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Practical tips for making progress at the office

Every office or VDU worker is faced with it at some time: difficulty
concentrating. Here are some practical tips for being able to focus better on your
work and get it done more effectively:

• Turn off  e-mail alerts so that you won't be distracted by incoming e-mails. Do the same with notifications on your mobile phone. Why not do something else you rarely do? Turn off your phone for a few hours so you can really concentrate on your work.

• Check your e-mails periodically – halfway through your workday and again an hour before you go home – not as soon as one comes in. If it's really urgent- they'll call or come and see you.

• Use the last 5 to 10 minutes of the day to make a to-do list for the next day. By doing this, you can get right into your work rhythm on the following day without having to think first about all the things you have to do. This way-you start out
cool, calm and collected: You know what you have to do and you can focus better on each task.

• Set your e-mail so that it opens in your calendar. This way, you won't be distracted by a full inbox! You can simply open your e-mail programme in the morning and see only the real deadlines: times when you have a meeting or another important thing you have to do. If you don't know how to do this, look it up in Google: getting started with your calendar with [the name of your e-mail programme].

• Stop multitasking! Complete one task first or devote a certain
length of time (60 – 90 minutes) to a task.

• Take a three-minute walk every hour. If possible, get outside –just a walk around the office building (or house) or to the end of the street. Exercise gives your brain a recovery time – time for it to actively store information. This also lets you concentrate better when you get back to your workplace. This keeps you
working up to speed so that you save time over the day. Yes,
you read that right: by taking a little time off, you can work
faster and better.

• If you've been doing a good job of focusing on a task or if you've completed one, reward yourself. Take a little walk, or spend a few minutes checking your social media. This also ensures that you don't engage in these distractions during your work tasks. By scheduling your distractions, you recharge your brain
for the next task requiring concentration.

• Conduct the task that demands the highest level of concentration during the late morning (between 10:00 and12:00) when your level of concentration is highest. The afternoon is a better time for brainstorming and creative tasks or the somewhat simpler operational tasks.

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