Lack of focus at work...
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05-01-2017, 09:13 PM
Lack of focus at work...
So, I'm not even sure this warrants being in the personal section, but anyway... I've been at my current job for 10 years now. I work at a life insurance company doing, well... quite frankly boring work. I could say I'm in data entry but it isn't pure data entry as there is data analysis that goes on. But it is boring nonetheless.

Our company is admitted in most states in the U.S. and each state has different rules that we must remember. On top of that, we have different producers (agents) and they all have their own rules. And then on top of that, we have different products with - you guessed it - their own rules. Some states/producers/products have things in common but the point is, there's a lot to remember.

So it may seem that I'm kind of contradicting myself by saying that all this complicated crap is boring, but it is boring just the same.

In my early years at the company, this was not the case because it was all new, but as the years went by, while everything still remained complicated (the rules change all the time too) it became boring. I found myself on auto-pilot much of the time, my eyes glazing over as I was reviewing a life insurance policy for errors before it went out to the client, etc.

This of course is a problem because we are not only supposed to do our work quickly, but accurately (which, if you ask me, whenever you speed up, errors increase, but they expect the impossible, what can you do).

At one point I'd been dealing with feelings of "my job doesn't matter" or "my job doesn't make a difference in the world" and I'd thought that if I could have a sense that my job made a difference, that that would get me to care enough so I could focus and not be daydreaming or whatever. But then even when I realized that yes life insurance is important and does help a lot of people, I still had an issue.

I tried listening to podcasts or things like that, thinking that if something interesting was on that I could listen to, it'd keep me from getting sleepy or overly bored. But then my focus was mostly on the far-more-interesting podcast and not on work.

Music or white noise help to a degree, but once they truly become white noise in my brain as I'm working, then the little "monkey" in my brain puts *that* on auto-pilot and starts daydreaming again.

I continue to struggle with this lack of focus. There are times I can muster it and really pay attention, but it is only for short bouts.

I like my job - I work at a good company with good benefits, I like the area of town I work in and the building I work in, and I've worked with the same people so long that while some of their quirks irritate the piss out of me, they also make me laugh and they feel like family. I wouldn't want to leave this job.

I just feel like I'm not giving my best and I don't know how to fix it. Does anyone have any tips? Anyone who does boring work but work that requires a sharp eye nonetheless? Or folks who've been at their job so long that they kind of operate on auto-pilot much of the time?

I am so long-winded. Hobo Tongue

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05-01-2017, 09:21 PM
RE: Lack of focus at work...
My boss came to me a few weeks ago because I've been dealing with depression swings, despite my medication, and all due to random stressors. I had not realized it had affected me so much, but I was starting to consistently be late, my focus was terrible and I was having a hard time.

I finally took a few days off from work with his permission, went into the doc for a counseling session, readjusted when I took my medication and then started listing things I needed to change.

I installed an addon for chrome that limits my browsing time and blocks all websites that I have deemed time leeches, come to work early every day, and worked out some goals with my boss at work.

I'm consistently feeling more happy, more reinforcement from my boss, and things are going better.

These things may not help you, but I would at the very least identify the things that you find are causing you the most daze in terms of losing focus and why you find yourself drifting off. Sometimes just a simple lack of goals can cause it, other times feeling like there's no end goal, no path. Maybe set some with your boss, even if small, with something to motivate you. It may help.

I tend to get very stale, very fast, if I am not challenged, and going through one of my swings will cause me to just plummet down into an abyss of zero effort and focus.

Official ordained minister of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Please pm me with prayer requests to his noodly goodness. Remember, he boiled for your sins and loves you. Carbo Diem! RAmen.
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05-01-2017, 09:28 PM
RE: Lack of focus at work...
I think your dream job is to be a writer, right? I remember reading an interview with JK Rowling who said she used to think about her stories while working her mundane day job.

I think Amazon lets you self publish books, I'm not sure if you were thinking of going that route with your book? You can also submit stories and articles to various magazines as a freelance writer.

I would make a plan of attack to keep focusing on your book, get it finished, and publish it. Put yourself on a timeline so you feel like you are moving in a direction to a career you'd really like. I think when you give yourself an open window to get away from what you are doing and make a plan of attack, it's sometimes easier to do more mundane things for the time being.

I know you say you need to be focused with your job, maybe allow yourself 50 minutes of pure work focus and ten minutes of thinking about your book time.
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05-01-2017, 09:32 PM
RE: Lack of focus at work...
Thanks, Logisch. Back when I was having marital problems and was depressed, I was showing up late to work and goofing off on the internet a lot. Both of those things have much improved. The past few years, as my personal life improved, I'm late maybe a couple of times a year and my internet time is next to nil. I might send Rev a couple messages on Skype now and then but most of the time, that's only when I'm on break or at lunch. I suppose listening to podcasts or music could be considered internet time. I mean, I do use the internet for those, but I'm not actively browsing when that's going on so I've felt like that was much preferred to active browsing or reading articles, etc.

Anyway, we do have "goals" at work, like objectives. Stuff like "answer e-mails/phone calls within 24 hours" etc. but there are some goals that just aren't attainable when we're busy so I don't sweat them. I used to worry too much about that kind of thing, but now I just do what I can do, and don't worry excessively.

But even with all that, and even though I get good reviews from my boss every time we have evaluations, I still have the feeling I am not doing my best. I know my focus is drifting because it's boring to make sure the numbers on the app are the same as on the outgoing policy, for example. My eyes are just moving and my body isn't engaged at all. We used to physically check off a box when doing this particular type of work so that kept me somewhat alert and focused but that's gone now. But even on stuff where I am typing and entering information in, I find my mind drifting because the subject matter (life insurance) is frankly dull even though I know it is important and even though I believe in the product/business.

Eh, I dunno what to do. Undecided

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05-01-2017, 09:36 PM
RE: Lack of focus at work...
Thanks, Jenny. Smile Yeah, sometimes thoughts of my books will come into my mind and that will distract me. Usually if that happens, I will jot down my thoughts in an open e-mail right quick (since I can type fast) and then just get back to work. At the end of the day, I'll e-mail myself with whatever thoughts I've collected.

I would like to publish someday but I don't have the delusions of grandeur I used to. It is next to impossible to make a living as a writer. Most authors have a full-time job and just write on the side. I feel like that is probably my lot in life.

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05-01-2017, 09:43 PM
RE: Lack of focus at work...
I'd say make a game out of it, make a bet with coworkers over how many times someone with a certain name shows up or take a shot whenever you have to type the number 5 Tongue

"If you keep trying to better yourself that's enough for me. We don't decide which hand we are dealt in life, but we make the decision to play it or fold it" - Nishi Karano Kaze
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05-01-2017, 09:45 PM
RE: Lack of focus at work...
(05-01-2017 09:36 PM)Escape Artist Wrote:  Thanks, Jenny. Smile Yeah, sometimes thoughts of my books will come into my mind and that will distract me. Usually if that happens, I will jot down my thoughts in an open e-mail right quick (since I can type fast) and then just get back to work. At the end of the day, I'll e-mail myself with whatever thoughts I've collected.

I would like to publish someday but I don't have the delusions of grandeur I used to. It is next to impossible to make a living as a writer. Most authors have a full-time job and just write on the side. I feel like that is probably my lot in life.

It is very difficult to break into the business, but don't give up on your dreams. Did you look into Amazon self publishing? I think they make it fairly easy to put your book out there and sell it on their site. We get one life, do everything you can to make your dream happen and if it doesn't, at least you'll know you gave it your all and tried. Somebody has to make it to the top and the ones who do are the ones who don't stop. I really didn't mean to make that rhyme Tongue
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05-01-2017, 09:46 PM
RE: Lack of focus at work...
(05-01-2017 09:43 PM)JDog554 Wrote:  I'd say make a game out of it, make a bet with coworkers over how many times someone with a certain name shows up or take a shot whenever you have to type the number 5 Tongue

Heh. Smile Yeah we do have some weird names that come up on our apps. Consider Maybe I could, as I'm working throughout the day, make note of the weird names and then at the end of the day, decide which one is the weirdest. Laugh out load Tongue

Making work a game like that might actually help.

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05-01-2017, 09:49 PM
RE: Lack of focus at work...
(05-01-2017 09:46 PM)Escape Artist Wrote:  
(05-01-2017 09:43 PM)JDog554 Wrote:  I'd say make a game out of it, make a bet with coworkers over how many times someone with a certain name shows up or take a shot whenever you have to type the number 5 Tongue

Heh. Smile Yeah we do have some weird names that come up on our apps. Consider Maybe I could, as I'm working throughout the day, make note of the weird names and then at the end of the day, decide which one is the weirdest. Laugh out load Tongue

Making work a game like that might actually help.

My aunt works processing payments for child support and she always finds some of the funniest names.

It's be great to see who goes through your work.

"If you keep trying to better yourself that's enough for me. We don't decide which hand we are dealt in life, but we make the decision to play it or fold it" - Nishi Karano Kaze
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05-01-2017, 09:49 PM
RE: Lack of focus at work...
(05-01-2017 09:45 PM)jennybee Wrote:  
(05-01-2017 09:36 PM)Escape Artist Wrote:  Thanks, Jenny. Smile Yeah, sometimes thoughts of my books will come into my mind and that will distract me. Usually if that happens, I will jot down my thoughts in an open e-mail right quick (since I can type fast) and then just get back to work. At the end of the day, I'll e-mail myself with whatever thoughts I've collected.

I would like to publish someday but I don't have the delusions of grandeur I used to. It is next to impossible to make a living as a writer. Most authors have a full-time job and just write on the side. I feel like that is probably my lot in life.

It is very difficult to break into the business, but don't give up on your dreams. Did you look into Amazon self publishing? I think they make it fairly easy to put your book out there and sell it on their site. We get one life, do everything you can to make your dream happen and if it doesn't, at least you'll know you gave it your all and tried. Somebody has to make it to the top and the ones who do are the ones who don't stop. I really didn't mean to make that rhyme Tongue

Yes, I've looked into self-publishing. My only New Year's resolution this year is to finish my current book and self-publish it. So it's more that I just don't expect to be able to write full time. It could happen, sure, but I am not banking on it. Which is why I would like to be better at focusing at my job.

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