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Streamline your focus for a better workflow

With the UK's holiday season in full swing, and schools breaking up for the summer, focusing on workplace tasks can be challenging.

Before you know it the procrastination is in full swing, and you’re making your fifth cup of tea by 10 am.

The prospect of being ‘nearly there but not quite' makes it tougher to focus. Whether it's a holiday fast approaching, or if it's Friday afternoon, focusing on tasks can seem that much harder.

Of course, it’s easier to do those mundane tasks when the country is blanketed in clouds and rain showers. Should the heatwave make its way further north, focusing will become even more difficult.

And obviously, workloads are not always flexible around what happens outside of them. That’s why it’s important to find ways to keep pushing through when days feel slow and the going gets tough.

That's where streamlining comes in.

What is streamlining?

When it comes to business, streamlining is all about the optimisation of business processes within an organisation (Corporate Finance Institute, 2020).

We can apply the exact same idea to our personal workstyle, too. We can optimise our working style to suit our own lifestyle, and streamline our focus so that the workflow pours out naturally.

Ways to maintain a streamlined workflow:

  • Prioritising tasks
  • Remove distractions
  • Organising time management
  • Pomodoro Technique
  • Delegate or collaborate on difficult tasks
  • Avoid multitasking
  • Switch it up
  • Personalise your work style

Prioritise tasks

Identify the most important tasks that require your immediate attention. Make a checklist and organise it based on urgency and importance. This prevents you from getting bogged down by unnecessary, less critical tasks. Ordering it through a hierarchy of importance will lighten the load.

Remove distractions

Distractions are everywhere. Emails pop up in the corner of our screens and social media notifications buzz on our phones. Even our smart watches give us direct bodily reminders of their existence with regular notifications.

To improve your focus streamline, mitigate the distractions by switching to 'do not disturb', timing your notifications, and silencing your devices.

Time management

No one can simply focus with 100% concentration at any given time. It's impossible. So why do we put pressure on ourselves to tackle heavy tasks on a Friday afternoon? Streamlining focus means figuring out times that work best for us. Identify peak productivity hours, and schedule more demanding tasks during these times.

Pomodoro technique

This technique has been shown to fight tiredness and optimise concentration. Work in bursts of time, followed by little breaks. These anchors focus time with regulated breaks which act as small workday milestones.

Breaking up focus time into manageable chunks helps to smoothly tap away at the task. This helps to prevent procrastination too, as you'll allow yourself that time to mentally check out. The procrastination time no longer becomes restrictive, as you factor in concentration breaks.

Delegate and collaborate

Sometimes the best motivation is teamwork. Inviting someone else to contribute to your task can be a massive motivational tool. Not only does it help speed up the completion of the task, but it helps gain new perspectives with a fresh pair of eyes.

Similarly, delegating tasks can lighten the load. Use AI as much as possible. AI can comfortably handle all the repetitive and boring tasks that humans cannot - so take full advantage of its insentient readiness to work around the clock.

Avoid multitasking

The human brain can only focus on so much at once. Cluttering your concentration with layers of different tasks causes confusion and workplace stress.

Avoid multitasking. We all glorify the idea of multitasking, and it might seem like a surefire way to accomplish more in less time. But in actuality, multitasking only leads to decreased productivity and a scattered focus.

Instead, practice monotasking - dedicating your full attention to one task at a time. This will allow you to give your best effort to each task and complete them more efficiently.

Switch it up

Been staring at the same screen for hours? Perhaps it's time to switch it up. Alternate to the next task on your list for a fresh idea. When you return back to the original task, you'll look at the task with a fresh pair of eyes.

Personalise your work style

At the end of the day, we all work differently. It's all about finding smarter ways of working to suit your own preferences.

Some of us work better in complete silence. Some of us work better in busy public environments.

It takes a bit of trial and error, but looking at ourselves objectively can help identify what kind of worker we are, and how we work best to optimise our focus.

Maintaining a streamlined focus takes practice and discipline. It's all about being intentional with our time and energy. By implementing personalised focus strategies, you'll be able to optimize your focus and let your productivity soar.

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