Work/Life

How do you stay focused during a long day?

By The FORUM Magazine Editors

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Steve Van HoutIf I’m not careful, I could end up spending 90% of my day in meetings. To prevent this, I put “no-meeting” time into my Outlook calendar so I can stay focused on my work. When I want to get my creative juices flowing, I like to listen to music (preferably without words). A music genre that works especially well for me is jazz-fusion.

Steve Van Hout, Executive Director, American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Maria DickmanI always write the five things that must get done each day on a Post-It. It’s a good way to bring me back to center when interruptions inevitably happen, so I’m never thinking, “What was I supposed to be doing?” For tasks that require long periods of time (like writing, or editing an article or event script), I try to block time on my calendar—sometimes this is successful, sometimes it’s not. I de-stress by making a cup of tea and chatting with coworkers about a new book or the latest episode of “Survivor.” I also try to walk home from work—fresh air helps clear my thoughts.

Maria Dickman, Communications Manager, Chicago Association of REALTORS®

I take five minutes in the morning to set goals for the day. I also block off project time on my calendar and carefully consider meetings. Lastly, I try to recharge with a walk around the office to say hello to other departments or to make a cup of tea.

Kathleen Fultz, Global Regulatory & Government Affairs Manager, Water Quality Association

Geoffrey BrownI’m a runner and the best way to de-stress and stay focused is to start off the day with a workout. I always find that time in the gym or the trail gets me in the right mindset for the work day. It’s also important to structure your time in the office by setting objectives for your day and managing any potential distractions, like emails or phone calls.

Geoffrey Brown, CAE, CEO, National Association of Personal Financial Advisors

Kim EllisonIn the past year, I’ve learned to pay attention to my breathing if I find myself becoming overwhelmed. If possible, I’ll grab an open conference room to play a short recording on the Headspace mobile app. Otherwise, listening to hip-hop also keeps me happy.

Kim Ellison, MNM, CAE, Governance Specialist, American Society of Anesthesiologists

About the Author

Written by the FORUM Magazine Editors.

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