One of the tragedies of modern life is the way it fragments our attention. We are almost never completely present in anything we do. There are a dozen things on our minds and a bevy of blinking and beeping devices to make sure we stay frazzled and fractured. We bring work home with us, and we bring the concerns of home to work. As a result, everything suffers. Nothing gets our full attention.
Make a pledge to turn that around.
First and foremost, make a pledge to fully show up wherever you are. When you’re at work, be at work—100 percent. When you’re at home, be at home. Both work and home will benefit from your full attention. Schedule “free days” where you do not think about work. You need that restorative time so that you “focus days” at work can create powerful results with limited time.
At work—turn off the cell phone and don’t turn it back on again until after work. Studies show that people who have their cell phones on are 40 percent less productive than those who turn them off.
And when at work—work. Complaining to your teammates that you’re overwhelmed is not work. Stopping to chat with your neighbor is not work. Often people who are overwhelmed are just not focused. Put in a solid day’s work and then go home relaxed knowing you were powerfully productive.
And set definite limits on work done at home. Sometimes bringing work home is unavoidable. But when it becomes a norm to work through the evening, you are sapping your energy and reducing your productivity.
Finally, share your planned limits with those around you. If you’ve decided not to work after 7 pm, tell your spouse and the kids. They’ll hold you to it! It will force you to be more productive prior to that time.