In a recent study at the British Institute of Psychiatry, they found that checking emails simultaneously with working on another duty lowers your IQ 10 points! This is equal to losing 36 hours of sleep.
I found that my distractions were limitless. Many of them are hard to avoid in a digital world, especially since it is “my job” to stay on top of the latest digital trends. I was surfing information websites, sending emails, instant messaging, doing business research, making phone calls…on top of my work.
While trying to do multiple things at once, it would take me longer to do everything than if I had focused on one at a time. I knew that if I continued to do this, nothing would ever get done, and I was only going to have more distractions as my business grew.
Lack of focus can also keep a business from profiting at the end of the day if this becomes a habit. So I decided to look into what causes lack of focus and incorporate some simple habits to make a shift.
I started by taking a good look at the average day. It was frustrating and a bit frightening because of the amount of things I had to do. My TO-DO list was endless.
Try mentally reviewing your own personal distractions. It just may turn out to be as great as mine. If you have trouble focusing, try these tactics which have helped me.
I use Trello to keep track of EVERYTHING. All business and personal tasks. If it pops in my head, starts to distract me, is something that needs to get done today, next week or even whenever… it goes onto my Trello. This has cleared my head like I never thought possible. I freed up brain space to think. Trello also allows me to prioritize. I’m not perfect, but it’s a huge improvement.
When a particular task seems uninteresting, separate them into small “bite size” pieces, to avoid the mind straying. Things we find interesting are easy to focus on, but for me it’s the mundane tasks which seem to take forever. I like to chunk tasks, such as doing phone calls or emails together. This helps me focus on one “type” of activity. Switching between creative and strategic tasks is much harder. Again, I use Trello to help me do this.
I sometimes move to a place where I can concentrate fully. Sometimes it means leaving my desk and working elsewhere, which usually helps me get more done than I would have otherwise. I am much more effective at the end of the business day.
When I play instrumental music without vocals or white noise, I can maintain greater focus on my mundane business tasks. Add some sound to your environment, such as white noise with www.moodturn.com or the sounds of a cafe with www.coffitivity.com.
I generally take frequent short breaks during the day to stretch, walk, play with my cats, or make some tea. I also schedule in time for exercise. This will usually clear my head AND allow me to get unstuck on ideas. In order to be effective as a business owner you and to maintain this razor sharp focus, you need this type of balance. On busy days I schedule it in.
TAKE ACTION: Start to incorporate these techniques to make a small improvement. Over time, they will add up to a big change = more focus on profits and less stress!
I’m not perfect at utilizing these tips, but even a slight improvement to gain back 15 minutes can add up — especially if you that time to focus on your fastest route to income.
Think about where your main distractions or “time thieves” comes from. Try to disconnect from all of these diversions, by turning of the cell phone, avoiding web surfing, etc— just for a block of time to start. Try to divide your business tasks into thirty minute sections at a time, then extend it to one hour, then two hours and so forth.
Keep track of these accomplishments and it will eventually become a seamless habit that you do naturally. You will definitely see an increase in your profits as you master this crucial skill of focus.
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