You begin with a plan for what you want to accomplish for the day. However, halfway through your workday your plan gets changed due to some conflicting priority or distraction, like being called into an ad hoc meeting that lasts for 90 minutes and distracts you from your priorities.
One reason some get caught in what I call a “distraction loop” is because intentions and focus are not aligned. For example, many have good intentions to exercise but don’t follow through. The reason is a lack of focus on the goal and not having clearly defined objectives and motivation. Without focus we can be easily distracted and find acceptable reasons why we believe we don’t have time to exercise.
Many of us get distracted each day at work and we lose our focus.
Being focused is being clear on the task we’re committed to complete. When we’re not focused we’re more easily distracted by others’ priorities and easier work, and get pulled into spending time on tasks that aren’t core to our focused objective.
When we’re not focused, we’re at increased risk of feeling like we’re busy but end up not being that productive. It’s often due to getting caught up in touching a lot of different things and moving from task to task, which distracts us from focusing on our most important functions. We end up feeling like we’re constantly behind.
Though the idea of multi-tasking sounds good in theory, it’s rarely ever really effective, because when we move quickly from task to task without focus the quality of work suffers.
If you feel like you’re jumping around and on a roller coaster every day, your productivity and efficiency are at risk, often because of a lack of focus. If you determine you’re lacking focus, take charge of what you can control.
There’s so much information coming at us in the form of e-mail and texts that it’s not hard to get distracted. One way to take charge of focus is to accept what we can control. By finding quiet private space, turning off notifications and not checking e-mail, we lower the likelihood of becoming distracted.
One of the benefits of becoming more focused on one task at a time is our brain becomes more tuned in and we’re more able to learn and master a task. In time, we’re able to complete the task faster, with higher quality than if we’re constantly rushing. Learning to slow down and focus on one thing at a time can reduce stress and increase our sense of accomplishment.
There’s a lot to be said for the adage, “less is more.” Being focused can increase our sense of accomplishment. However, it requires picking what’s important each day, focusing on it, and not allowing ourselves to be distracted.
One key for being focused is anticipating distraction. Be clear on why what you’re doing is important and what success looks like, and have a plan to complete the task. It can take time to learn before you can do. One problem many people have is they lack patience and focus to understand that they need to learn before they can do. Learning to ride a bike can be painful, but once mastered there’s little to think about other than enjoying the ride.
Learning how to increase focus begins with a decision, and like a muscle it requires time to develop.
- Prepare for asks – Before saying yes to a task, determine who really needs to do it. Can someone else do it? Can it be outsourced? Does it really need to be done now? Why? It’s okay to tell people you can’t do something at this moment because you’re focused on completing a task and now is not a good time. And then allow the other party to respond. We all need to be flexible and sometimes change our focus; however, it doesn’t need to be automatic.
- Leverage your subconscious mind – As you learn to focus on important tasks one at a time, your subconscious mind will also learn, which will allow you to complete similar tasks faster. By slowing down, focusing and learning you set yourself up to move faster, with more effectiveness and efficiency.
This article was written by Bill Howatt, who is the President of Howatt HR Consulting.
In a survey of business professionals, when asked they consistently feel they waste approximately 2 hours a day, which translates to 10 hours a week, etc. Let’s not focus on how much time is actually wasted as the focus needs to be on what you can do with the wasted time to generate even more money, work less, or do other things you really want to do.
Use a time log to help you know where you are actually spending your time during the day. Periodically use this time log for a 2-week period of time to help you continue to be time efficient. This tool can be utilized by everyone on your team at the same time. Talk about what you realized at the end of the 2 weeks and how you can get even better with managing time.
Think about it for a minute. When you track what you eat, you watch more of what you put in your mouth as it has to go on a food log that someone else will be reviewing and helping you be better at nutrition. The same works when you apply it to your valuable time. You think twice about doing activities that aren’t moving you forward because you have to write them down.
To download my complimentary Time Log Exercise and help you and your team members be even more time efficient, so you are in a higher probability position to achieve your goals, go to: https://www.accountabilitycoach.com/time-log/. Simple instructions come with the exercise to help you know how to complete it.
Do you feel like your business has plateaued or you are sick and tired of being sick and tired? Could it use a shot in the arm to make even more progress on your goals? Consider working with The Accountability Coach. I’m here to help you accelerate your results, so you can enjoy your ideal business and ideal life! Reach out today for your complimentary consultation.
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