Being able to stay focused in today’s modern world is a constant battle. Many forces are against you as you try to focus on a single task and find that you are not always winning. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to become more productive and help your employees to do the same.
Realize the Cost of Interruptions
Interruptions, whether by other people or by your own inattentiveness, are costing you money. It stretches projects into taking much longer than they normally would if you could stay focused. This reduces your profit to a fraction of what it could be otherwise. Being able to focus will not only increase your ability to get more done each day but it will also increase your profit.
Multi-tasking is not the key to success – as some people would have you believe. Experts still say that the human mind can only have one thought at a time, and dividing your attention between two or more tasks is counter-productive. A problem it creates is the time it takes to refocus each time you shift between projects.
Remove Electronic Notifications
Cellphone users often have their notifications turned on. This can create multiple notifications per hour and each one is a distraction if you respond by looking at your smartphone each time. By turning your notifications off, you can eliminate the distractions and be more productive. You also will need to avoid looking at social media – which can eat up a lot of time.
Meetings are another distraction that is often unnecessary. They usually take more time than necessary. Instead, aim to communicate the information through other means, such as emails, texts, phone, or Zoom meetings.
Tell Others You Need Uninterrupted Time
If you own a business or manage one and are frequently receiving interruptions, you need to set aside specific periods when you want to be without any interruptions – except for emergencies. If you are on a team, let your team members know that you would appreciate working without interruption for an hour or so.
Order Your Work at the Start of the Day
If you are not always sure of what needs to be done each day because it changes, as best as you can, determine the projects in the morning and put them in the order you need to tackle them. Start with the most difficult and slowly work toward the least difficult. This will let you give your greatest level of alertness and energy to the more difficult projects.
You also want to batch similar projects together. Handling emails, for instance, can be accomplished at the same time. This way, you are already mentally set to answer them and no focusing is required – except for emails that you may receive later in the day.
Always Look for Better Ways
As you work on a project, ask yourself if there is an easier or faster way to accomplish that task. Before long, you will be able to accomplish many projects that you do repeatedly in less time. Sometimes, just little changes can make a large difference in how long it takes to finish it.
How often and what you eat will determine your energy levels during the day. Eating a lot of sugary foods, or drinking specialty coffee or sodas during the day, is going to lead to occasional dips in your energy levels.
When this occurs, your ability to focus will be decreased, making you less productive. Along with eating right, regular exercise, and getting the right amount of sleep, you will increase your energy levels during the day.