How to do High Level Focused Work in The Shortest Time
This is the unquestioned truth of modern life: we are starved for time.
Time pressures are multiplying at a dizzying rate.
Distraction is at it’s peak in life and at work.
It can only get worse, not better.
According to a McKinsey Global Institute study, only 39% of an employee’s time is spent on role-specific tasks.
People spend the other 61%? slogging through email, trying to find a missing file, or syncing with co-workers without getting actual work done.
The good news is, you can do something about it.
You can control how you spend your time.
Want high levels of focused attention? Start measuring how your time leaks.
Track your daily activities for some time to clearly see where your time is being spent. Meetings, phone calls, emails, notifications, small chats, and many other distractions are constantly splitting your attention.
Record ALL your appointments, deadlines, and everything in-between. Analyse the actual time you spend on each activity with what you think is the best amount for each.
Cut back on push notifications
Push notifications are ruining my life. You don’t even have to read those messages for your mental gears to toggle off what you are focusing on.
A Deloitte study in 2016 found that people look at their phones 47 times a day on average.
Kill your notifications. Yes, really. Turn them all off.
Smartphones aren’t your problem. It’s all the buzzing and dinging, endlessly calling for your attention.
The start-stop process on projects in killing your productivity. Push notification is your greatest enemy.
Decide ahead of time how to spend your time. Block and tackle your key priorities. Schedule them in your calendar. Ignore email. Shut your office door. Turn off notifications on your phone. And get what matters most done.
It’s time to fight distractions. Create an uninterrupted, free-flowing, idea-generating, peaceful space to get work done on time.
Be proactive, not reactive
The first step to reclaiming more time from your day is to get hold of the big chunks that aren’t being put to good use.
You are probably spending most of your productive time in reactive mode. Many people are constantly responding to emails, sitting in pointless meetings and dealing with other people’s “emergencies.”
What are your personal goals? Are your daily activities and tasks advancing you closer to your life’s ultimate goal?
Which activities get you the most results? Focus on those and cut the waste.
Frequently purge the items on your to-do list that won’t deliver results.
By managing your time as you would a small business, you can cut the excess and focus on what you really find most rewarding.
Find your flow
In positive psychology, flow, also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.
When you find your rhythm and you will get those tasks done in the shortest possible time.
Spend the first hour of your workday on the one or two really important tasks you need to get done.
Harness your mental energy in the morning and put it to good use.
You are most active in the early hours of the morning, hence the need to tackle your most important tasks (MIT’s) first thing in the morning.
And do your toughest tasks first.
Mark Twain wrote, “If you eat a frog first thing in the morning that will probably be the worst thing you do all day.”
Brian Tracy turned this statement into an amazing work principal (and even wrote a book on it) — “Eat that frog!”
Set a time limit
Create a forced deadline.
Studies have shown that having a limited amount of time actually does increase the speed of your work.
Pick your most important task and set a limited time to do it.
It can be half an hour or twenty minutes or less. Start small to improve your chances of sticking with your new habit.
This can hard to do in the beginning but if you consciously focus on focusing, you can do it. Choose what works best for you. That time is solely for doing just one thing and doing it well without distraction or break.
The time limit helps sharpen your focus and increase your output.
You can use the Pomodoro technique in this process.
If you’re working on a forced tight deadline, you’re probably at an advantage when it comes to getting in the zone and finishing in the shortest time.