Posts Tagged ‘focus’

Chunking Time

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

There are better and worse ways to divide our time and focus. Let’s say you have three big projects for the month and each one has ten components. That’s thirty little bits that need doing.

So far so good! You’ve divided a big project into smaller steps so you can feel and track your progress better. That’s a proven way to improve productivity. But if you do a tiny bit here and a tiny bit there, skipping among the projects, checking each one off the list as you get to it, it fragments your progress. This kind of approach can shatter your focus, and you’ll wear yourself out with the constant shifting of gears.

The magic is this—things get done when time is allotted for them. Every week should start with making a list of the most important things that must be done that align with the key roles, tasks, and responsibilities of your job. Then, put As, Bs, and Cs in front of each and make sure that the As are scheduled into blocked time in your calendar. If you allot 50 minutes to complete one, no matter what, make sure you are complete at that time by making sure you focus and are not interrupted. If you have a customer-facing job with tasks, make sure someone knows they are covering for you with customers and that you are in lock down.

Researchers have found that the feeling of making real progress is at or near the top in motivation—way ahead of traditional incentives like raises and bonuses. So give yourself the boost that matters most by chunking your time so you can feel that progress happening!

How to Maintain Focus During the Summer

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

The sun is shining and it’s a perfect 75 degrees outside with no clouds in sight. It’s one of those beautiful summer days.

Only you get to experience this day through your office window…

And I know exactly how you feel, especially when the summers here in Minnesota are even more coveted because of the long winters.

You could choose to let this bring you down…not working efficiently, because deep down you really want to be somewhere else…like at the cabin or the beach. But imagine that you learn to take this tantalizing day and use it in your favor?

Chances are you have a ton of stuff that you have got to get done. So why not use this beautiful day as true motivation to being efficient! With everything complete at work, you’ll be able to enjoy the summer without worry. Then, as soon as you leave the office, it’s pure relaxation time!

Learn to commit yourself to the moment you are in. If you’re with the family, be with the family. If you’re at the office, be at the office.

Learn to give your whole self to wherever you are.

Stay Focused on the Right Things

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

Admit it, we’ve all been guilty of giving the excuse, “I’m WAY too busy,” or “I don’t have time for one more thing.”

Often, if you really thought about it, you’d realize that it’s not that you have too much to do, it’s that you’re spending too much time on the things that don’t matter. You may be “focused” on too much—another way of saying you’re not focused at all.

The people who complain the most that they have too much to do are always the ones best at manufacturing work where none exists as an excuse to not do the most critical things. Like making time to sort the paper clips…

Instead, be in the highest and best use of your time constantly. Start today by doing this:

  • Make a list of everything you plan on doing today.
  • Next, go through the list and cross off anything that’s not critical. Things that don’t generate revenue, directly or indirectly, are almost certainly not critical.
  • Block times for those “big rocks”—projects that need extreme focus, and let the “sand” fill in the rest of your day.
  • Then, stick to the list!

Each of those steps is crucial. Some people make a list and think they’re done. But every day, without exception, you need to REDUCE that list as a next step. Not everything that pops into your head automatically earns a precious block of time today. Move something to tomorrow, or delegate it, or cross it off completely. Then do it again and again, making each task earn its spot, until suddenly your list is reasonable for a single day’s work.

The last step is too often forgotten. Once you make the list and refine it, stick to it! Don’t start improvising around it or allowing yourself to be distracted by shiny objects. Treat it like your one-day strategic plan.

You’ll be amazed at how much you accomplish—so get focused NOW!

Set Your Own Targets

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Ask Roxanne!

Dear Roxanne,

My manager is a very decent guy, but not much of a leader. As a result, the place is falling apart. Everyone is reverting back to high school behaviors. I want to stay the course, so I’ve been asking the boss for some position targets so I can know what I’m aiming for. He keeps saying, “You’re doing just fine,” which doesn’t help a bit. What can I do to get some clarity?—Denise E.