Most small business owners state that focus is one of their biggest daily struggles. In this episode, Jeff and Kristin discuss why we struggle with focus and how we can achieve more of it.
In a 2005 study of workplace efficiency, the average employee was able to focus on a task for just 11 minutes before becoming distracted. Once distracted, it took an average of 25 minutes to get back to the original task; sometimes, the employee never got back to that task! The most shocking stat for us: on average, we switch tasks every three to six minutes.
This explains a lot when you understand the effects of distraction.
Our brains have not evolved as quickly as technology has. As part of our survival mechanism, we were programmed to respond to stimulus. Today, there is so much stimulus that our brains get easily overwhelmed. We are also overconnected. According to David Rock, author of Your Brain At Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long, always being connected has the same impact on your IQ as not getting enough sleep or getting high.
If we are programmed to respond, then clearly, we must be doomed. Well, not really. There are things we can do in order to strengthen our focus and get more done.
Kristin is a huge fan of reflection before bed. Each night, she pulls out her journal and writes down 4 key items:
This seems like a lot, but usually, this is less than one journal page. This exercise should take about 5 minutes each night once you get the hang of it.
Each time we switch tasks, we must refocus which burns a lot of energy. This is why we get burnt out quickly when we are trying to accomplish many different things on the same day.
Each email or social media post you engage with requires you to refocus. That means you might refocus over 100 times before you even start your work in the morning burning through most of your energy. This is why we suggest avoiding email and social media until your most important task of the day is completed.
Since focusing requires a lot of energy in the form of glucose, it is important to make sure to have a healthy breakfast. Skipping breakfast will start your day with a focus deficiency.
We start each work day with a planning session using our Small Biz Daily Focus Planner (free download). This allows us to figure out our most important tasks and to plan our day. This is the first thing we do when we arrive at our desks. When planning, start your day with the tasks that require the most focus.
You are off to a great start, but distraction will tempt you throughout the day. Here are some tips for staying focused.
Creating more focus is just like learning any other skill. It takes practice and there will be times when you slide back into your old routines. Don't beat yourself up. Just try again tomorrow.
This post contains affiliate links for some of the products discussed.
(The 1st question has saved us hundreds of hours of wasted time)
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