Being self-employed often means that I have the power to design my day and set out the tasks that I have to finish by the end of the day. However, my work also includes deadlines that I have to meet, otherwise I risk unwarranted fines and losses.
With this in mind, I have to remain focused throughout the day or risk going home with half-finished work and disappointed clients. Working online does not make it easy to stay focused. With social media buzzing with interesting stories, pictures of cute babies and puppies popping up in my news feeds, and funny memes at every corner, it is not easy to stay focused on the numerous tasks I have to accomplish each day.
If you know me at all, you know that I am a performance junkie. I have to-do lists everywhere and I live for that moment when I get to cross something off my list. It is extremely rewarding and makes working on tasks a little bit more fun.
In order to build my focus and complete more tasks everyday, I have come up with simple ways that help me stay focused throughout the day. These are tools based on articles I have read online and teachings from people who have succeeded in different areas. I believe that these measures are applicable to you, no matter what industry you are in or whatever type of work you do. Even if you are a stay at home mom, having a way to remain focused on the millions of tasks you have to accomplish everyday is super helpful.
- Tackle one thing at a time. I recently discovered one super successful business person named Todd Herman and he mentioned that multitasking is only an illusion that helps us waste more time and resources. This really resonated with me because I was addicted to multitasking and I would often go home having started working on four or five tasks, but none of them was complete. I am sure you have experienced this too. To counter this, I started working on one task at a time. I would work on it until I finished, and by evening, I would have 3 finished tasks, which is way better than the alternative.
- Set blocks of working time and break time. I found this tool while browsing a variety of entrepreneurial websites, and it has been super helpful. It is also called the block and tackle method. I usually schedule 45 minutes of work, followed by a 15 minute break. During the 45 minute block, I focus on one task, work on it continuously until I hear my timer, then stop. During my break, am allowed to reward myself by Facebooking a little, reading a nice blog post or even taking a walk for a breath of fresh air. I repeat this cycle until day’s end. This has worked wonders for improving my focus and performance.
- Write down everything you want to achieve everyday. This is one of the simplest, yet extremely effective accountability measures. Most of us fail to complete tasks because we have no one to be accountable to, except ourselves. However, in most cases there is no way to measure accountability to ourselves. When you have a to-do list that is staring at you all day, you will feel at least some pressure to accomplish the items on the list. Write the list and have it in a strategic place where you see it every time you look up. I have lists on my desktop, on my phone and on paper just next to me. This makes it easy for me to see where am falling behind or how well am doing. Imagine going to the supermarket with a shopping list that you keep on checking while you walk down the aisles, what is the likelihood that you will forget something on that list??? Zero to none. This applies to your personal, business and work goals. Write them down and keep referring to that list throughout the day, week or month.
These are simple, yet powerful ways that you can use to improve your focus and performance at work, at home or even at school. I especially love the block and tackle method.
What tricks do you use to improve your performance?? Share in the comment sections below.