Is it true that attention spans are getting shorter?
Maybe not, but the sheer volume of information we’re getting saturated with every day only adds to the competition for space in our heads.
I recently read a report that stated the average worker is spending around 13 hours per week on emails, check out the research here.
So if email is the enemy then apps such as Slack must be answer, or do they simply shift the problem from one application to another?
I have the luxury of working from home most of the time and this has taught me something critically important, only use tools that are effective in reducing the amount of distractions, not adding to them.
I use a number of technologies to help me, Slack, sourceit, Zoom, Skype, Monday.com and a few others, the key is they help me stay focused and in control.
Here’s are 4 tips to help you get more work done by being focused:
1. Get your priorities in place, start the day with a clear plan
I need to have a plan in place before I start my day, it’s the key to ensuring I can be focused and get done what I need to.
I find a logical order to my tasks and because I start work very early in the morning I set one or two simple tasks to get the day underway. These are quick and easy tasks I can tick off, it’s a positive way to start the day and helps me get the brain kicked into action.
From there my days are broken into key activity groups; marketing, customer retention, sales, ops and admin and I assign a level of importance to each activity. Where possible I will always look at what activities I can delegate and which I can simply just not deal with.
At the end of each day I plan the next day and ensure that I transfer anything not completed to the following day, this can also mean elevating its importance.
2. Time is your friend and your enemy, use it wisely
Hands up those of us that will put a task off if we believe we have the time, it’s a challenge for me and I blame my early career in newspaper sales where I worked to very specific daily and weekly deadlines.
I believe in the old adage of the more time you give yourself, the more time you’ll take.
Ever had a presentation to do and you know you’ve got four weeks to be ready yet still find yourself racing to get there on time?
Try taking time away from yourself, shift the deadline and give yourself less of it, I guarantee you’ll find the task easier to complete, your stress levels will reduce and the quality of your work will improve.
3. Keep it real
Sourceit is a growing technology company and we run a tight team, this means that can we can sometimes feel overwhelmed when large and complex projects land. It happens to all of us and if you’re aware of the situation you can solve it.
We’ve all been at that point where we’re staring down a massive project and feel overwhelmed. The usual response is to procrastinate and then as the deadline gets closer you’re forced to take the initial step.
Project overwhelm happens to all us, thankfully there’s a way to solve this.
Break the overall project down into smaller measurable activities that team members can action, complete and tick off. You’ll still meet the overall project deadline but the sense of feeling overwhelmed is reduced.
4. Stay focused using Pomodoro time management
When it comes time to tackle the more complex tasks, you need to block out all other distractions for a specific period of time. We’ve adopted the pomodoro time management technique to help us stay focused. The Pomodoro technique is the simple action of breaking your time into 25 minute blocks with short breaks in between each Pomodoro, during each Pomodoro you remain totally focused on that task with NO distractions.
The technique is universal and is extremely effective no matter what area of the business you work in, for us it’s our developers, marketing and sales teams that love this simple way to stay focused and manage their time more effectively.
Buy yourself a Pomodoro timer and give it a try.
Focus can be tough, it’s easy to look busy because you’re getting distracted. Staying focused requires a disciplined approach but with planning and focus you’ll be surprised what you can achieve in a given day.
At the end of the day increasing your focus at work is all about making smart choices and using the right tools in the way you work will make a difference to your work life.
Written by Alan Paul @AlanPaul93
Sourceit is a technology company that empowers buyers by simplifying the sourcing procurement process by providing easy to use and power solutions that help buyers and supplier collaborate more effectively together.
We offer three (3) different products for buyers:
- RFQ – an app for buyers and teams wanting a simple request for quote solution to help improve how they create and manage quote requests
- market– a fully featured source-to-pay marketing procurement platform that helps organisations procure and manage all their marketing services
- catalog – a procure-to-pay catalog platform that centralises all inventory, on-demand and web-to-print orders