Stumbling into focused work.

Focused Work

Today’s the day you’re going to get some serious work done.  You sit down at your device of choice and start by checking your email…then a quick stop on Facebook…over to see what’s happening on Twitter…oh, this article looks interesting.  Okay, one more check of email…

Sound familiar?  Suddenly an hour of “work” has passed and you’ve gotten nothing done.  For me, it’s that plus a splitting headache.  I’ve had my eyes checked and they’re essentially fine for my age (sigh) and I did invest in those funky orange-tinted readers to reduce computer eye-strain.  My office ergonomics could use some work and I’m looking for a good yoga class. But mostly, if I stay in one position too long, my neck and shoulders punish me.

So I’ve adapted by working in short increments, interspersed with other activities.  15-20 minutes of focused work on the PC, then onto something that requires movement – stretches, chores, chasing the toddler, etc.

And I’m finding that this is actually super productive.  Out of necessity, I’m breaking my to-do list down into small tasks that can be done in a short window.  So, for example, instead of one big item like “write blog post“, I have several smaller tasks – “write draft“, “find blog photo“, “prep links“.

I’m liking the satisfaction of crossing multiple items off my list each day and it has given me an increased sense of momentum.  And most importantly, it’s forcing me to be focused when I’m at the computer.  I’m able to avoid social media and other distractions because I have a clear idea of what I want to get done and a limited window of time in which to do it.

I have this fantasy of long stretches of uninterrupted work, but as a mom, I don’t really have that luxury much.  And, honestly, waiting for that special time to work is just another form of procrastination.  So for now, I’m glad that my aching head is forcing me to be more efficient.

How about you?  Have you found that having a time limit increases your productivity?



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