Boost Your Productivity in 3 Quick Steps

Productviity Clock from Stress ExpressDistractions are Everywhere; Productivity Suffers

In screaming color, moving fast, making noise, distractions fly across your computer screen, your phone, your office such that it’s tough to concentrate and maximize your productivity.  In fact, new research from the book, Hyperfocus by Chris Bailey, says most people focus on one thing for 40 seconds and get distracted.  Then it takes you 50% longer to get back to work and between 25-27 minutes to return to thoughtful concentration.

So how do you turn off the distractions and amp up productivity?

  1. Psychologist Larry Rosen says most of us check our phones every 15 minutes. Change your settings on your phone so that everything is grayscale.  The phone is much less distracting without color and movement happening.  Also- when you really need to focus, turn off your phone completely and turn off any alerts on your computer.  60-90 minutes of uninterrupted work means you are getting things done. Productivity goes up!

The internet can hurt your productivity

2. Disconnect at night- say between 8 pm and whenever you wake up.  Turn your phone off or put in airplane mode.  You will focus more on your family and loved ones, and you will sleep better without the blue light wreaking havoc with your brain.

3. Track your time for a whole week.  Record somehow- whether using an app or a timesheet for every 10 minutes of every day.  You’ll probably discover you’re spending way too much time on social media and not nearly enough time with your loved ones.  One woman discovered she spent much too much time cleaning her house and got an automated vacuum. Really study your sheet at the end of the week.  Are you doing what you want to do in your day?  What could you eliminate to boost your productivity and also have more time for fun?

Focus means letting go of distractions. It requires awareness, discipline and choice.  Years ago, Barbara Sher had a phrase that I love: “I’m choosing between the best and the best in my life.”  So not choosing between the bad and the good, or the good and the better, but the best and the best.  You can make the same choice.

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Overwhelmed? How to Regain Focus

Do You Have Cognitive Overload?

“Information overload is a symptom of our desire to not focus on what’s important. It is a choice.” Brian Solis receive so much data that we can barely comprehend all that is coming into our minds. Right now, you may be thinking about your next meeting, responding to a text, planning your tweets for the day and answering a call. Whew- no wonder we have information overload. Our brains are overwhelmed with all the distractions.

A recent Stanford study found that those who spend lots of time on social media, surfing the Internet and multi-tasking had poor cognitive skills. They could not distinguish well between what was important and what was trivial. “They are suckers for irrelevancy.”

How to Regain  Focus:

In his book, Search Inside Yourself. Chade-Meng Tan of Google, shares some keys to regaining cognitive clarity.

Monitor what you read and how you do it– If you find your mind wandering while reading, bring your attention back to what you are doing. Keep practicing this skill.

Use active listening Have someone speak for 3 minutes and you listen, Then repeat back to the person with the preface ” What you said is important. Do you mind if I repeat it back to see if I have it right?” (People LOVE this- they love to be heard.)

A few tips from me:

Do 1 thing at a time. That’s it. One thing and do it well and complete it. Take satisfaction and then move on to the next one thing. Your focus will improve. Multi-tasking is terrible for your brain.

• Go tech free for a day this weekend. Lots of research show the value of this. It’s like rebooting your brain.

• Get quiet and go outside in nature.  Life becomes much simpler away from the office and computer.

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