The key to productivity is focus. If you can completely eliminate distractions, it’s amazing what you can get done. But the truth is that the most common sources of distraction still need to be dealt with at some point. So how do you do both? First, focus and handle all of the distractions in your business.
Why Focused Work Is Impossible
Distractions include checking your email, calling the doctor, checking Instagram, texting your friend back, and so much more. Each task only takes a few minutes, but when you attend to them constantly throughout the day, you end up constantly distracted. As a result, you never have the chance to do deep, focused work and be truly productive.
According to a study from the University of California Irvine, it takes over 23 minutes to refocus after a distraction. And for most of us, we probably will get distracted again at some point within that 23 minutes, right?
Schedule “Power Hour” Time Daily
The solution is to schedule time to attend to all possible distractions and random tasks. However, they still need to get done, and if you group them all into one chunk of time — “Power Hour” — then you can handle them all at once and work distraction-free for the rest of your day.
The amount of “Power Hours” you need depends on the kind of work you do. As a life coach, I’m usually fine with one 30 minute “Power Hour” scheduled each day. However, if you have a large number of emails and phone calls to attend to, you may need a much larger chunk of time, or one in the morning and one before you sign off for the day.
Deep, Focused Work
With Power Hour times scheduled to handle all of the little tasks that pop up, it’s time to eliminate possible sources of distraction and get to work. So here are some tips for doing deep, focused work:
- All computer windows should be closed except for the ones necessary for the single task you’re working on.
- Silence your cell phone and all possible notifications.
- Tell friends or family that you are unavailable during all working hours except for Power Hour if necessary.
I’m not going to lie; this is super uncomfortable at first. You’re probably used to being reachable 24 hours a day. But the upside is worth the initial discomfort. This one tip has allowed me to work fewer hours and get more done, which means I earn more money (that’s the entrepreneur’s dream, right?).
When the urge hits to check in on your usual distractions, remind yourself that there is already a specific time set aside to handle everything that needs to be handled.
Focus Takes Practice
I like to imagine that I have a ‘focus muscle’ (others might call this their brain). Without intentional effort, that muscle is weak. So you need to work out your focus muscle for it to get stronger.
By scheduling Power Hour times throughout the day, you can give your brain a break from focus and deal with all of life’s distractions. Then it’s back to doing that deep, focused work that will truly move the needle in your business.
In a Nutshell…
You’re not being as productive as you could be if you’re allowing yourself to be distracted throughout the day. So schedule Power Hour times to handle distractions and random tasks that pop up, then work distraction-free for the rest of your day.
Yes, it’s that simple. But almost no one does this because simple doesn’t mean easy. Try scheduling Power Hour for tomorrow, and then start working out your focus muscle. If you’re like me, you might get more done in one day than you thought possible!
About the Author: Christine Lynn is a certified life coach and productivity specialist. She works with female entrepreneurs to help them finally achieve their biggest goals. Get her free 50 Journal Prompts for Entrepreneurs guide here.