We all know the feeling: some days, you have too much to do and too little time. You bounce from task to task, trying to complete what you can, but you find you didn’t get nearly enough done by the end of the day. That could be because of a lack of focus.
With technology and social media, it is so easy to get distracted. For your business to run efficiently and for your team to thrive, leadership needs to set a good example with time management. Your staff notices when you are engaged, focused, and organized, and those traits can motivate your team to follow suit.
The number one killer of focus is multitasking. Numerous studies show people who multitask are more easily distracted, less productive, and make more errors than those who focus on one task at a time. If you are interrupted from your point of focus, it can take several minutes to get back to the thought process you had before the interruption. The brain isn’t designed to work on multiple tasks at once.
Monotasking—focusing on one task at a time— cuts down on mental errors while increasing productivity and creativity. The success of monotasking revolves around better time management and blocking distractions.
Listed below are some easy ways to maintain focus throughout the day and watch your productivity soar:
List your top two priorities for the day
Give the most important tasks for the day the attention they deserve by making a list of your top priorities. Then identify your top two priorities and make sure you accomplish them above all else. This way, you know what you can de-prioritize and only get to it if you find yourself with extra time.
Plan your day
People notice if you’re organized and efficient, and they definitely notice when you aren’t. Creating a daily to-do list can help keep you on track throughout the day. To manage your time better, you can use many methods to outline your day, whether you prefer paper or electronic.
Use your phone timer
Notifications can be constant, which means they can be a constant interruption, and it can be hard to get the work you need to be done—done. Setting a timer on your phone for activities you need to finish, even if it’s just 10 to 15 minutes, helps you stay fully engaged in the task at hand.
A timer creates a barrier against distractions since you know the clock is ticking. This kind of self-discipline can be contagious, especially when others see how well this works for you.
Take scheduled breaks
Research suggests we work better when we schedule breaks throughout the day. Following a work-rest cycle can keep you focused and help you avoid online temptations and distractions.
Block time in your schedule and respect the time you block. It should be sacred to you. Setting time aside for these little breaks in our day—even just five or ten minutes—on our calendar can significantly increase mood and productivity.
Use software to block social media
Turning off notifications on your computer and phone can help prevent distractions at work. To make it easy, you can use many types of software to block out sites for a specified timeframe, including Freedom, Cold Turkey, or RescueTime.
Another option is being intentional about checking notifications. Turn off all notifications from social media and other distracting apps or sites completely. That way, you only see notifications when you choose. Social media notifications will be waiting for you even if you check hours later.
Listen to music
Listening to music, nature sounds, or white noise can block outside interruptions and increase focus. Rock, electronic, or dance music can get your blood flowing and motivate you when you need extra energy to prep for a big presentation.
In the fast-paced daily world of business, bouncing from task to task has become the norm. But if you want to work better (and smarter), remember to monotask.
It’s not how much you get done that matters, but instead how well you do it. You’ll become a more focused and efficient worker, and the kind of professional people want to work with.
Amy Vetter is a CPA.CITP, CGMA is an accomplished c-suite executive and board member with deep experience in cloud technology and transformation, creating go-to- market (GTM) strategies to scale businesses nationally and internationally. Vetter has held multiple roles in Fortune 500, startup, small company rapid growth, and is a serial entrepreneur. She is well-versed in overseeing marketing, sales, customer programs, and education. Amy is also an active member of the AICPA IMTA Executive Committee where she leads the Technology Innovations Taskforce and is an AICPA CITP Champion. http://www.AmyVetter.com