Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Refocus this Fall

Feel-good ways to get your head back in the game.

By Sonja Rocha

After a summer of trips, kids and time spent with family and friends you may find yourself struggling to get your head back in the game - and we're not talking about your fantasy football league. There are still three months left in 2015, Don't blow 25 percent of your year. Stop online researching next summer’s vacation, close Facebook, turn off the TV and put these refocus strategies to work.

Set VERY attainable goals.
The best way to get back on track is to start with a success. What do you need to do to finish 2015 strong? Set goals. Make them easy.

For example, walk a little more this week and start thinking about healthy habits again by parking on the far side of the parking lot. It’s an easy goal to achieve and you can accomplish it tomorrow. Park far away. Walk in to work. Done! Put a check in the “I’ve accomplished something good for my health” box! Keep it up all week. Any type of exercise will help refocus your mind.

To get your work and career back on the right track, take 15 minutes to review everything you have accomplished so far this year and pat yourself on the back. You deserve it! The feeling of accomplishment feels good, and feeling good is where you need to be when you start thinking about what you still want to accomplish this year. Make a plan to achieve your remaining 2015 goals. Keep each step toward the goal small and simple. Keep building on your successes. Always remember the work you do is important. Reviewing your accomplishments and revisiting your goals will provide the adrenaline boost you need to finish 2015 strong.

Regain focus and avoid distractions.
Focus is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. If you have been in a brain fog for a while, you’re not going to wake up tomorrow and put in eight solid, productive hours. You’ll need to rebuild your focus stamina one day at a time. One effective method is to plan every minute of every day. Fill in your day scheduler in 15-minute blocks and stick to it! Start each morning with tasks that can be completed quickly. Build on your momentum. Move on to harder projects and the items you’ve been avoiding. Be sure to include scheduled time for e-mail, co-workers and planning.

When distractions come up and you get off track, don’t beat yourself up. Try to note why it happened. Was it a talkative co-worker? Was it checking e-mails? Keep a list of the alluring distractions so you can revisit them the next day at a scheduled time. You're likely to forget what that all-important distraction was about. You just took back 15-30 minutes of your life. When it’s a co-worker stealing away your time, try this line: ”I’m on a deadline now, but I’m available tomorrow at 11 a.m. Will that work for you?”

Next week, divide your focused time into 20-minute blocks and so on. Grow each work block to 45 minutes. The more you practice this technique the longer your focus stamina will become. Greater focus will improve your work quality while you get more done in less time.

Still can’t break Internet surfing? Then use the time productively. Update your LinkedIn profile. Then take time to write three recommendations for three co-workers or clients on their LinkedIn accounts. Doing something kind for others is a great way to break negative patterns and start new positive ones.

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