Tell us your tried and true techniques for focusing when that deadline looms and you need to get work done. In other words, how do you avoid wasted days and wasted nights?
Well, in a work environment, I find that I thrive a) when the pressure is on – I find that I really get into a specific head-space and just get. shit. done.; and b) when I’m in the office out of hours.
Being in the office at 7am or after 5pm can be when I am literally the most productive. There’s no phones to answer, there’s no banal conversations to be had, there’s no distractions from anybody, I can just do my work completely hassle free. I must say, that’s one of the best ways in which I operate.
Just recently I was in the office at 5:15am. On a friday. And the only reason was because I had a stack of work to get through – work that needed to be finished by certain times, and reports that were required the day prior. Granted I didn’t manage to do those reports because I had to sit down and write them from scratch which was quite time consuming… hence why being in the office so early. Even then, I spent almost three hours configuring a few different reports, and managing the data within the reports to give to one of the bosses.
The other reason I was in so early was to ensure that all my work was up to date as I was going to be on leave the following week and wanted to make sure that I had nothing outstanding for when I returned… (Ironically, I have a tendency to also leave those kind of tasks until literally the last minute. The last work day for the year is when I’ll find myself tidying my desk and doing six-months worth of filing, sorting out papers, recycling all my excess scrap paper… you know, the tasks that I should have at least been doing the week prior!!)
One of the tasks that I really loathe with my role is collating giant training folders. It’s a massive task to undertake. It’s a lot of printing of papers, and collating those papers into sections, then putting multiple sections into folders with numerous divider tabs etc. It’s time consuming and incredibly fiddly. So, I always try to make sure that I use that time as effectively as possible. Whilst a big print job is on, I’ll sit down and stick on divider labels. When I’m out the back on my own collating the papers into the folders, I take my iPad, and I’ll watch several episodes of a TV show to help pass the time.
When I’m stuck at my desk, I put on some music to make the situation just slightly more bearable, and that helps pass the time as well.
…and sometimes if I’m alone in the office, a little dancing doesn’t hurt either 😉