Set a mini goal
GaudiLab/Shutterstock Before you jump into a task, take a few seconds to set an intention about what you hope to accomplish over the next 20 to 40 minutes or so, suggests Chris Bailey, author of The Productivity Project. “When we work and when we live with this intentionality, it’s what allows us to shut off this mindless autopilot mode and choose what we want to work on,” he says. Knowing exactly what you want to get out of each little chunk of time helps you put every minute in perspective. If getting sidelined by an email or link won’t help that goal, don’t even start. Don’t miss these other almost effortless ways to be more productive.
Turn on a timer
Sergio Bertino/Shutterstock Now that you have a better idea of your goal for the next 20 minutes, set a timer and promise yourself you’ll stay focused until it goes off. Imposing a deadline on yourself (not to mention the promise of a stopping point) gives you more drive to stay on task. “You’ll probably get more done in 20 minutes than in the average hour,” says Bailey. He recommends starting with 20-minute chunks while you get used to that hyper-focused time, then working your way up to staying concentrated longer.