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I work in a team and after some days of regular focus & productivity, normally towards the end of the month, I lose interest in the work. It usually takes about a week to regain focus but, this often puts me behind schedule.

During that "lost" week, I don't stop my productivity; instead I will focus on another project or technology/skill related to my work. I become bored (unable to focus) with the monotonous work of the initial tasks. I would like to be able to feel focused and dedicated throughout the entire project, instead of feeling unproductive and inefficient.

In short, I'm looking for techniques to improve my capacity to remain disciplined and focused. How can I do that?

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Don't allow those negative feelings or self-characterization for losing focus bring you down - it's a struggle we all face. It sounds like you may not be taking breaks to focus on other tasks in the beginning of the month, but then stop focusing on "priority" tasks because of getting burnt out. You are your harshest critic. –  Raystafarian Jul 9 '13 at 9:21

3 Answers 3

Being bored is an excuse and a poor one at that. You work on the project you are supposed to work on because you are being paid to do so. If you worked for me and lost focus for week each month and got behind the schedule, I'd fire you. This is simply unacceptable professional behavior. You work no matter if you are bored, if you have a hangover, if you would like to be home doing something else, if you think Bob has a better assignment than you do, if your boss is a jerk, if you hate doing XYZ work, if the office is noisy, if the finishing details are less interesting than the design phase, etc. This is a basic of the work place and there is no cure except to stop making excuses and keep working. Above all else do not work on something you are not assigned to work on when your assigned work is behind schedule!!!!!!!

If you are continually distracted from what you should be doing, then the best cure is to simply notice you are distracted, mentally yell STOP (your co-workers will look at you funny if you do it out loud), and return to the task you are supposed to be working on. It really is that simple. You will find yourself saying stop a lot at first but as your body learns that you won't let it be distracted, it will try to distract you less. It may however get worse before it gets better as your body tries to see if you are really serious about this self-disipline nonsense. Push through that phase even if you are mentally saying Stop and returning to task every minute or even every few seconds.

Consitently returning to task and persistence are the keys to this.

Meditation helps teach you this technique as well since it teaches you to notice and then return to task.

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Mate, I recommend music.

Remember those boring times you had while studying for exams? Well remember the the solution to staying up and energised was - no not energy drinks, but energetic music.

So I recommend some energetic music.

Also chewing gum seems to help.

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1. Work in chunks

You need to divide your work in to small chunks of tasks. This would keep the boredom miles away from you. Take one chunk at a time and try and finish that. You will feel the work load reduced as you complete it chunk. This way your mind would get some deserved relaxation from stress.

2. Reward yourself for your determination

After you complete each chunk of your work. Get a short little break to help your mind get some time to rejuvenate. Do something which you love. Play a game of darts, do some social networking stuff like Facebook or twitter, or do answer questions on Stack Exchange (This is my personal preference :] ). But at the same time please make sure that you don't do this things for too long. If you do this for too long then you may loose your focus from your work. So keep a check on your time, as these things can be addictive. Overdoing this can have opposite effects.

3. Find the right Music

You need to check which kind of music helps you be more focused for a longer time and concentrate more. This would also keep your boredom away. I personally prefer soft music in background while I work. Or if it is in office, you can plug in your headphones and stay focused. Also this would enable you to focus more by 30% - 40% at least. This is what I have seen in most cases.

4. Go Incognito

Sometimes outside interferences do cause loss of focus and hence the whole work takes time because of interruptions. In that case you can put on a notification or status outside your cubicle or cabin as "Do not Disturb, Busy with work". Also on messengers you use, you can put this status. This would help you to stay away from interruptions and concentrate on your work and avoid disturbances.

5. Be interested/passionate about your work.

Last but not the least. Unless you love whatever you do, you won't be able to work for long times with it. Get yourselves engrossed in your work. Take interest in your work rather than taking it as a compulsion. Once you start enjoying your work, you would start spending more time at a stretch after your work and your mind would get trained to do the work for longer period of times with 100% focus on the work.

6. Feel Good

Don't think of yourself as inefficient or unproductive. You need to feel confident and energetic to deliver. Do some meditation in early morning to improve your concentrations. And do some exercise in morning to feel more energetic. Rather than stimulating your mind with Tea, Coffee and other similar beverages, I would recommend to do more meditation to keep your mind focused.

Hope this helps you :)

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