If you are typical, you are very BUSY all day. But much of that busy-ness is unfocused, personal, or simply wasting time. An average person may only spend 2-3 hours per day on productive work on a regular basis. Did you know that an extra 20 minutes of productive time per day would mean an extra 10 work days on an annual basis? An extra hour per day adds 6 work weeks to your year! Could 6 weeks of productive time make a difference to your business? If so, pay attention.
Here is a simple formula that I borrowed from Paul Lemberg, a brilliant coach, speaker and friend. You can check our his terrific video presentation at http://PaulLemberg.com/blog And you can follow some easy steps here.
- What is your natural rhythm? Are you a morning type who works best at 5am? Or are you a night owl who enjoys working at midnight? A name for this rhythm is “Chronotype”. This is one of those characteristics that you may as well embrace. Choose to work when your body is alert and you will be more productive.
- Heighten your awareness of what you are currently doing with your time. The first step to any shift is awareness. If you are serious about gaining productivity, then commit to a simple process. Keep a log of where you are spending your time using 15 minute segments. This may be an annoying process, but it you will do it for 2 weeks, you will make discoveries about yourself, that can change your life.
- Create a personal energy map. Throughout the day you notice that there are times you are very creative and energetic, while other times your energy is low. Score yourself on energy and creativity using a scale of 1-5 in 30 minute segments. You will begin to see patterns. If you then schedule your productive time while you are at your best, you will find you accomplish more.
- Use time blocks. To be most productive, you need to work in concentrated segments of time. Choose time segments that work best for you from 26 to 45 minutes. Focus on a single task without interruption. Set a timer to keep track of the time. When the timer signals, stop what you are doing and take a break. Stretch, check the phone or email if you need to, and get some air.
- Eliminate distractions during your focus time. Phones and email are natural distractions. Curiosity pulls you to see who the email came from. And phones create a Pavlovian response. It rings, you answer. Then add text messages, IM’s and computer reminders, and you begin to realize why focus is so difficult. Since you are working in a defined block of time – simply turn it all off, just for that little bit of time. Are you willing to give yourself that gift of focus?
Using these simple techniques, you just might write your book (as Paul Lemberg did) or launch a new product or create a new marketing campaign. Business success can be much simpler if you give yourself the gift of focus!