How can you focus on something?

I mean really, I always get distracted by something else. For example, when I’m doing my work, I can’t do it from A to Z. There is always an interruption and it always take me more time to finish the job than I expected. Any suggestion?

It’s not easy. Learning to say no is the biggest thing. Training your co-workers and your boss that you are working on a certain project from 9 am to 11 am (or whatever time block you are asking for) and are unavailable. Send requests via e-mail or voice mail. Unless it is a fire or if it is the boss calling, don’t bother me.

Sometimes I’ll have a co-worker try to dump something on me so that they don’t have to do it. I’ll usually walk through it the first time WITH them so that they can do it. Oftentimes they’ll resist because they don’t have time for it. But I try to be persistent on insist on helping them the first time. That way, they’ll learn not to try to dump things on me. Sometimes they’ll try to go over my head and have my boss give it to me. Then I explain to my boss that I’ve already trained Mr. X/Ms. X and they’re just trying to pass the buck to me.

Then explaining to the boss that you will need to put up time blocks where you are unavailable so that they may/may not understand why you are asking for a change in how you operate.

Oftentimes, I’ll remove myself and go to an empty conference room and work with my laptop in there and will come out from hiding only in the event of an emergency. Sometimes it gets bad and I’ll head over to a nearby coffee shop and work from there. If they need me, I can screen them with my voice mail or e-mail.

At the end of my e-mails, I’ll have a footer stating that I check my e-mails only during preset times (10 am and 4 pm) and will respond at the next available time slot.

I also put my iPhone and iPad in airplane mode so that notifications from my news apps and e-mail and such won’t distract me until I’ve actually turned off airplane mode to peek at notifications.

I also build in buffer times. If something takes a half hour, I usually make it 45 minutes. If something takes 60 minutes, I’ll typically have 90 minutes reserved instead. If I can finish ahead of time, I’ll go ahead and catch up on other things. A pomodoro timer or app is often helpful to keep me on track.

Before I even get that big task, I’ll make sure I have all the tools necessary before beginning - power charger for my laptop, any extra tools and reference books that I might need, and a good cup of coffee.

I was just catching up on some podcasts and found this episode

It talks a little bit about distraction - the Fear Of Missing Out.

One thing I sometimes do is back into what I’m supposed to be doing to avoid doing something else I’m supposed to be doing.

Another is break things into smaller chunks; Sometimes you roll into the second one by “just doing the first one”.

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If nterruptupjs are unavoidable, have a small notebook with you. Before someone interrupts you, ask for one moment before you respond. Then write down a note about what you are doing and the next step you want to accomplish. Then you can entertain the interruption. Then kindly tell the, that you will work on the new request after you have finished your queue of tasks that you alrcan Andy have waiting. That might give them the hint that you won’t work on the new task until after you finish your current tasks. The they might just pass it on to someone else who isn’t as busy as you are.

I try to put my foot down when I can and don’t want to be perceived as a pushover who will gladly accept everything. I know that some folks will be insistent and say their new delegated task is important. But one person’s priority may not be your priority. I hate playing that game where I have to put out someone else’s fire.

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