Many times, when we are working on an important project or simply doing our necessary daily tasks, we find our minds wandering. Even with a deadline to make, a simple email check can morph into a never-ending pit of cat videos on Facebook. There are a few things we can be aware of to stay focused and get our work done.
Are you getting adequate sleep? In our busy worlds, with all the technology we have, it is all too easy to wake in the middle of the night to check and answer emails. Everyone needs at least 7 and preferably 8 hours of sleep every night. Oh, and catching up on the weekend? Not adequate. Strive to get up and go to sleep at the same time 7 days a week. Your mind and body do not function without enough sleep.
Is there something else taking your focus away? Whether it is personal or business, some unresolved problem or task put off can take away your focus on the job. Schedule time to take care of it. This means anything from asking for help on a business task or even seeking counseling to help with personal problems. Regardless, taking care of these will free up your mind for the task at hand.
How, when, and what are you eating? Often when we get involved in work, we forget to eat regularly, or worse, grab a fat and salt-filled fast food meal. Our bodies need fuel to perform at peak capacity, and so does your mind. Grabbing fast food seems easier, but it will make you groggy later in the day. When working long hours, it is best to graze throughout the day. Small meals high in protein and fiber will keep the mind and body going at peak performance. Yogurt, eggs, nuts, lean meats, fruits, and vegetables are good choices.
When was your last break? We can get involved in our projects and often try to keep working with no breaks. This is wrong! Your mind and body need to take a break. When you focus too long at one task, your brain stops registering the outside stimuli. Even switching to a different task can help. Even better, get up and move around. Do some stretching. Take a walk around the block. Your brain and your body will thank you with better performance.
KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH AND DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO