In the age of instant access to information, it’s getting harder to stay focused at work. Having just one minute pass without a distracting ping from your phone or e-mail is becoming a rare phenomenon.
We’re losing the battle to stay focused.
Taking back your life from the flashing lights and high pitched chimes is a constant struggle. Fortunately, the internet is full of tools ready to help you get your shit together. I use these tools every day to help keep me focused and limit my cat video consumption. If you find yourself spending too much time checking Instagram or updating Facebook, you should give them a try.
1. The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is one of the most widely used time-management methods, and even in small doses it can make a big difference to your productivity and help you stay focused at work. The method was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s when he was a university student, and is named after the tomato timer he used to keep track of his time (Pomodoro is Italian for tomato). The beauty of the technique lies in its simplicity. Just follow these steps:
Decide on a task that needs to be done
Set a timer for 25 minutes
Work on the task until the timer rings
Set the timer for 5 minutes and take a break to watch cat videos
The technique is fantastic for re-establishing focus. While some find it rewarding to physically set a kitchen timer, you can also use a Chrome extension to keep track of your Pomodoro. If you’ve never tried this technique, you’re in for a productive day.
2. Too Many Tabs
If you’re keeping over five tabs open at once, you’re probably being distracted. Not to mention, you’re definitely hurting your computer’s performance. The aptly named “Too Many Tabs” is a great solution if you work in Google’s Chrome browser. Too Many Tabs allows you to hide tabs you’re not working on directly, keeping your browser clean and your laptop running at an optimal speed.
Instead of reopening your email every 5 minutes, add it to Too Many Tabs and stay focused on your present work. The extension makes a great home for your Facebook Page, Twitter Feed, and any other tabs that are only working to suck your productivity. When you’re ready to take a break, you’re tabs will be waiting for you in one convenient spot.
Formerly titled “Read It Later”, Pocket is a tool you can use to save articles, blog posts, or videos for later viewing. It’s a fantastic place to store all of the tweets, posts, and links that would normally interrupt your day. Once you install the Chrome extension, you’ll be able to send pages directly to Pocket in one click, saving you time and keeping you focused on the task at hand. View your stored pages online, offline, or on your phone with the handy Pocket mobile app.
Pocket really shines when used in conjunction with the Pomodoro Technique. If you see anything distracting during your 25 minutes of focus, you can save it to your Pocket. Once your timer rings and you have a five minute break, head over to Pocket and read/watch all of the interesting links you’ve saved. It will feel like a reward for your increased productivity.
Our team at CAVE uses these tools everyday — what tools do you use to stay focused? Let me know in the comments section — I’m a sucker for new apps and extensions.
Now, get back to work! Your five minutes is up.
Still have a few minutes left? Here’s a video of two penguins with a serious dilemma.
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