Too many tabs open on your computer?
Thumbing through emails on your phone while you’re on a work call?
Trying to finish project A and start project C while moving project B to the next phase?
You’re a smart cookie – and you know multitasking doesn’t work.
As we explained in this earlier post, your brain can’t focus on two things simultaneously; it has to switch back and forth between the two continually. The result? You’re not able to give either your full attention.
So give your brain a break – and your productivity a boost – by stopping what you’re doing right now.
Then, use these simple steps to improve your productivity and get more done:
- Quiet the outside. Close extraneous tabs on your computer. Put away tools and materials that aren’t related to the activity at hand. If you have a door, close it. And silence distracting digital notifications. Create an optimal environment for productive work.
- Find quiet inside, too. Self-reflection, meditation, mindfulness…whatever you want to call it, finding stillness is the first step in recalibrating your focus. When you quiet both the outside and inside noise, you improve the quality of your thought processes and can dramatically improve your productivity.
- Use the MIT method. Highly efficient people don’t let their workday rule them; they take charge of their day by prioritizing a plan of attack. Before you begin your activities for the day, identify and write down your Most Important Task (MIT): the number-one, highest value task that must be completed that day. Resolve to accomplish it first – even if it’s unpleasant.
- Check in midday. Ask yourself these questions to keep your efforts focused:
- Have I accomplished my MIT? If not, revise your schedule and plan better for tomorrow.
- How am I feeling? If you’re frazzled or drained, take a quick break, grab a nutritious snack, or switch activities.
- End the workday on a positive note. Every productive day starts with careful planning, so set the stage for a successful tomorrow:
- Address urgent issues before you leave. Resolve them or defer them to tomorrow.
- Reflect on what went well, as well as what could’ve gone better. Learn what you can and vow to apply those lessons to make tomorrow better.
- Plan your MIT for the next day. Leave work with a clear understanding of what you need to accomplish the following day.
- Support your ongoing cognitive needs. To perform at their peak, your mind and body need sustainable care. Make every day a high-performance day by adopting healthy cognitive habits:
- Disconnect from electronics well before bedtime. It encourages human interaction and promotes more rejuvenating sleep.
- Schedule and guard daily “me time” to pursue your interests, spend time with family, get out in nature, or anything else that helps you recharge.
- Embrace boredom. Over time, continual distractions erode your ability to focus. Set aside a few minutes each day to simply let your mind wander.
Taking the time to quiet your mind, reflect on what needs to be accomplished, and then create a manageable plan of attack is your best strategy for getting more done each day.
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