This technique will help you stay focused, avoid distractions, and achieve better results during your work day.
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Have you ever started the day with the best intentions of getting things done and wondering what happened to your productivity in the middle of the afternoon? Solving small and persistent problems as they arise and dealing with emails and phone calls can easily derail you, says Peter Bregman, author of 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done. , master the distraction and do the right things).
“With all of our technology it’s too easy to get distracted,” he says. “In fact, we generally welcome distractions because they give us a break from work that requires effort and energy.”
The secret to effectively managing distractions, as well as your time, is creating a ritual, says Bregman. “It needs to be a process that we follow (no matter what happens) and that keeps us focused on our priorities throughout the day.”
This is your 18 minute daily ritual to focus and increase productivity. Take note:
Step 1: Plan (5 minutes)
Before starting your day or checking your e-mail , sit down with a blank sheet of paper and write down the tasks that will make that work day successful. Then take your calendar and schedule those things at certain times, Bregman recommends.
“There is too much power in deciding when you will do something,” he says. Put the most difficult and important activities earlier in the day when distractions are least and you are most focused. If your entire list doesn’t fit on your calendar, prioritize your to-dos and reschedule again ”.
Step 2: Refocus (one minute every business hour)
Set an alarm on your cell phone or computer to go off every hour during your work day. When it kicks in, ask yourself if you used the last hour productively. Bregman says this ritual will help get you back on the right track when you got distracted or separated from him.
Step 3: Review (5 minutes)
At the end of your day, review what worked, what you put the most focus on, and when you got distracted. “Did you get what you wanted to get?” says Bregman. “If not, what can you do better tomorrow?”
For example, if you did a lot of things in the morning but found it too hard to focus on in the afternoon, consider scheduling work that requires concentration (like doing marketing campaigns or sales reports) as early as possible. Leave other tasks like checking your emails or monitoring statistics for the afternoon.