One of the tricks in your Time Diet is to know when you’re unfocused during work and immediately take steps to become more focused so you can complete your work faster. Recently, my work at home had become increasingly unfocused for two reasons: 1) My workspace was cluttered and 2) it was filled with distractions. Because my husband and I both have laptops, we end up doing most of our work at the kitchen table. I’ve found that I like this better than being at a desk because I don’t have to face into a wall and I feel far less claustrophobic when I’m doing work. This had been working fine for several years, but recently I found myself getting distracted. I have a perfect view of the television from my seat at the table, which becomes all too tempting to turn on (and even more tempting to watch when my husband already has it on!) Also, it was becoming increasingly annoying to have to move aside kitchen clutter to have a space to work. I knew my work was taking longer than it should because of these distractions, so I needed a change.
Last weekend, I bought a used conference table for 25 dollars at a second hand store. It’s 8 feet long, solid wood and aside from a small knick in the side, looks brand new. Actually getting it into our office (which we barely used up until now) was quite an experience, but now I have the perfect workspace and the past week I have felt a renewed vigor with my work I haven’t felt in a while. It has all the things I liked about the kitchen table –it doesn’t face a wall, it’s a large surface and big enough for my husband and me to both work there — without any of the downfalls. I now can no longer see a TV from my work place and I don’t have to worry about clutter from other rooms of the house getting in my way.
A simple “change of scenery” can go a long way for improving your focus. Want to know a teaching secret? In college, teachers learn that if they want to have a really productive and attentive day to flip the students’ desks to face a different direction. Why does this work? Because the students now have a change of scenery! Their routine has been altered. Now, you don’t have to go buy a giant piece of furniture like I did to make this work for you. Any small change in your work environment can help shake up your routine and give you a more focused work session. Do not become so entrenched in a work routine that you let yourself become less productive without realizing it. Frequently re-evaluate how and where you’re working to make sure you’re getting the most out of your work time. Or just come over to our office. I’m pretty sure we have room for you down at the end of our enormous table.