Monthly Archives: May 2013
Step 1. Start with the End in Mind
It's easy to get overwhelmed when undertaking larger projects, so start with the end in mind and work back from there. Break your Goals into clearly defined deliverables or milestones, then break those down further into the individual tasks required to achieve those. Once you have your list of tasks to be completed, make sure you schedule these into your calendar and if possible even take an immediate action now (such as book an appointment) to ensure this definitely happens!
Step 2. Your Focus needs more Focus
Multi-tasking is for computers, not humans – and especially not if you're a male (who if anything time-slice as opposed to actually multi-tasking). Specifics aside though, studies have shown that when we rapidly switch tasks during our working day, our ability to perform those tasks drops below that of the average stoner – so far as IQ points are concerned. Whereas cannibus will typically drop your IQ by 5 points, multi-tasking impacts women by an average of 10 points and men by a wopping 15 IQ points!
Step 3. Ruthlessly Eliminate Distractions
This means do whatever it takes to provide yourself with an environment that allows you to concentrate on what you're doing. Log out of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and your email. Unplug your desk phone, switch off your mobile and close out of your various chat applications (msn, skype, Google talk) – whatever your poison, lock it out of the room so you can give your undivided attention to the project at hand.
Step 4. Treat email like any other task, and schedule it.
Email will ruine your life if you let it. Take control of this by scheduling it in along with the rest of your daily activities and don't let it monopolise your time and distract you from your more important tasks.
Step 5. Pick up the Phone
If you find that an email has turned into a back-and-forth conversation, do yourself a service and pick up the phone to have a quick chat about it instead. No matter how fast you type, the continual interuptions of having to respond an email will absolutely kill your productivity.
Step 6. Plan your day, then Work your Plan
… else risk having your day run and work you instead. It's all too easy to start the day by checking your email, then frantically put out all the spot-fires this creates for you – but at the cost of finishing your day having achieved largely nothing other than an empty inbox.
When you start the day with a structured approach to getting the important things done first, then you're much more likely to actually get those things done. Always remember that it's more important to focus on the "important and not urgent" things toward achieving your bigger picture goals, then spending your day in the "important and urgent" mindset (like your typically rat racing abouty in it's wheel – lots happening, but not really going anywhere).
Step 7. Chunk your time
The human break works best if worked in blocks of time, interspursed with brief 10 minute breaks. While concentration spans vary, a good average to run by is usually 50min – 90min work periods then force yourself to get up and take a break; grab a snack or go for a walk – anything that's completely not what you were originally working on. The refresh will help you re-focus your mind and give you a quick recharge that will be directly reflected by your productivity levels that follow on from this.