Practical Methods for Getting More Thinking Done at Work

thinkMany jobs require significant thought, but internal and external distractions can make it difficult to concentrate. These are some methods to use in the workplace to help you think better.
Strategies From Within

  1. Clarify your purpose. Remind yourself about why your work matters so you’ll feel more motivated. Maybe you want to help a customer have a better day or ensure your company passes its financial audit.
  2. Tap into your unconscious. Put aside difficult dilemmas and do some routine paperwork. The answers may come to you naturally.
  3. Suspend worrying. Resolve to tackle one issue at a time. Focus on your presentation to the board and tell yourself you’ll deal with your kid’s report card later.
  4. Accept distractions. Getting frustrated over distractions can waste more energy than the distractions themselves. Take note of the events around you and calmly bring your mind back to your work.
  5. Focus on learning. The final outcomes in life are often beyond our control. Take satisfaction in learning and growing so that every task will feel worthwhile.
  6. Use positive self-talk. Encourage yourself to buckle down by appreciating your own efforts and talents. Celebrate small victories and congratulate yourself on making progress.
  7. Recognize your emotions. It’s natural to feel anxious at work and swamped by conflicting demands. Be gentle with yourself when times get tough. Validating how you feel helps to dissolve tension.
  8. Look for the funny side of things. Humor makes everything feel better. Pause for a good laugh and then deal with that complaining client.

External Methods

  1. Come in early. Schedule your most challenging tasks for the hours before the crowds arrive. Your diligence may even impress your boss.
  2. Clean your desk. A tidy desk makes it easier to think straight. Put unnecessary papers and supplies away from view. Blast your computer keyboard with compressed air and wipe it with a soft cloth from time to time to keep it from becoming an eyesore.
  3. Take a walk. Physical exercise is good for the body and the mind. A spin around the block or a trip to the corner store may help you achieve a breakthrough when you return.
  4. Write stuff down. Stop wasting time struggling to remember your best ideas. Carry around a notebook or jot stuff down on a notepad app in your smart phone.
  5. Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation causes mental confusion. Getting to bed on time makes you more productive. Stick to a regular schedule even on weekends.
  6. Drink more water. Staying hydrated prevents fatigue and promotes mental sharpness. Fill up a water bottle and carry it everywhere with you. If you need help adjusting to the taste of plain water, add some lemon or lime.
  7. Eat frequently. Your brain needs nourishment, but digesting heavy meals can slow it down. Eat a breakfast of foods that are dense in nutrients and low in calories. Good choices include yogurt, whole grain toast, and fresh fruit. Snack on nuts or a cup of soup if you need something to tide you over until lunch.
  8. Dress comfortably. Modern offices often range from chilly to tropical. Dress in layers so you can adjust to the climate. Our brains work best when our bodies are protected from temperature extremes.

Pacify your mind so you can think more clearly at work. You’ll experience less stress and be able to get better results in less time.

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