Did you know the average person spends 2.1 hours in distraction every day? 2.1 hours!! And that every 11 minutes, we get distracted at work by e-mail, Facebook, texting etc? And were you aware that it takes 25 minutes for each of us to refocus our minds and get back to the task at hand after we’ve been pulled off?
It’s no wonder many times we feel like we aren’t getting anything done or can’t get traction on a project, report or idea…because we can’t…we’re distracted.
I have found this in my own business, constantly checking e-mail to see what just came in, or checking Twitter or Facebook and losing an hour and a half looking at various blogs and websites. It’s not that Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites aren’t helpful or interesting, they certainly are, and they have their usefulness, but not when they get in the way of staying focused on doing business. In a world full of distraction, it’s so important to stay focused in our businesses and organizations so we can innovate and implement.
I hear from clients all the time, “I really wish I could be more efficient”, or “Gee, I can’t seem to stay focused on anything’, or “I’ve been trying to get to that idea for months”. We now live in a culture where our brains are constantly on the go, there is little if no downtime for us to just be.
There are however, things we can do for ourselves that help us increase our productivity, stay focused and feel more in control of our work lives.
1-Work in 90 minute cycles
New research has shown that working in 90 minute cycles increases productivity. When you schedule your day (preferable the night before), schedule several 90 minute increments when you can focus on one task or project. Turn off your e-mail, Facebook, Twitter etc. set an alarm for 90 minutes and work uninterrupted until the alarm goes off. When the 90 minutes are up, take a quick break, go for a walk, or get a drink of water.
2-Make ONE to do list
This is from David Allen bestseller, Getting Things Done. Make one to-do list putting everything you need to get done for the day on it. This includes things from your work and personal life. Make sure you schedule your most difficult or important tasks during the time of day when you are at your best. If you are a morning person, schedule them in the morning, if you are an evening person, schedule them then.
3-Get enough sleep
It’s a fairly well known fact that Americans do not get enough sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, it can greatly impact your productivity. If you are someone who doesn’t get enough sleep, try this experiment. For two weeks, schedule yourself for eight hours of sleep a night. At the end of two weeks assess: how you feel, what you’ve accomplished and your overall general well-being. Do you notice a significant difference?
4-Schedule periods of unstimulated time
I have a client who last weekend decided to turn off all electronics for the whole weekend. No I-Phone, I-Pad, TV-nothing. This is a guy who is constantly “plugged in”. He spent the weekend doing things with his family, exercising and reading, and relaxing. He reported by Monday, he felt so much more refreshed, relaxed and really ready to return to work. It’s important to schedule unstimulated time during the day or week. Try it-you may be surprised how it positively impacts your productivity.
5-Move your body
Find some time everyday to move your body. Workouts at a gym, walking at lunch, walking or riding your bike to work, meditating, or just doing some stretches before going to bed. Anything that gets you to move your body everyday will help improve your productivity.
The best news about productivity is, we are in total control of influencing whether we are increasing our decreasing our productivity. I invite you to try these five tips for the next couple of weeks and see if it makes a difference in your business! If you’d like some help and support in your efforts, feel free to contact me at 207-653-6977 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary session.