In 2001 a friend of mine wrote me via IM one sentence which remains in my memory up to now. It was about 1am and he wrote:
I've done nothing constructive for the last 30 minutes. I'm going to bed.
He lost his focus. He was tired and started to procrastinate. He was my mentor in the terms of Getting Things Done.
I was a student that times. For me it was rather normal to work until falling asleep on the keyboard. I just couldn't tell myself "enough, go to bed".. That's why that sentence was so important for me.
I find Pomodoro technique very helpful when having problems with concentrating or my plate is totally full. Just find your way through pomidori and after full set of 4 go outside for 15-30 mins. That really helps.
Limit your WIP
That is taken from Kanban. I wouldn't be able to use Pomodoro having couple of tasks running together. If I want to be efficient I have to remove any context switching and work only on one task at a time. Kanban or Scrum ensures that I can focus on one particular job.
Using XFCE I can easily remove almost all distractors simply by pressing F11. That gives me fullscreen mode of current window hiding any blinking icons in the system bar.
Also I removed any focus - stealing apps etc (e.g. Skype tried to get my focus when receiving new message etc).
Finally I learned to check all notifiers every single pomidori starts. So this is the time I look at the calendar, e-mail, Skype and so on. Then I just put down to the Workflowy list of micro - tasks for this day (reply e-mail, schedule meeting etc) and go on with the main job. So I can use one of the pomidoris just for dealing with those micro - jobs (it's great after lunch when feeling sleepy).
I also removed any notifications and LED blinking from all my cell - phones. This was quite a huge time - saver. Even after work I just don't have this feeling of checking that blinking LED. I just check my private e-mail like 5 times a day. It's enough.
Some time ago I felt like social networks were taking control over me. Having Facebook app in the phone just made me poke around it almost unconsciously / automatically. So instead of reading something valuable (like RSSes or Kindle) I simply burnt my time on some bullshit. So I just removed all those apps from my phone. It was fucking genius. No more bullshit, distracting myself etc. Time saved - profit.
Just buy yourself good head / earphones and use Spotify / Deezer. Working in an open - space (or similiar) area is sometimes fatiguing.
Yup - with the ability to focus on my job I simply win my time. And that gives me oppurtunity to do a lot more. Great win for anyone that is interested in almost all field of life ;)
But.. truly to be winners we have to practice all the time. Loosing focus is very easy and kinda natural. So we have to control it. Good luck :)