How to stop being pulled in 100 different directions
Ever been guilty of answering text messages during a meeting? Or checking email while you’re on a video call?
MOST OF US do it.
And if you said yes, who could blame you? Growing and scaling your business comes with a seemingly never-ending to-do list.
In our minds, it’s simply smart thinking to make the best use of our time, right?
When your company is growing fast, we’re forced to find ways to “fit it ALL in”.
But here’s something that may shock you…
On average, people who try to multitask take 50% longer to complete a single task and make 50% more errors in their work than people who stay focused.
Suddenly multitasking doesn’t sound like such a great way to get more done, does it?
But, we were brought up believing that in order to be productive we must learn to multitask to reach our goals and get things done…At least I was.
Here’s the problem with that…
When you are moving the needle on multiple projects at one time instead of focusing on making significant headway on one or two, you’re less likely to reach the goals you’ve set in the time frame you’ve set for yourself.
All those little strides you make for each project become shorter and shorter until you are now moving at a snail’s pace to reach the END result of each.
Plus, when you only focus on one or two projects at a time, it’s amazing how clear priorities become. Your mind is forced to choose which projects are most important and you can stop allowing the small stuff and “noise” derail you.
I know you’re thinking…. “But…I’m really busy!”
Trust me, I get it. Being as busy as we are, there will always be temptations pulling at our focus…
Emails, text messages, other opportunities, “do you have a minute” meeting requests, etc.
These are called distractions, and we will always have them.
The key is to limit distractions as much as possible.
Think about it this way. There are distractions within our control and there are distractions out of our control.
Here’s a few things I do that help me eliminate the distractions I CAN control:
1. Put yourself in an environment that is distraction-free. If I need to focus, I’ll turn my phone off or leave it in another room so I won’t be tempted to answer calls or texts that come in. If you have an iPhone, put it in Privacy Mode as I learned how to do last week.
I’ve also been known to close my office door so I’m not distracted by sounds or commotion going on in other rooms in the house. You know what distracts you. So make a conscious effort to remove them altogether, or remove yourself from their presence.
2. Set 3 main objectives for the day. By limiting the number of daily “goals” to 3, you’ll know exactly what your focus is and you’ll work with greater intention towards achieving those objectives.
TIP: I like to set my goals for the day the evening before, that way I know before I go to bed exactly what I’ll be focusing on the next day (this also allows my subconscious mind to work on those goals while I’m sleeping). When you wake up, work on the most difficult project first, even before calls or checking your email.
3. Give yourself a shorter time frame to accomplish things. Parkinson’s law states that “work tends to expand to fill the time we have available for its completion.”
What happens is, the more time we give ourselves to complete something, the more likely we are to fill any time remaining with distractions. Our mind is programmed to conserve energy when possible.
And speaking of mastering your time, one great tip a colleague shared with me a long time ago was a process called the Pomodoro Method.
It’s an exercise that helps train our brains to stay focused by gradually working up our concentration. The goal of this method is to strengthen one’s ability to focus for longer periods of time.
How it works…
Basically, you set a timer (start with 30 minutes and gradually work up to 45 minutes). Within that 30-minute time frame, completely focus on the task or project at hand with no interruptions or distractions. After the 30 minutes is up, allow yourself an 8-10 minute break (In a 45-minute stretch, you allow yourself a 15-minute break afterwards). Challenge yourself to work diligently on your task or project until the timer goes off, then give your mind the break to indulge on whatever distraction you’d like! Continue practicing this until it becomes a habit. Then, gradually increase your focus time from 30 min to 45 minutes.
Avoiding distractions will definitely help you increase your accuracy and ability to complete tasks and projects faster…
When you integrate some of the tips I just mentioned, you’ll be closer to focusing on what you really need to be focusing on to move the needle in your business at an accelerated pace.
Here’s what I know…People aren’t really pulled in a hundred different directions. They allow themselves to be pulled in a hundred different directions.
They know exactly what they need to do.
They just need to TAKE ACTION and change it.
To your success,