Five tips and tech tools to stay focused

By: IT Donut contributor

Date: 27 November 2013

Five tips and tech tools to stay focused/camara focus stay focused{{}}Raj Dhonota is an entrepreneur and former contestant from The Apprentice who’s seen many business owners try and fail to do everything at once.

In this guest post, he provides some simple advice to stay focused and in control.

Multi-tasking is inevitable

Even though we all know that trying to do more than one thing at a time makes us less focused and less productive, we still try to get away with it.

That’s because having to deal with more than one thing at once is inevitable in the real world. There’s never just one task to take up our attention.

1. Use a good task list manager to plan ahead

This is absolutely essential to staying in control. Keep a task list of anything and everything that you need to do and keep updating it as new tasks arise.

Prioritise these tasks into must-do, should-do, could-do and won't-do categories. Above all, keep in mind your strengths and delegate tasks that don’t fit these.

Also, understand what you can realistically achieve in one day. A clear list of tasks, combined with some discipline, will make a big difference to your mindset and productivity.

There are lots of good tools to manage your task list electronically. Try Any.do or Remember The Milk.

2. Find other tools that can help

There are tools your can use to improve your overall focus.

I use Asana to set my goals, targets and tasks. It also enables me to share and delegate jobs to other members of my team. Mind mapping software is helpful in defining goals and targets that you can prioritise and focus on.

Of course, tools are only as effective as the person using them, so make sure you have adopted the right mindset and implemented the best processes before you resort to these.

3. Change your surroundings

Environment is a key factor in improving focus. The more comfortable your work environment, the greater your ability to concentrate.

I find that purposefully changing my location during a long day, for example, from my home office to the sunroom, helps introduce a new impetus to my work. You could try working in a café or another public location.

4. Remove distractions

It sounds obvious, but removing and avoiding as many distractions as possible is one of the best ways to improve your focus. It's astounding how personal issues can creep into your work zone.

Adopt ‘digital do not disturb’ by turning off your mobile phone. Close your email and chat programs and deal with them later. Try using Cold Turkey (for Windows) or SelfControl (for Mac) to block distracting software and websites.

5. Know your energy levels

You know when you're at your best, whether it is early morning or late at night when you have peace and quiet.

Do the hardest tasks when you're most alert and leave less-intensive jobs until later on in the day when you have less drive.

This is a guest post from Raj Dhonota, entrepreneur and former contestant on The Apprentice. 

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