Are you a slave to your calendar? Do you always tell people ‘I’m so busy’ or ‘I’m so stressed’. You have deadlines. Things to do. Emails to deal with. People to see.
How do you manage large reports or drafting, or big jobs.? DO you start and then pause to answer the email notification you received, or the phone call that came in?
Our brains are learning to be distracted more easily, and lose focus. Modern life and the pressures of being available to answer phone calls and emails while doing other things, is not just creating the expectation that we will do these things; it is teaching our brains that we don’t have to concentrate on one thing at a time. If we stop concentrating on a task it can take up to 25 minutes to regain focus when we return to the task (Pearse and Sheehan, One Moment Please). While we think we are very clever multi-tasking, we are, in fact, taking longer to do all of those things.
If you use your calendar for your client appointments, you wouldn’t interrupt your client meeting to tell the client that you have to take a call from another client; or that you need to go to the drink machine to get a diet coke; or that your supervising partner wants you to email a document.
Get smart about your calendar and use it to block out uninterrupted time to complete those big projects. This means people will see that you are unavailable for meetings. To do this effectively:
look at what you need to do in the day, and what is most important
block out the time you need to focus on the most important task
let people know what you are doing and that you need this time (remember communication solves most problems)
Turn your phone onto silent
turn off email notifications
shut your door if necessary or go somewhere quiet where you can get on with it and not be disturbed
if needs be, ask permission to work from home and get up early and, in the words of Nike, “just do it”
I guarantee this will work for you if you focus on what you need to get done, and re-train your brain to concentrate.
And if it works for your work life, just imagine what you could achieve with your health and fitness goals.