It is so easy to get distracted by the unimportant and lose focus on the really important, especially when you feel already overloaded with more items on your to-do list than you can even fit in a day. How can you keep yourself from being distracted and find a way to manage it all?
Here are a few tips to help you stay focused.
First of all, turn off all distractions like email, social media and even your phone.
Then to put all your to-do items in a schedule. The reason for a schedule vs a to-do list is that items in your schedule have a beginning and an end time. If you finish as task early jump to the next small item in your schedule. You just got 2 tasks done in the time allotment for 1.
Personal Work Style
Next learn to understand your personal work style? You might be surprised that what you consider normal for you, might absolutely not work for someone else.
- Do you concentrate and work best in silence or with background music?
- Do you need to be alone or around people?
- Do you prefer to work in long blocks of time or do you find that 90 minutes is the maximum time to achieve your results?
Focus on the Task At Hand
Another way to stay hyper focused is to keep your focus on the task at hand and stay in the present and don’t think about the next item on your schedule. Your mind can focus really well on one important and a minor task at once, but not on 2 important tasks at once. That’s why multi-tasking does actually not work, even if we think we are great at it.
The 4D Method
Here is another method called the 4 Ds and was initially used by President “Ike” Eisenhower. The key is to distinguish between importance and urgency of tasks. Eisenhower’s mantra was: “What’s important is seldom urgent, and what’s urgent is seldom important.”
- Do those tasks that are important and urgent.
- Delegate tasks that are unimportant and urgent.
- Defer tasks that are important and not urgent, but make sure you assign a due date and do those personally.
- Dump tasks that are unimportant and not urgent.
Keep Track of Ideas
How do you handle all those thoughts that come floating by like clouds and distract you from your task? Keep a notebook or notepad handy. Often times they are helpful and useful ideas that come and go and are hard to capture because you are concentrating on something else. You don’t have to write down the full idea, just give it a title and write it in your notebook. Then when you are finished with your task look at the note with the title and write down the full information. This way you don’t feel pressured into making quick decisions.
Don’t forget to reward yourself for accomplishing your key goals. The reward can be a quick walk, a coffee at the local coffee shop and then you are right back into your schedule. You can even schedule your reward breaks or even daily “think time” to make your schedule, assign priorities, organize your notes of ideas and problem solving.
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