Have you wanted to be more focused? Do you struggle with being productive even though your busy all day? In this article, I’m going to share how to be more focused and wildly productive.
In the book, What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School, Mark McCormack tells a study conducted on students in the 1979 Harvard MBA program. In that year, they asked students, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” Only three percent of the graduates had written goals and plans; 13 percent had goals, but they were not in writing, and a whopping 84 percent had no specific goals at all.
When they returned to these students ten years later, the 13% that had goals were earning twice as much at the 84% with no specific goals.
But the kicker is the 3% that had written goals and plans to accomplish them were making ten times more than the other 97% of their class. Ten times more.
Lesson learned. If you want to reach your goals, you need to write them down and create the actions to achieve them.
Here are a few techniques that you can incorporate to help you focus and be more productive every day.
How to be more focused
Do a daily review
Take five to ten minutes at the start of your day to look over your to-do list and sort things by importance.
An editorial calendar might help you stay on track with social media and your blog.
Identify your MITs
Your most important tasks or MITs get top billing on your schedule. If you look at your plan and everything seems like an MIT, you need to work on sorting by deadlines and importance. We all love to get things done, but every single task isn’t an MIT.
Mark Twain said, “Eat the frog first.” Meaning do the hardest, most challenging tasks first when your brain is fresh and everything the rest of the day will seem easier.
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Stick to the two-minute rule
If you find a quick task that takes less than two minutes, do it now. Don’t want to overload your list with small things and overwhelm yourself.
Add it to your list and check it off when you’re done. That’s a great feeling and will help keep you motivated to keep going.
End your day with a list
Take a few minutes at the end of the day to update your list for the next day. This will help you release some of your work anxiety knowing that you’ll get to them tomorrow.
If you don’t write things down, chances are they won’t get completed. Or you’ll forget them. You’ll be more efficient and effective with a list of tasks that will lead to achieving your goals.
Stop the glorification of busy
“Omigod, I’m so busy!” We hear this and say this over and over again daily. We need to stop glorifying overworking ourselves and our busy-ness.
Our two primary metrics for success are money and power, and they drive us to work more extended hours, sleep with our phones and tablets, miss important moments with our families and impacts our health. Arianna Huffington proposes a third metric for success: thriving. When you thrive, you take care of your health, get enough sleep and do not live to work.
“We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.” Arianna Huffington
There’s no prize for working the most hours per week or making the most money. At the end of our lives, we’re all about the same amount of dust, so the question is how much joy you’ve brought into people’s lives and how much have you made the world a better place.
2. Avoid burnout. Burnout, stress, and depression are worldwide problems. At Arianna’s Third Metric conference in 2013, she learned that exhaustion is not only affecting Americans but also workers in Germany, the United Kingdom, China and the rest of the world. Working harder doesn’t necessarily mean better results — in fact, it can have the exact opposite effect.
3. Nurture your well-being. Make time to take care of yourself regarding exercise, meditation, music, art and family life — this isn’t selfishness, it’s good sense.
I hope these ideas help you create a better to-do list, become more focused, and get more done. So you can take time for your family and add value to your life outside of your job.
“Very occasionally, if you pay really close attention, life doesn’t suck.” Joss Whedon
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Some books that you might enjoy:
Get Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
Digital Detox: Unplug to Reclaim Your Life
Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Wisdom and Wonder by Arianna Huffington