One of the most consistent and relentless problems that I hear from my clients is that there is too much to do and not enough time in the day to get it done. They end their day frustrated with what they were actually able to accomplish. They have the feeling that they are always behind. They put in a full day and they are exhausted.
Here are some tips that I hope will help you if you are experiencing this and would like to get more done and have more energy at the end of the day.
Decide on what is most important
Identify your most important objectives – your key projects or tasks that have to be done. Prospecting, preparing case files – proposals etc. Pick one. Break it down into steps.
Focus on one thing at a time
The human mind is powerful when it is able to focus on one thing at a time. We can only keep one thought or one idea in our conscious mind at a time. Focusing on one thing over an extended period of time is what gives us great leverage. It is what allows us to get more done every day.
The problem is the constant interruptions that we all experience daily. The phone calls, emails, texts and other distractions. We lose focus and lose momentum and energy. The more we dissipate our focus and concentration, the more we lose our ability to focus.
The first thing to do if you want to maintain focus is to practice maintaining focus until it becomes a habit. Concentrate on one thing at a time for an extended period of time. You will get more done. The more you get done, the more you are able to get things done. You will have a new habit. This one change will dramatically change what you are able to do.
Set aside blocks of time
Schedule blocks of time in your calendar to get your most important objectives done. Set an appointment with yourself. I recommend blocks of at least 30 to 90 minutes. Work uninterrupted for this block of time.
The problem most of us have is in committing to this time block. If you had an appointment with a client that you knew would result in a substantial sale, you would show up for that appointment, not allow meaningless distractions that would interrupt your time with that client. So honor that block of time with that same dedication.
During this time know that you should ignore phone calls, email, texts and knocks on your office door. Ignore all interruptions. When you allow an interruption to eat into your time block you have to stop what you are doing and you will lose momentum.
Obviously if something comes up that is an emergency or major problem you will have to deal with it. I am not talking about that. What happens so often is that we work on a project or task, then the phone rings and that sets us off in a different direction so we didn’t get done what we needed to get done. Our time scatters and our focus leaves us and it is that much harder to get going again.
Another thing that you can do to dramatically increase you ability to focus is to take breaks. Every couple of hours take a break. Take a break of 15 – 30 minutes. You could eat a something, just relax or go for a walk. Schedule a break for yourself so that your body can relax and your mind can tune out and your emotions can recover.
When you schedule your breaks, you’ll come back much more focused and much stronger. You need to replenish yourself. It is not about the time you put in to a task or project, it is about the quality of focused time.