Career Management

Business moves at supersonic speed.  While technology has facilitated easier communication and information gathering, it has also ushered in a new economy in which the common worker can be more readily replaced by technological advancements than ever before. The option to utilize advanced algorithms, data visualization and robotics as opposed to human assistance has become increasingly more alluring to organizations. In turn, the burden to prove themselves necessary has fallen upon the common worker. 

Competency alone no longer does the trick. 

More so than ever, it is crucial for professionals to not only be able to complete tasks, but to be able to complete them with the utmost efficiency, accuracy and creativity. Performing at a consistently high level requires sustained focus. Luckily, there are ways to train yourself in order to become the type of individual who not only produces results, but produces the type of results that make you an all-star in your respective area.

1. Define your goals and prioritize tasks accordingly

The first step in concentration is to form a mental picture of what you wish to accomplish. Understanding why you are engaging in an activity and clearly stating what you hope to achieve from completing the task adds clarity to your thought process. It’s important to write down your objectives and pinpoint how that job assists you in meeting those overarching goals.

2. Slow down

When you work with a deliberate slowness, it allows you to more effectively pay attention to the task at hand. When it comes to engaging in mindful work activities, it is important to gain the discipline to keep things simple and moving at a pace conducive to improved focus.

3. Conquer negativity

Negative thoughts greatly drain mental capacity, as an unhealthy thought process overly stimulates the brain, increasing mental pressure and tension. When your mind is overloaded with threats, demands and counterproductive thoughts, cognitive impairment (a big hindrance to productivity) is the result. Such tricks as remembering your core values, defining aspects of yourself that you are grateful for, breathing to relieve bodily tension and getting up and moving will lessen thoughts of doom and gloom and heighten your ability to think efficiently and produce at optimal levels.

4. Practice intense focus

Whenever you fix your mind on a certain thought and hold your mind on it at successive intervals, you develop concentration. Understand that the human brain has limited capacity for attention. When you allocate anything less than 100% focus to a task, you weaken your ability to produce at a level consistent with your capabilities. If you wish to enhance the quality of your work, it is imperative to set aside any other activities that require effort for the time being. When distractions such as emails, co-worker interactions and consistent client inquiries compete for your attention level, they dispose of a limited budget of mental capacity. Therefore, they must be put off until completion of that task or you risk a lesser output.

5. Confront procrastination

Researchers estimate that nearly 15% of adults are chronic procrastinators. Putting off tasks is problematic on several fronts. First, when a job remains incomplete, it creates undue mental pressure straining your ability to focus on any other project. Additionally, failure to jump right in and see a project through to its end eventually becomes a habit and in time leads to low self-esteem. Practices such as creating self-imposed deadlines, engaging in advanced planning and breaking a project into smaller steps will help combat procrastination.

6. Focus on the final product

Knowing where a project is going is paramount to you being able to focus intently on that task. Understand what you expect out of the work will help you get down to work and provide you with the resiliency to finish the task.

In the End

As the working world evolves and many professionals find themselves ever closer to competing with efficient technologies in some aspect of their work, it is those who maintain the focus and good practices that lead to heightened effectiveness who will rise to the top, regardless of industry of position.

Image credit: Shutterstock


About Ken Sundheim

Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement, a sales and marketing executive search firm based out of New York City. He is also a writer for Forbes. Follow Ken on Twitter @Ken_Sundheim.

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