Posts Tagged ‘focus’

active-19413_640Sitting at a desk all day is known to be a contributor to poor health. From bad ergonomics, or bad posture, being sedentary, to snacking on unhealthy foods, there are a number of factors that impact upon your health and wellbeing.

Some of the results of this are headaches, and other body aches and pains, poor fitness and lack of strength, and overweight which can lead to obesity and a range of other associated health issues. It can also make you cranky, and not feel like doing much.

So what three things can you do to stay healthy at work?

  1. Move it!

Getting up from your desk is a must but whilst it gives you 30 seconds of possible stretch time, it really doesn’t do much. Use the opportunity to go for a quick walk; around the office, around the block, or up and down a flight of stairs.

Make your lunch break the time you get in a good 20 minutes walk, more if you can. Take in some runners, put them on, and go.

Use stairs if the opportunity is there for you. Whether this means avoiding the lift entirely, or getting off a floor or three before or after, is up to you. Walk up escalators, and if you catch public transport in, walk to the train station or bus stop that is further away.

You can do this morning and afternoon.

The point is, take every opportunity you can to move it!

  1. Watch the snacks

Snacks can be a real killer, in more ways than one. Whilst we often remember to have lunch, we forget that our body’s need to be refuelled a little more often.

Take a handful of nuts, and a small container filled with berries, grapes and other small fruits. These are easy to eat whilst you sit at your desk, are full of nutrients, and low in those things that make you feel tired and hungry.

If you’re smart about it, you’ll have your snack box located in a place you have to walk to to get to. This serves two purposes; you’ll only get up to snack if you’re really hungry, and if you are, you have to actually get up and move!

  1. Drink up

Or better still, remain hydrated. Where we fall down in being healthy at work is that we don’t drink enough water.

As a result, we become tired, so we resort to caffeine and/or high sugar snacks to wake us up. Caffeine, and foods high in sugar and salt leave us feeling more tired and the cycle continues.

Have a water bottle on your desk, and make sure you drink it before lunch. Refill it before your lunchtime walk, and make sure you rehydrate during and immediately after. You should also manage a third bottle between lunch and the end of the day.

A bottle that holds 500ml will be fine, and it’s a nice way to ease you into drinking water and getting into a healthy habit.

Most importantly, it’s necessary to ease yourself into it. Start with a walk once each week, and slowly build it up to 3 or four times per week. Focus and be conscious of how much you’re sitting, and when you have opportunities to walk.  All of these healthy habits will require you to think about them before they’ll become habits for you.

Once they do, you’ll become aware of the benefits. So will your colleagues.


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Much has been said and written on the topic of multitasking, concentration and how to stay focussed. And while there are some really useful resources on the Internet that will help you improve your concentration skills, most of the posts suggest focussing techniques that are literally useless and will not only mess up your mind, but will also make you waste precious time while trying to make them work.

The truth about focussing is that it can be achieved, but for many it seems to be a case of all or nothing – you will either do it right and concentrate on your task, or it won’t happen at all. If it doesn’t happen instantly, gradual and step-by-step ‘training’ of your mind won’t help, because the core of every technique is motivation and determination. If you want to do it, you will do it right away as it is not that hard. If you don’t want to do it, you just won’t.

So, imagine you are working on a really important report for your meeting tomorrow and you really need to get it right. True, you may still get it right even if you are constantly being distracted, but it won’t be as good as the one your focussed self can produce. Besides, focussing on one thing and doing only it will help you do it faster and with less effort, thus saving your time and energy for the next task. Being focussed will also allow you to avoid making silly mistakes related to spelling and grammar, figures and clarity. It is so annoying not to attach a file when sending an e-mail or writing ‘September 2£’, and we won’t even mention forgetting to save your report before switching the computer off.

Now that we know some of the important reasons why you should focus on one task and deal with it without distraction, let’s see how to do it. The first question you need to ask yourself is ‘What are the things that distract me?’ Here are some suggestions:

– Social Media, news and other websites
– E-mail
– Phone
– Colleagues
– Other things you have forgotten
– add other distractions here…

So now that we have the list of things that distract you, let’s see how to avoid the distraction.

Firstly, the Internet; just close your browser, look at the browser icon and make a mental note, something like a mind alarm that will go off every time you click on it. The alarm should say ‘No distractions!’ or ‘Get back to work!’ or ‘Multitasking is not cool!’ – anything that will remind you that your goal is to focus on the report or the task at hand. Browsing the Web can be your treat for a job well done. Of course, you can use the browser for research and information for your task, but close it again as soon as you are done with that.

As for your e-mail, if you access it through your browser, that’s already sorted out. If you use Outlook or an app on your phone, just switch off the automatic synchronisation for some time until you finish your task. E-mails can wait, you will have enough time to focus on them later.

Same goes for your phone – switch off the vibration, mute it and put it screen down on the desktop. You can take care of all professional and personal matters requiring your attention afterwards.

If your colleagues keep distracting you from what you have to do, just explain to them politely that you need to focus on your task. If they keep doing it, close the door to your office – that will usually do the trick. Same goes for your thoughts – they can be like distracting colleagues sometimes. In order to stop them, put a sheet of paper near you – when you remember something, just write it down. This will help you focus your thoughts.

In a similar way, you can deal with all other distractions you add to your list. Just have in mind that you are not removing the distractions forever, as you will need to focus on them at some point. You are just keeping them at arm’s length so you can pay attention to your current task.

If you follow this simple and easy method, you will see that your productivity and success will achieve new levels and that dealing with your daily tasks will take you less time and effort than usual. There’s no harm in trying, so why not try now?

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iStock_000013842638_ExtraSmallEaster was great fun particularly because it meant we could have a short holiday.  Four days off in a row is bliss for most of us but getting your focus back when you return to work can be tough.

You’re not in the mood to work.  All you want to do is take another day off or catch up with your workmates to talk about what a great weekend you had.

But the work doesn’t go away, does it?

Part of the focus problem is you, of course.  When you’re physically at work but not mentally, you allow everything else to interrupt and distract you from what you should be doing.  Here are 3 ways you can get your focus back without feeling forced.

1.  Set yourself three goals for the day.

Three isn’t a lot to aim for but if you reach the goals by the end of the day you can leave work feeling satisfied and that motivates you for the next day.  Your focus returns without you even noticing.

2.  Block out your time.

When there is no deadline your work just seems to go on and on, but when you have a time limit it’s amazing what you can achieve.  Set aside time in your day to work towards your three goals but leave time for the things you know you’re going to do, anyway, like checking Facebook.  Just put a limit on it.  It’s better than going ‘cold turkey’ isn’t it?

3.  Clear away all the mess.

If your desk is cluttered with things you need (or don’t need) and things you have to work on “later” you can start to feel snowed under.  The piles of work are certainly distracting.  Instead, clear the desk and take out only the papers you need for the goal you are working towards.  You’ll be surprised at how much it helps clear your mind.

We hope you enjoyed your long Easter weekend and that these tips help you gently ease back into work.  Let us know how the tips work for you.

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Friday afternoon can be a tough time in any job.  Your stomach is full after lunch and your mind is on your plans for the weekend. Your To Do List can start to look more than a little overwhelming, and definitely more than your waning brain can cope with at the time.

It’s tough, but getting past it is doable.

Dealing with Fridayitis requires:
• Removing the overwhelm
• Kick-starting the Brain
• Getting on with it

We could put “getting on with it” first, but that is often easier said than done. Doing the first two will aid you in “just doing it”, to borrow a phrase from a running shoe.

Removing the overwhelm

Your To Do list looks like it’s multiplied significantly since lunch and you’re not convinced you can actually achieve anything on it.

• Select one, or two small tasks;  ones you know you can easily complete before the end of the day, or that you really don’t want to have to face on Monday morning;
• Write it on a separate piece of paper. A post-it note works well.
• Remove your list from your immediate vision, and focus on the task on your post-it;
• There, not so overwhelming now, is it? Definitely achievable.

Kick-starting the Brain

Brains require energy and nutrients in order to function. Energy and nutrients come from food. Therefore, eat something.

Nuts, fruit – dried or fresh, yogurt, chocolate, cheese and crackers or other nibbly foods all contain energy and nutrients.

A drink of water will help reduce the viscosity of your blood and allow blood, and therefore, the good stuff form food, to make its way to your brain and enabling it vastly improve its ability to function.

If you’re also able to get out for a short walk, or stretch at your desk, that will increase blood flow and do all sorts of good things, like releasing endorphins. If you run to the tea room and back, even better!

Now, you have a teensy list, and fully functioning grey matter – get on with it!

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