Having an internship or a job during the school year or during the summer is great not only for your resume, but for your growth as a professional. By working while in college, you’re able to see the ins and outs of a company and see what kind of work environment and job type may be good for you. But, the 9-5 or 10-6 workday can be long, and you’re going to get tired. It can be easy for your attention to shift from doing a work-related task to scrolling through your Instagram or thinking about what you’re going to eat for dinner. Yes, it is a challenge to stay focused for eight hours straight, but it is not impossible.
1. Have a to-do list
It’s important to know what you have to do, and when you have to do it by. When you get into your place of work in the morning, create a list of things you have to do throughout the day. Making a list will help you to remember deadlines and prioritize. Having a to-do list will make you feel determined to finish the tasks throughout the day because they will feel more urgent.
2. Do one thing at a time
If you go into work knowing you have a lot of work to do throughout the day, that may overwhelm you and lead to you avoiding it. We often take on multiple tasks or duties at a time because we think the more we take on at once, the quicker we’ll be able to finish. But, you can’t focus wholeheartedly on multiple tasks at once and do a good job. If you try to do multiple tasks at once, you’re switching your focus back and forth so much that it is as if you are weakening your attention and extending the amount of time it would normally take you to complete the tasks. By focusing on one task at a time, you will produce your best work. Maybe give yourself a reward for each task or assignment you complete, like a quick Snapchat check-in or a snack. Your best work will show if you pick one task to put your focus on and follow it until it is finished.
3. Create a routine
It’s hard to keep up with a schedule, but having that sort of structure will definitely keep you on the right track to staying focused. For example, have a certain time every day to check and respond to emails, and spend that scheduled time totally focused on that. By keeping a routine, work won’t pile up on your desk and the chances of feeling overwhelmed or even bored will lessen. A routine will keep you focused because you will be eliminating distractions.
4. Don’t let others distract you
Of course it’s great to become friendly with your coworkers; it makes the work environment so much more enjoyable. It’s fun to catch up and gossip with coworkers, especially after the weekend, or to chat about things going on in the office. This may sound obvious, but when you’re in the office and you’re trying to focus, the best thing you can do is to not mingle with coworkers and not let them distract you. If you have a lot of work to do and you want to stay focused, when a coworker approaches you to chat, you can say to them that you have a lot of work to get done today and maybe the two of you can grab a coffee after work or have lunch together tomorrow.
5. Give yourself a break
When it comes down to it, you can’t work for eight hours straight without some sort of a break. It may seem obvious that you should take a break during the day, but it’s common for people to avoid breaks because they think it will steer them off track and they won’t be able to refocus after. Taking a three-minute break every hour won’t hurt you; check your Instagram, get a coffee from the office's kitchen or go get a snack. As long as you get up away from your computer, you’ll feel super focused and ready once it’s time to get back to work.
By utilizing these tips, you’ll stay focused throughout the entire day and avoid an extremely stressful day or maybe even wiggle your way out of an unwanted conversation with a coworker. If you stay focused throughout the day, you’ll be much more productive and it will make you a more valuable employee. These tips will make you a more efficient and productive employee, and it will show in your work.