A question for you:-
How many time management courses have you attended and/or how many times have you said, “I could really do with help managing my time?”
It’s one of the most common topics that comes up when working with individuals / business owners. A desire to be more productive with the time we have available.
However, I’m here to throw a curveball. How about if I said to you, “it’s not your time you need to manage, but your focus?” There are 86,400 seconds in a day. Yes, that is right 86,400! I wonder if we are honest with ourselves, how many of those seconds we are laser focused on what we are supposed to be doing?
If you are not buying this – I urge you to think of a time when you were under serious time pressure. Maybe you needed to get a project completed by a deadline, maybe you had someone dropping into your house and you were rushing about clearing up before they came, or maybe you needed to get to an appointment and were running late.
In those moments, how focused are you? Do you allow distractions in or are you completely present to get done, what needs to be done? I wonder how much more productive you are in those moments of panic v’s other times in your day?
Back in 2015, I wrote and published an article on my LinkedIn page that discussed exactly this.
When looking for an image to accompany this article, I discovered the one below by Robin Sharma. Robin is hugely successful in the field of personal mastery – so it was nice to see a legend already thinking the same as me. 😉 For those of you not familiar with Robin. He is a writer and leadership speaker, best know for his incredible book – ‘The monk who sold his ferrari.’
Below is the majority of the original article I wrote:
As a serial magpie (every shiny thing distracts me from the task in hand!) I thought I would share a couple of top tips that really helps me manage my focus as opposed to managing my time. Like many working parents in a job or running multiple businesses like I do, often we will have several hats on in one day and focusing is what makes the time I personally have more productive.
* Being clear what I need to achieve that month, that week, that day. Write it down so I can visualise my plan and goals – what suits you? You can use a planner, paper or electronic. I love the things app, it really helps me keep on top of things I need to do and when;
* Blocking out time in your diary like you would a meeting for a specific task and stick to it;
* Avoid multitasking. Us women love it I know, but if I do this – the ‘whilst I’m here’ kicks in and the task I really needed to do gets neglected;
* Use an egg timer or other to keep you to the allocated time;
* Turn off distractions – mobile off, notifications off. Email closed and social media closed. Stay focused on the task in hand;
* Start with the most important (this is the one I have to do no matter what job!) this could be worst job, the one that is most scary, challenging, tedious or requires your complete attention. The relief you feel when it’s done makes you feel great;
* Take scheduled breaks and eat and drink water regularly. A half hour walk or a stretch of your legs in the fresh air will make you so much more productive;
* Don’t feel you need to respond to an email or message instantly. It takes you away from what you are doing. If it is urgent, they will call you! Instead schedule blocked time to respond;
* Reward yourself. If you set yourself to do something in the day/week/month – treat yourself if you achieve it!
* If like me, you get an idea in the day and feel the need to action it there and then – don’t! Have an ideas pad, write it down and then schedule time to action / execute when your priority tasks are complete;
* Limit your time on social media. Great for business but can be hugely unproductive – newsfeeds are huge time-wasters.
It has been 2 years since I ŵrote this article and it is still very much a hot topic.
So, over the course of the next 5 days I am going to build on this subject and share with you my top tips for getting super smart at managing your focus and increasing your own productivity as a result. This is based on my personal experience and will include amazing guidance I have picked up and tools I have used along the way.
Stay tuned in my Facebook group by liking and following and look out for my daily tips.
For now. Keep focused, stay tuned and let’s get productive!