How To Give Your Undivided Attention To Your Tasks While Working Remotely
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What is “undivided attention” in a remote work setting?
Giving something undivided attention means devoting 100% of your conscious mental faculties to one area. In the remote workplace context, the worker needs to be able to give his or her undivided attention to the task they are working on.
You’ll be amazed how productive you can be as a remote worker if you give your undivided attention to your work. Multitasking or splitting your attention between two things may seem more productive when you’re doing it, but you may very well complete the same task in an hour rather than half a day if you can give it your undivided attention.
6 Tips for Undivided Attention in Remote Work
Create A Schedule
At the start of your workday, create a schedule of what you will work on during specific time slots. Then make a vow to yourself to focus ONLY on the activity that you wrote down during each time slot!
If you write down “9:00-10:30, review Saunders file,” then that’s what you should do from 9:00 to 10:30. Nothing else. Period.
If you have an actual document telling you precisely what to work on when you’ll be able to jump in headfirst with your undivided attention. If you just go with the strategy that all too
Create a Home Office Space
The home is a pretty distracting environment, what with kids, TV, and other diversions sharing the space with you. To get away from those things, designate an area away from them. It’s best if the space has plenty of natural light, a table of suitable height for working on, and (perhaps most importantly) an actual door that divides the “home office” from the rest of the home.
Once you establish an office space, try and work in the same area whenever you’re working from home. Your mind will unconsciously come to associate the space with work and productivity, and you will get a lot more done. Among other things, it will become easier for you to give your undivided attention since you will associate the space with getting the job done.
Turn off Notifications
Very few things kill an uninterrupted workflow like a buzzing or dinging from a phone or other device. Before getting down to work, silence your phone — be sure to turn off vibrate too. Also, silence any other mobile devices.
Also, make sure visual notifications on your computer won’t distract you. Try to make sure all those apps that might randomly pop open are disabled, as well as updates. Also, disable updates on your browser. There are software and even built-in system options that allow you to do some of these things, and it might be a good idea to take a little time (not during work) to learn about how to use them.
Ignoring notifications indefinitely is tough, but ignoring them in short “blocks” while you give your undivided attention to your work is much easier for most. Then, you can check them during the breaks in between “blocks” if you like. More information on these “blocks” in the “set a timer” section below.
Create Barriers to Distraction
Even though you might close Facebook or Instagram (or any other app that might distract you), some of them are so addictive that remote workers might find themselves absentmindedly clicking the shortcut on their browser’s bookmarks bar to check if they have any new notifications. Make sure you don’t do this!
An excellent way to ensure you stay on track is to log out of your accounts before working. Yes, logging back into Gmail or Pinterest only takes a moment. But it forces you to really pay attention to what you’re doing and make a conscious decision to destroy your stream of undivided attention.
Ignore Small Interruptions
Diversions that you think will just be momentary often end up taking a lot more time than you think. From taking a quick call to going to the bathroom, you’re likely to experience “complications” that keep you away from your work for longer than you intended. And Every second, you are away from your work kills your workflow.
Set a Timer
It’s nearly impossible to maintain undivided attention for long stretches of time. It would help if you took breaks every now and then to refresh. I’d recommend setting a timer before you jump into work, so you can give your undivided attention without worrying about the time for however long you pick.
The ideal work-break ratio may surprise you. In fact, studies show that the optimal split is 17 minutes of break time after every 52 minutes of work. Of course, you need to make sure that those 52 minutes are composed of real work — work that you give your undivided attention. You should also make sure to use that 17-minute break in the right way, breaking away from your computer and de-stressing in a healthy way.
Learning to give your undivided attention to a task is one of the most critical productivity skills you can learn, especially if you work remotely. It may sound like a superlative, but I absolutely believe it. I think you will too if you spend some time working these tips into your daily routine.
FOR A LOOK AT WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS IN YOUR BRAIN WHEN YOU’RE GIVING YOUR UNDIVIDED ATTENTION TO SOMETHING, CHECK OUT THIS TED TALK!