Our offices are becoming increasingly saturated with stuff that takes away our attention. It can be a mind-opening experience to reminisce on our day and realize how much we spend working on things that really mattered. When I work to my full potential, I sometimes go into a daydream-like state of mind, or a higher plane where I’m so focused time doesn’t exist. Unfortunately, it’s getting harder to achieve that state when I’m always pulled away by distractions.

I offer some of my own tricks to maintain your attention and make sure you don’t end the day finishing only a third of what you wanted to get done.

Log your time
The number one thing you must do is to see how you spend your time throughout the day. I advise you keep a log of all your breaks, gatherings, work flow, everything. I guarantee you’ll be astonished at way you go about your waking life. If your career requires you to be online for at least eight hours a day, then it’s advisable to hammer down what you do and what sites you spend the most time on. TimeSheet is a great tool for tracking your time spent working on the computer. If you’re like me, you’ll freak out at how much time you spend on reddit or digg. You can analyze your habits and find patterns that show you when, where, and why you don’t have enough time to get work done. It’ll also show you when you work your best, then it’ll even dig deeper and find out where you spend the majority of your time. You can organize your day to work around your most productive hours.

Limit email use
The next step is to limit your time spent checking email, even though it can be frustrating, but it’s one of the smartest moves you’ll make at optimizing your time. Try clumping, or quickly checking and responding in bursts. AwayFind is another awesome program that lets you redirect your important emails to other devices or a virtual assistant, giving you the time to get in your zone.

Filter email
The majority of our email consists of offers, newsletters, social drama, and other related categories. This means you can re-route specific email into separate folders so only the critical material lands in our inbox. For example, Gmail allows you to set filters that check the emails based on sender, title, content, or IP address.

Know your big projects
Big projects are the mandatory things you must complete before the end of the week. Usually, I make a to-do list with a ranking to the things I must accomplish know. Knowing what your big projects are tells bombards your subconscious with reminders to finish everything in X amount of time, without letting the smaller, finicky tasks get in your way. Big projects focus your attention on completing important tasks each week, giving you time for minor things to work their way through and take up the remaining time.

No morning email
It’s very important to start the day off with a bang, and checking email right after you get up means you’re always trying to catch up with the past. Checking email in the morning is like a Chinese box. You open it, there's another one inside, another one inside, another one inside. Oftentimes, your email will consist of things that don't really matter, taking away your attention away from bettering your business. If you haven’t noticed by now, email is a huge time waster for many companies. Check this post again and you’ll see that three tips are for email alone.

Focus time
It’s mandatory to have some focus time during the day where you can sit in peace and really channel in and get some work done. This mental state is only achievable without physical distractions. If you work with your door open, lock it. Turn off your phones. Unplug the Ethernet cable from your computer. Hang a sign outside your door that lets everybody know not to bother you. There is something magical about a focused, mental wall to block out the world, allowing you to go deeper down the rabbit hole. I know this isn’t possible for every worker or company. You probably work in a public area with people sitting right next to you. The next best thing you can do is to invest in some noise-canceling headphones by Sony. This is to block out any distractions (yeah, even the people you work with) from getting in your way. Is it hard? Yep. Is it worth a try? Always.