15 Ways to Stay Focused With Effective Time ManagementSeomul Evans
January 16, 2009 — 2,255 views
Let's face it, there's a lot going on out there. Our economy is on the fritz and every news story tells us that one more multimillion dollar company needs a government bailout. Foreclosures are happening right and left. We have troops in harm's way, and Christmas is only a few short weeks away. And that's just the big picture! We haven't even mentioned your business and all the things that you need to keep up with on a daily basis. Here are 15 ways to keep yourself focused amid all the distraction. See what works for you!
1. Plan for Each Day. Take a few minutes every evening and plan the following day. Outline 3-5 things that you want to accomplish and stick to it.
2. Plan for Each Week. Take a few minutes on Sunday night (or the night before the first day of your workweek) and outline 3-5 things you want to accomplish during the week. Update this list every 3 days or so.
3. Get Plenty of Rest. Yes, it sounds like something your grandmother would tell you, but it makes a huge difference. You need to rest both your body and your mind in order to prepare for all the challenges you will face.
4. Get Out of the Office. At some point you, too, will be subject to the law of diminishing returns. Staying at the office until all hours becomes less productive instead of more productive, so just go home. Go home at a reasonable hour and spend time doing things you enjoy. When you clear your mind, you'll find that the solutions to the problems you've been worrying about all day just come naturally.
5. Eat Right. Yep, there's your grandmother again, but she was right. You can think better when your tummy is full, and you sleep better after you've had a big lunch and small dinner.
6. Move Around. You don't have to spend every non-working moment in the gym, but take 30-45 minutes every day, or every other day, to get some exercise. Your mind functions better when your body is stimulated. You may feel like this is unproductive time, but you owe it to your health and to a healthy state of mind to get adequate exercise.
7. Stop Reading Email. OK, don't stop altogether. But only read once per day. It can turn in to a huge time suck and people will call if they really need you. And when you do read your emails, wait to respond. Not every email needs an immediate response. Skip the ones that don't. The same goes for Twitter.
8. Turn off the Phone. Don't keep the cell phone off for the entire day, but turn it off for at least a few hours each day.
9. Work in Blocks. Don't work on any project for more than 30 minutes. That's about how long it takes for your brain to turn to mush and require alternative stimulation.
10. Take Breaks. Allow for regular breaks during the day. This gives your mind a chance to wind down and allows your subconscious to step in and examine the problems you're trying to solve. And your subconscious is much better at that stuff anyway.
11. Make a Routine. This frees your mind to focus on more important things.
12. Do Not Disturb. Set aside a chunk of time each day in which you ask family and staff not to bother you. This is also beneficial for staff as they learn to solve problems without constantly asking for your help. This makes them more valuable, and that's a good thing.
13. Ask For Help. Join an online community of peers that can give you advice and be a sounding board for you.
14. Invest in Speed. Faster computers make the work happen faster, and that leaves more time for you.
15. Blow Off a Whole Weekend. Don't read any blogs. Don't read any email. Don't answer your phone. Just be. You'll be surprised at how clear your mind becomes.