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Organization is important, but what you really need is focus. According to the author of this article, being able to sit down and concentrate intensely on your work is the real key of success.

Here are some tips to help concentration:

1) Cut Off the Noise: Answer your e-mails at scheduled times. Request that people don’t interrupt you when working on a big project. If you are required to answer phones and drop-in’s immediately, schedule work when the office is less busy.

2) Structure Your Environment:
Try to locate yourself so you are facing potential distractions such as doors, phones or windows. This way you can take a glance to assess sounds that would otherwise break your focus.

3) Clarify Objectives: If you aren’t sure what the end result is, the confusion will make it impossible to focus. Unclear objectives often result in having to redo sections of work.

4) Divide Blobs: Taking a few minutes to plan not only your end result, but the order you will complete any steps, can save hours in wasted thinking.

5) Know the Rules: If the rules aren’t clear from the outset, you will slip out of concentration as you ponder them later.

6) Set a Deadline:
A deadline can make it easier to forget the non-essential and speed up your working time. Time limits have also disadvantages when they cause you to worry about the time you have left instead of the task itself.

7) Break Down Roadblocks: Break down roadblocks by brainstorming or planning on a piece of paper. Writing out your thought processes can keep you focused even if you might become frustrated.

8 ) Isolate Yourself: Unless your work is based on other people they will only break your focus. Create a private space and refuse to talk to anyone until your work is finished. Put a sign on your door to steer away drop-ins and don’t answer your phone.

9) Healthy Body, Sharper Mind:
Try to cut out one of your unhealthy habits for just thirty days to see if there is a difference in your energy levels.

10) Be Patient: If you need strong concentration, periods of 90-120 minutes of work are recommended. Any less than that and you will waste too much time getting started before the flow can continue.

Image source: FlickrNickolai Kashirin (CC BY 2.0)