. Use a conference room instead of your desk, or find a quiet spot in a neighboring apartment. Changing your environment can trigger productivity.
- Accept a productivity challenge. If you know that a colleague also has a deadline, set up a friendly challenge to overcome your respective obstacles. You can even schedule lunch at the end of it to make it more appetizing.
- Don’t forget to sleep. While it may be tempting, this is not an excuse to take a nap at work! Instead, invest in healthy sleep habits. A well-rested mind will help you go deep and do that work.
Lindsay LaNore (firstname.lastname@example.org) is ICBA Group Executive Vice President and Director of Learning and Experience
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