Why You Aren't Focusing At Work And How To Fix It - Docket

Why You Aren’t Focusing At Work And How To Fix It

Even if you’re great at sticking to a schedule and mapping out your workday, everyone has those days where they can’t seem to get focused and cross a task off their list. It could be due to lack of sleep, lack of water, “fire drills” or emergencies that need immediate attention, too many to-do’s and not enough hours in the work day. Either way, it’s a crippling feeling to get through the workday and feel like nothing was accomplished. 

We’ve identified some problems that cause a lack of focus and provided solutions to help amp up your productivity in your own role, as well as across the entire company. 

Problem: There’s too much to get done in the day, and you don’t know where to start

Solution: Take 10 minutes—yes, just 10 minutes—mapping out your goals and to-do’s.

Think about how often you scroll through Instagram, check Twitter, or open any other app on your phone. At a minimum, you spend 10 minutes per day scrolling through some sort of feed. What if you spent those 10 minutes mapping out your goals for the day on a to do list app instead? If you have back-to-back meetings, more often than not, you haven’t had time to look at the meeting’s agenda until…you’re in the meeting. This creates a tone of “coasting” through your workday, feeling like you’re unable to get anything done. 

Eric Prugh, co-founder and Chief Product Officer at PactSafe, shared how he starts his day by mapping out priorities for projects and meetings: 

“Some days I’ll have back-to-back meetings from the moment I walk into the office. When meeting agendas were buried in email threads, it was difficult to set out what I wanted to accomplish for the day. For both internal and external meetings, my team and I leverage technology tools that help us plan ahead, so I don’t have to dig through my inbox to find the agenda of the meeting. Before I head into work, I take 10-20 minutes to map out my goals for the day and build my to-do list after keeping myself honest based on the number of meetings and action items I’ll need to tackle. It’s put me back in control of my day, and I’m immensely more productive.”

Problem: You’re working on a big project, and it’s not clear who owns what, so productivity is stalled.

Solution: Learn what makes your teammates work best.

If you work in an office, learn how your colleagues and team members stay focused. What helps them be productive? If you share similarities in the way you work productively, it can help elevate the work you’re doing together. Another tip: encourage your colleagues to share more information on how they work best, how they prefer to communicate, and what some of their personal goals are.

If you’re working closely on a project, for example, identify the best methods of communication. Email is usually never the most efficient way to communicate updates and next steps for a project or campaign. Leverage a tool that lets team members collaborate in real-time that’s easily accessible.

Using a meeting framework like Docket enables and enhances your process for every stage of a meeting, providing features and integrations with tools like Slack, Hubspot, Dropbox, and more for greater efficiency and alignment. View previous meeting notes within current meeting notes, allowing teams to quickly review past decisions and action items tracking.

Whatever the method is, use a collaborative tool to help your team stay on-task and hold each other accountable to knowing what needs to get done and by when.

Problem: You’ve started a new role—which is great—but now have a whole new set of responsibilities and to-do’s, and you’re not sure how to organize (hence, lack of focus.)

Solution: Start with goals, and identify how to organize and track your progress from there.

Lack of focus can be driven by stress, and while a new role with new responsibilities can be rewarding, it doesn’t come without unwanted stress. As you ramp-up in your new role, make sure with your role and goals are defined. Carry this accountability through your projects and with team members. Here are some tips:

  • Break out goals by 30, 60, 90-day targets
  • Get insight into gaps from your new leader/manager to tackle first
  • Digest your team’s overall goals to understand where you can contribute and add value quickly
  • Meet key folks that you support or work with and ask what they would prioritize. As you collaborate, record your notes, next steps, etc. in a central tool like Docket that makes it easy for you and your colleagues to update and refer to as your project(s) progress.

For business leaders:

Problem: Your team members aren’t feeling challenged at work, so there’s a lack of motivation to get things done.

Solution: Provide transparency into leadership’s plans and process.

A major contributor to not feeling like an employee is contributing to the company is lack of communication and transparency. Sure, employees know the company goals, but are they being assured they’re helping contribute to reach them? A surefire way to inspire motivation among team members is to offer transparency into the leadership team. 

Does your leadership team share insight into their meetings and process? This has been a proven method to empower employees and encourage collaboration across an organization. The co-founder and CEO of Forge, a talent sharing platform, shared in an Inc. article with simple advice to business leaders: “Don’t pretend to have it all figured out.” She discusses how sharing her ideas has helped improve innovation in her business, framing her method like this:

  • “These are my ideas. 
  • Here are the benefits and challenges I foresee. 
  • Now I want your input to create the direction of the vision.”

After leadership meetings, share a brief recap with employees. State the plan(s), next steps, and benefits and concerns. Make your employees a part of the conversation. Docket’s Agenda feature allows you to send meeting notes and recaps out to employees, even offering collaborative tools. Sign up for free and use with your teams today.

About the Author

Heather Hansson

Heather is VP of Product and Chief of Staff at Docket. She enjoys leading cross-functional teams to work together on vision, strategy, and implementing solutions that help people work and live better. When she isn’t helping rid the world of wasteful meetings with Docket, Heather likes to run, take violin lessons with her son, and spend time with her family.

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