Working 9 to 5...How to boost productivity and stay focused!
July 28, 2023

Working 9 to 5...How to boost productivity and stay focused!

How to boost productivity and stay focussed. Written by Holly McCone, Consultant, Bristol

We all love what we do here at Lancia, but I think it’s safe to say that despite many of us working “9-5” in the office, very few of us can keep our heads down for a solid 8 hours without losing focus at one point throughout the day and, this is perfectly normal.  

For those who are in search of some fresh ideas or intrigued to learn what our consultants at Lancia do to keep our minds energised and focus maintained, these top tips may be of interest to you.  

Eat your frogs

Something you may have heard from us before… is all about the frogs. We in Lancia (and Mark Twain) call it eating your frogs. Identify your 1 to 3 biggest frogs (tasks) that you MUST complete that day and aim to complete them first thing in the morning. Once they're done – ahhhh success, you've won the day. After all, nothing else could be worse than eating a frog, right?  

Make a change a day

Imagine if you took 5 minutes each morning to make one improvement to the way that you work. Declutter your digital workspace, colour code your calendar by project or client, prioritise your to-do list, start a task and finish that task, avoid multitasking, stand for your afternoon meetings, take walking meetings where possible. One of Jonny’s trusted techniques is using a good old Pomodoro timer - set the timer for 25 minutes, fully dedicate yourself to a task, and then reward yourself with a short break - rinse and repeat!  

The power of chunking

There can be nothing more daunting than the thought of starting a new activity and simply not knowing where to begin.

Although it seems logical, breaking down tasks into manageable chunks helps to alleviate a portion of stress when starting into a new piece of work. Always, when starting on a new project or, when feeling uncertain on how to start into a new task I will chat through the overall goal with a colleague. By talking aloud with someone I can start to work back and break the goal into simple, more manageable steps and, don’t they say a problem shared is a problem halved?

Communicate & collaborate

In Lancia, we ensure to always keep our project team and colleagues in the loop on what we’re doing. This way delegating tasks when your workload is heftier than usual becomes a little easier. Why work in a shared office space if you can’t use it as a greenhouse for cultivating ideas and support.

Block out focus time

When going through busy periods, too many meetings can feel overwhelming and can lead to tasks lingering on my to-do list for just too long. So, I like to block out focus time in my calendar. I will physically create the meeting in my diary and during this time, I make sure to block out all external noise and eliminate distractions like email, or phone notifications. I turn my status to ‘Do not disturb’, if in the office I will move to a booth or quieter spot, put my headphones on with a playlist to get in the zone (it’s either classical or techno there’s no in-between!) and ultimately, no excuses – I’ll focus on that one commitment until it’s complete.  

Manage your notification settings

Turn off duplicate notifications between your phone and laptop on Teams, turn off banner notifications for all apps – you don’t need to see the name of the sender including the message appear especially if you’re screen sharing during a meeting. It will distract you and your audience.

Treat yourself!

Motivation is commonly the lacking ingredient to just get stuff done. For the mundane tasks it may take a little more encouragement than usual. Once you’ve ticked off one of these tasks, why not reward yourself? Maybe it’s nipping out for a coffee, a stroll around City Hall for the Belfast folk or Brandon Hill for our Bristol lot. Setting yourself these mini milestones and treats is simple but effective.  

Ekin begins by chunking all tasks for the day and listing them out in her notebook. Once 1 task is complete, she will paint 1 fingernail until, (ideally) all 10 tasks have been ticked off and 10 nails painted. You couldn’t possibly cope with only 6/10 nails painted?! Whatever works for you, Ekin.

Practice mindfulness

In this fast-paced consulting world practicing mindfulness can bring you back from chaos to the moment. Try mindfulness breathing for a couple of minutes or take a quick body scan - these techniques simply bring you away from stress to check in with how you’re feeling and then, readjust.  

The 20-minute power nap

If all else fails, and you can’t see another way, then take that 20-minute power nap – it can help boost alertness and cognitive function, but not a minute more or it becomes suboptimal as you enter sleep inertia (that horrible groggy feeling!)  

Of course, these are only a few suggestions. Why not try one out and discover what works best for you.

Want to join a team that eats frogs and takes power naps? Join us!

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