The truth is, it’s impossible to focus.
You may have experienced this. You have a need or desire to think deeply on a subject, but interruptions from all sides keep your focus and attention at surface level. You may also find that it takes you a long time to reach that deep focus state and that you are disoriented if you come out of that deep focus from unnatural causes (like a phone ringing).
Focus is a precious gift and is hard to come by. Whether working from a home office, private office or in a busy workplace, interruptions are constant. We have trained our brains to operate on a surface-only level. In spite of overwhelming evidence, we continue to try to ‘multitask’, getting less and less done in longer amounts of time.
At the most recent National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) Conference, I attended a session by Certified Professional Organizer Debbie Rosemont entitled, “Multitasking Makes You Stupid”. Debbie led the group in an exercise where we wrote down the numbers 1-26 alternating with the letters of the alphabet.
I am really fast at writing. I thought I would “win” this contest, and in a way, I did. The time it took me to complete the task was shorter that most others in the group. But, then Debbie asked us to write down consecutively first the numbers 1-26 and then all the letters of the alphabet. When I FOCUSED and limited myself to one task at a time, I was able to write the sequence TWICE AS FAST! What!? I truly did not expect that result.
I wondered, where else am I splitting my attention in such a way that my efforts are significantly slower than if I simply focused? In sports, the difference between winning and losing is often a fraction of a second. We never even hear about the athletes that cannot focus. But what about in life? What are you missing out on? What race are you not even a part of because you are constantly training yourself to switch gears, making your efforts take twice as long? Even at your fastest you are still slow.
Research shows that the more we switch between tasks, the less we are able to focus such that we have to re-train our brains for focused work.
But, it can be done.
It starts by giving yourself time and boundaries to focus on one task at a time. That means turning off the phone, shutting off notifications, letting people know you are unavailable and giving yourself 20 minutes to get a task done.
Unfocused tasks take you twice as long OR MORE to complete. Do you really want to be working on that proposal for 3 hours? Or would you rather knock it out in 1 hour and still have time to follow up with 5 people?
The truth about staying focused is that it requires establishing intentional boundaries against distractions so that you can actually create more time in your day.
We could all use a bit more of that especially when it means we can rest and enjoy life more.
Today's blog post was written by my good friend, Jennifer Flynn, of The Business Maven. Enjoy!
What would it take to get more from your business?
For some business owners, this is a bit of a conundrum because they are often already feeling overworked and under-rewarded. Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. People often assume that business owners have more freedom than those that are in an employee situation. More often, the truth is, you don’t clock out….EVER. Your business is always on your mind. If you aren’t hustling then business isn’t coming through the door and mouths don’t get fed and roofs aren’t over head, clothes aren’t on backs …you know the story. Perhaps more accurately, ‘the story that we tell”.
Is it true?
How do you know?
What if it doesn’t have to be this way?
What if you could get more out of your business so you could get more out of your life? It’s part strategy and part mindset. You have to have a clear plan of action and a clear belief that it is possible and be willing to tell the story of the outcome you want even if it goes against the grain and is the road less traveled.
What if you had a crystal clear personal vision that was in alignment with your core values and allowed for all your hopes and dreams? Your business is the vehicle by which these hopes and dreams come true. So often we get caught in the rat race of being a human ‘doing’ vs a human ‘being’ that we forget to really live. We get so bound by the work that we fail to enjoy its fruits…or even remember they exist.
I have a personal mission to help business owners get more out of each day in their business. Your day is simply your life in miniature. How do your days look? Are you counting the blessings and the joys of the accomplishments or looking at the to-do list and feeling like you fell short?
With the right systems and structures in your business you can have more freedom, more fun AND more profit. That’s right I used ‘structure and systems’ and ‘FREEDOM’ all in the same sentence. Structure is what will provide you freedom. It is the systems that give you time and energy back so you have freedom to do more. More things that make an impact, more things that bring you joy, more things that give back to the world, more things that get you closer to your personal vision and the lifestyle you want to lead… MORE EVERYTHING!
It is always my sincerest hope that people are doing things they love to earn a living or grow a business around and that you get joy in your work days. The reality is it can’t all be work. Even for those of us who can’t tell the difference between working and playing because we love our work so much…we still need time unplugged to recharge and connect with friends and love ones.
“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.” —Lawrence Pearsall Jaacks
Everyone should enjoy that which he describes. It is my personal favorite quote.
Most often business owners simply lack the tools to get the most out of their bank of time and energy each day, week, month and year. Check out this FREE tool I created for you to master your time and productivity and harness the power of your business….so you can get more freedom to lead your life by design. If you want to take the implementation deeper, check out the free masterclass that comes with it.
I asked a lot of questions here…ponder them. Share in the comments below. What did you come up with? Where do you need the most support?
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Today's blog comes to us from from Amanda Hinman, of Hinman Holistic Health Institute. Enjoy!
Ah, the lazy days of summer!
Have you been looking forward to the relaxing mornings of summer? No morning routine of homework and rushing to get out the door for school, or maybe just knowing you get to leave the house in sandals and a tank top!
I’m in the same place and it feels good to think about having more time to relax and enjoy yourself.
But what happens when two weeks into the summer break you feel frustrated or overwhelmed? Maybe it’s because you’re tired of breaking up arguments between your kids or responding to complaints about being bored. Perhaps it’s because the chauffeuring around and unorganized routine doesn’t allow time for you to focus on your business.
I used to say to myself:
“Why is it that even when life is supposed to be easy, there’s always some issue? Is something wrong with me?
Until I figured out why I always had new problems popping up and how to eliminate them.
Years ago, I would find myself in exactly this place. I’d go to a BBQ and see a friend who’d seemed to be so content and at ease enjoying the summer with her family while also telling me about some new project she was excited about, and I’d feel…
Defeated. Frustrated. And yes…a bit envious.
I was spending my summer either chauffeuring around, breaking up arguments or feeling overwhelmed at work.
As much as I was glad to be free of the morning routine during the school year, I realized that having organization to our days was helpful in many ways too.
Have you experienced this too? It’s actually quite normal.
I share exactly why it is that they have experienced ease when perhaps you haven’t, even though life during summer is supposed to be easier.
It comes down to how you use your most precious resource: time
Even more specifically why the first 10 minutes of your morning routine sets the stage for the day ahead.
Each morning provides an opportunity to tune yourself for clarity, ease and appreciation in your day ahead. Creating a simple habit to connect with yourself and your priorities allows you to set your energy in a place that is beneficial for you and for anyone you interact with.
My favorite way to connect with myself in the morning is through journaling. For some people it happens during quiet pondering on a morning run or while enjoying a cup of coffee.
These three things provide focus on clarity for your day. Ask yourself:
After all, you can’t create different results by continuing to do the same things.
How will you choose to connect with yourself in the morning?
P.S. Enjoy time saving strategies for busy moms with my free Vibrant Child Starter Kit here.
Hi! I'm Nettie Owens, Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization and Productivity Consultant.