Focus for Results by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

Today’s world is full of distractions. On an average day, we are constantly bombarded with input, from text and email messages, phone calls, social media notifications, and face to face interactions. Each of these distractions can be valuable to our lives, but it is critical to learn how to turn them off and focus on the task at hand.  Here are some of the benefits you’ll see from enhancing your focus.

  1. Greater productivity. It is estimated that distractions like texts, social media, etc. can eat up 10% of our day, even when we are focused on other things. Ten percent more time in your workday is like adding an extra 50 minutes to your day. Think of how much more you could get done if you got back 50 minutes.
  1. More timely effort. Are you often late finishing projects and reports? Learning to focus more acutely can help you to get things done on time.
  1. More leisure time. When you focus, you can finish your day more quickly, giving you better balance between work and home.

How to Minimize Distractions

When we find ourselves not getting things done, we often turn to new systems or programs to help us. But, at the end of the day we all have the same number of hours. Deciding up front how we will use those hours and sticking to the plan is what keeps us productive and prevents distractions from getting in the way. Here are three ways to help make a plan and stick to it.

  1. Prioritize what needs to be done. Write down your tasks and categorize them as “must do”, “need to do” or “nice to do”. It’s best to do this at the end of the day for the next day.
  1. Carve out time on your calendar. Book time on your calendar for the tasks that must get done. Then, move on to the tasks that need to get done. If there’s time left, do some of the “nice to do” things. Don’t forget to schedule a little time for unexpected situations that will arise, but don’t give these too much time.
  1. Stick to it. Making the schedule is easy; sticking to it is harder. But, once you get into the routine, you’ll find that living by your calendar helps keep you on task, and having a set amount of time to get through those tasks helps you to push off the distractions that beg for your time.

Focus is a habit. As you work on it, focus does become easier. And, as you see the rewards that come with finishing what you start, and going home on time, you’ll be even more dedicated to moving those distractions off to the side.