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“How can I be more productive?” is a question that most people will want to know.

Whether you are searching for a role, looking to maintain that new job high or about to embark on an important piece of work, the ability to focus solely on the task at hand can be very difficult.

To ensure that loud or looming distractions do not get the better of you, here are five ways you can increase your focus and productivity both at work and at home.

1.Start your day right from the moment you wake up

As tempting as that snooze button is, do not hit it! It gives the body a ‘false alarm’ signal that results in a slower, groggier wake up than if you just went ahead and got up when your normal alarm goes off. 

Giving yourself an extra half hour not only gives you the obvious benefit of more time to work if need be, it also allows you to plan ahead and a chance to finish the menial tasks in your schedule quickly. Now that you are more refreshed and have more time ahead of you, it’s time to start the work itself.

2. Prioritise and schedule a tangible results plan

For most people, the prospect of a completing a mammoth task is so daunting their mind becomes overwhelmed at the notion.  The solution is to prioritise your most pressing issues and set obtainable targets to finish.

Create a to-do list before you begin and then do minor tasks that can be completed and tick off once finished. That way, you’ll have an organised plan for the work ahead and feel the weight lift off your shoulders as each block of work is completed.

3. Escape the digital din

Today’s technological world, while intended to make getting work done easier, can be disruptive. Emails never seem to end and the draw of quick updates from your online community and database is inevitable. It’s so easy to be immersed whilst swimming in the digital sea, sucking away your precious time as a result.

Collaboration between colleagues and friends is important to achieve your goals but not continuously. Sometimes physical and digital isolation is needed to think and increase productivity. Managing communications poorly can send you down an endless stream of reactive work leaving little time to complete the wider, larger picture.

4. Stay productive but take mini-breaks throughout

Sometimes your body needs a time out to be able to work at its best. Even a quick walk to the kitchen or a thorough stretch can be enough to recharge your brain for the long stint of work ahead.  And if you are sitting in front of a computer all day, make sure to walk around your workspace regularly and grab some fresh air when you can.

However this does not mean you should stop every quarter of an hour for 10 minute breaks or get distracted by menial tasks. Once you’re side-tracked by one thing, it could lead to another, and then another until you have hopelessly fallen behind on your schedule.

5. Use your headphones

It may seem counter-intuitive to add more noise to help you focus, but experts have shown that music can help your mood and work ethic. Putting in your headphones and creating your own soundscape can increase your positive mood and drive a better performance whilst working.

This can range from contemporary to instrumental white noise. Having headphones in can also signal to those around you to not want disturb you unless their query is business critical.