"I could get way more done if I could just focus”.
Does this sound like you?
Most of us goes through periods where we just can’t concentrate. Here’s 4 hacks to help you focus and become more productive...
Listen to your circadian rhythm
We all want super-human concentration, but staying focused every hour of the day is pretty unrealistic.
Our bodies naturally go through peaks and troughs throughout the day. This is known as our ‘circadian rhythm’ and for most people, there is a natural dip in energy at around 1-3pm, although this varies from person to person.
While there isn’t a lot you can do to fight off this natural energy dip, you can plan around it. Entrepreneur Michael Ugor, recommends getting to know when your energy troughs happen, and filling them with smaller tasks...
“Plan your work for your best times and less important stuff (check your email, Facebook or make a coffee) for when you have energy lows.”
“The practice of mindfulness teaches us to become aware of our thoughts and the present moment. It is a habit we need to nurture because our natural tendency is to stray from the here and how to tomorrow, next week or next month. When we practice mindfulness we keep calling back our wandering mind to rest on the current moment.”
Try spending 5-10 minutes a day focusing on what is happening right in that moment. Listen to the sounds around you focus on your breathing and don’t let your mind wander onto anything that doesn’t affect you in that exact moment.
The more you practise mindful meditation, the easier it will become to pull your focus back to what you’re working on when you start to get distracted.
Plan your day (and your breaks) meticulously
Most of us have to do lists and a rough idea of how we’re going to tackle them at the beginning of the day. But if you’re not planning your day in detail, you’re more likely to waste time and go off track.
Cofounder of Gentlemint, Glen Stansberry, believes planning your day in detail could stop you being lazy...
“If you’re finding sporadic periods of laziness throughout the day, it could be because you don’t take enough breaks, and you don’t have the day mapped out as efficiently as you could. Make sure your list of todos has lots of small, actionable steps that can be done quickly. This will gives a really satisfying feeling when you’re crossing things off your list like crazy.”
Make sure you break down your tasks and allocate time to them each day. And don’t forget to plan times for breaks to refresh your mind and retain your focus.
Go off the grid
I’d like to tell you that you can stay focused while having a laugh with colleagues or helping someone out, but sometimes you need to go off the grid completely to get things done.
While you don’t want to cut yourself off from your coworkers too much, sometimes you need to set boundaries when you have something important to get through. Turn off your email, get out of the office and tell your coworkers not to bother you (unless it’s super urgent).
Byron Alley of the Beginner Business blog goes off the grid 3 days a week, and has done since 2004…
“When I first started doing this in 2004 I was amazed at how it affected my life and productivity. I was happier and got more done. It’s not something you can implement at all stages in your life, and it’s not the right option for all job descriptions. There have been years where I have only been able to implement OTG days on occasion. But if you’re a professional who regularly creates things–such as an engineer, a writer, a programmer, or a visual artist–or if you’re an entrepreneur or high level manager who can make and enforce a schedule like this; then this may be a revolutionary step in happiness and effectiveness.”
What do you do when you really need to buckle down and focus?!
title: "You’re Not Productive, You’re Just Busy" date: "2013-10-07" categories:
- "productivity-hacks" tags:
Looking back at yesterday’s calendar, you had a busy day. Lots of meetings and emails, right? But just how productive were you? I’ll bet you still have the same important things on your to do list that were there yesterday. What just happened?
The Difference Between Productive And Busy
Some productivity gurus say you should break up all major projects into smaller tasks, so that you feel more productive when you cross those off your list. But if your to do list never gets smaller, then your major projects never get done. You’re just busy, not productive.
Busyness is Bad For Business
There’s a reason that it’s called “busy-work” or as Christel Quek , who leads social business for Samsung Asia, calls it “busyness”.
Constantly filling your day with simple and easy-to-do tasks, rather than having set goals or milestones to track can make you feel accomplished without achieving much. To be productive, you need to measure your tasks against those goals. Are you getting closer to reaching targets with each task you finish or remaining completely stagnant with menial work continuously piling up?
If the answer is no and your targets are just as far as they were last month, then you’re not only wasting time, but also money. Stop finding ways to keep “busy” and only do work that contributes to moving that needle.
As Quek put it poignantly: focus on having more life in your years, rather than just having more years in your life. Similarly, aim for more accomplishments at work rather than just more work accomplished.
3 Ways To Move From Busy To Productive
Becoming productive, instead of busy, requires certain actions. Use these three business hacks and see how much more productive you can be:
Figure out what MUST be done today, and tie it to a business goal, like customer acquisition or revenue targets
Skip the multi-tasking and focus on a single task to complete. (aka “Follow One Course Until Successful”)
Start a productivity journal. It’s a good way to recognize what you’re doing, as it’s there staring you in the face. It’s also a good analysis tool, letting you see what you do well, and what you need to change.
Being more productive takes a conscious effort on your part. Once you’ve decided to eliminate the busyness and get down to real work, you’ll see a big improvement in your business, and as a bonus, life in general. And who wouldn’t want that?
**What’s your favorite productivity or workplace hack for getting more done? **