This article comes from Entrepreneur.
Where we place our attention determines what gets done. In most instances, we know what we need to do. We even know how to do it. So, where do we fall short?
It’s possible to manage distractions to ensure our attention is placed on the right things at the right time so that we are effective and productive. Here are five strategies to improve focus and get the important things done.
At the start of each day, spend five minutes creating a plan. Review your goals and approaching deadlines. Identify the 1-3 tasks that must receive your attention today. Write them on a notecard and keep this front and center throughout the day.
Create an environment that makes it easy to stay focused. Gather everything you need, including water or coffee. Set office hours so that you are not interrupted. If possible, close your door or move to a conference room.
Minimize as many distractions as possible – set your phone to Do Not Disturb, close all unnecessary browsers and chat programs on your computer, and consider using noise reduction headphones. Keep a notebook handy to jot down any interrupting thoughts, worries, or tasks so that you are not tempted to act upon them.
We tend to lose focus over time. Studies show that our concentration begins to decline after about 90 minutes of focused work. Building in short restorative breaks throughout your workday improves your overall performance. It gives your brain a chance to rest and recharge. A five-minute walk, meditation or conversation with a friend is all that is necessary to refuel.
Become aware of your natural energy cycle and use this information to your advantage. Schedule your most challenging tasks for the times during the day when your energy levels are high. For most, this is the first thing in the morning. Use the periods when your energy level is lower to accomplish busy work such as filing, scheduling or returning phone calls.
With thoughtful planning, you can design your day in a way that will maximize your time and energy to deliver meaningful results. Happy planning!
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