A Proven Technique to Get More Done in Less Time
Was your New Year’s resolution to be more organized and productive? Do you dread the start of each new workday, wondering what lies ahead? Would you like to have more control over your day? Then you need to focus.
What Happens When You Lose Focus at Work?
You become a firefighter. No, not the brave people who run into burning buildings when everyone else runs out… What YOU do is react to crisis after crisis after crisis until all you know is last-minute panic and dread. There’s a proposal due at 9 am tomorrow, and you work all through the night to complete it, hitting “send” at 8:59. You have 100 agendas to print out before a meeting 30 minutes from now, and the printer keeps jamming. The payroll is due at the same time each week, and you find yourself coming up to the wire at every payroll deadline. You see, you manage to get things done; however, not before hitting crisis mode.
You get a gold medal for procrastination. Interestingly, your procrastination will eventually lead to the above fires you constantly put out. It’s a vicious circle. You know this on some level. So why do you do it? There are many reasons why people procrastinate at work. Some examples are perfectionism, anxiety, lack of focus, fear of failure. But remember I said vicious circle. Are you procrastinating at work because you’re burned out from putting out fires? How are you meant to organize your workload if you are in crisis mode?
You use multitasking as a shield. Admit it. Saying you are a multitasker is code for “not only am I a busy person, but I’m busy doing a few things at once.” It’s time to drop the act. Gone are the days where multitasking was considered a skill. Now we know better. Not only is it impossible for you to focus on more than one task at a time, but studies have shown that multitasking can affect your memory as well as cause anxiety. Did that lapse in memory mean you forgot to print those 100 agendas until the last minute? Is that anxiety causing you to procrastinate? I’ll say it again: a vicious circle.
How Do You Break Free?
You need to focus. A good plan will help you do more in less time. Below are some steps to take to ensure you’re stepping into 2022 on the right foot.
Get comfortable with change. Be gentle with yourself and trust the process. Take each step as it comes and allow for the fact that you might be so used to firefighting, procrastinating, and multitasking that changing to a more focussed process will seem strange at first.
Get rid of distractions and multitasking. One option is to set up “focus” time in your MyAnalytics dashboard if you use Microsoft applications. This will show people on Teams and in your calendar that you are focusing and unavailable for meetings. If you are not using Microsoft, many other online apps will assist in helping you focus on the task at hand. You can find these by googling “online focus apps” and choosing the one that is the right fit for you. Many apps are free of charge, or you can pay a small fee to upgrade additional features.
Set goals and prioritise tasks. Now that you are free of distractions, how do you spend your focus time? First, you need to identify your work goals. You can break your goals down by week or quarter or even think big and come up with lifetime career goals. Once you know your goals, you can see the roadmap to where you want to go. The next thing you’ll want to do is list all the tasks you will need to complete to attain those goals. Have a good look at your list. Are some of those tasks time-sensitive? Do some seem more arduous than others? Can you delegate any of these tasks? Prioritize accordingly and make a to-do list.
Find your flow. Some call it flow. Others call it being in the zone. It’s that feeling of being perfectly focussed on one task and working on it to your best abilities. With the help of your focus app, you’re not being distracted. Working from your prioritized to-do list, you’re only working on one task at a time. The last piece of the “flow” puzzle is finding your peak hours during the day. When do you feel most energized? When do you feel creative? When do you prefer to do analytical work? Are you an early bird or a night owl? Do you hit the ground running at 9 am but fall victim to the 3 pm slump? Then schedule your most significant tasks in the morning. Do you feel most lively after lunch? Maybe that’s the perfect time to plan your sales calls. Know yourself, recognize your patterns and find your flow.
Are You Ready for 2022?
Hopefully, the above tips will help you keep your New Year’s resolution of being more productive and organized in your job. When you go through the step of writing your long-term career goals, keep RecruitmentPlus in mind. Our consultants can help you focus on the next stage of your career with their proactive approach to recruitment. Contact us today.