How to Avoid Distractions and Stay on Track Today

Working from home or elsewhere remotely can offer you the opportunity to get much more work done than you’d get done in a traditional office setting. There’s no chatty coworker coming by to tell you about her weekend and no polite small talk to make while you wait your turn at the coffee machine. But working remotely can also have an effect similar to that of an absent teacher on a middle-school class: indulgence in distractions galore.  

So how can you reap the many benefits of working remotely — shorter commute, fewer dining expenses — without falling prey to your own inner 13-year-old? Here, we give you the top five ways.

Take exercise breaks

It may seem counterintuitive when you’ve just started a new job or you have a ton of work to get through, but making time for exercise will pay dividends in not just the long run but the short term, too. Physical exertion, even brief bouts, brings a host of job-enhancing benefits: better memory, improved mental health, boosted creativity and, best of all, improved concentration. In one recent study, Dutch schoolchildren had longer attention spans after 20-minute aerobic-activity sessions. Don’t overdo things on the workout front, either; too much exercise can have a negative impact on mind and body alike. 

There’s no need to spring for a fancy gym membership. If you’re already a Metro Offices client, simply take an elevator — or, while we’re on the topic of exercise, the stairs — down to one of the state-of-the-art fitness centers onsite at our nine DC and Washington-area office locations. 

Eat right 

It can be tempting after a long night of work and too little shut-eye to reach for multiple cups of coffee or “energy” shots or drinks, but give your body what it needs instead of short-term fixes. “Energy drinks are often loaded with sugar and way more caffeine than coffee, which can cause jitters and heart racing,” nutritionist Cindy Moustafa told Health.com recently. “Even if it says sugar-free, it’s loaded with chemicals and it’s in no way beneficial to your health.” Fuel your day with proven brain-boosters oatmeal, dark chocolate (cocoa powder works, too), fatty fish (think salmon), spinach or any other leafy green, bananas and eggs — and pass on the pastry and fast food. 

Sleep enough

Unfortunately for those high-energy types, there’s no shortcut for this one; you need sufficient sleep to do your best thinking. Without seven to eight solid hours of sleep each night, concentration and attention both take a nosedive. So if you find yourself waking up groggy every morning, make a real effort to get to bed earlier at night. Trust us, that “Brooklyn 99” marathon can wait. Your health shouldn’t have to.  

Make to-do lists

Anyone who tells you that ticking off a completed task on a to-do list isn’t satisfying is lying to themselves. (In fact, we have coworkers who write down the things they’ve already done just so they can cross them off.) Start your day off with a list, hand-written or app-generated, of the tasks you want or need to accomplish within the next, say, eight to 10 hours. Try to strike a balance between realistic and productive; that is, don’t set the bar impossibly high or ridiculously low. If you need to break up a larger task into smaller ones, go ahead and do it. In fact, even just making and reading your to-do list sets you up for greater productivity. So get listing! 

Set timers

This tip may work as well for toddlers and playground time as it does for adults and Instagram. Even if you’ve slept enough, exercised, eaten well and started ticking things off on a solid to-do list, there might still come a time when you just want a break. So go ahead and give yourself one; you’ve earned it. Browse Facebook, read a quirky Cracked.com article, peruse Norman N.’s hilarious Twitter feed. But set a timer on your phone, the stove, or wherever and give yourself only the allotted time you’ve set for ‘goofing off.’ When that time is up, it’s back to the grindstone. Letting yourself indulge here and there for a few minutes at a time will help keep you from going overboard later and keep you on-task longer.

Looking for distraction-free, affordable, centrally located office space in and around the nation’s capital? Visit one of Metro Offices nine locations today.

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