The digital media era is supposed to have made us smarter and more efficient. In reality, it has probably had the opposite effect, fragmenting our attention and making it more difficult to focus on the task at hand. Here are some suggestions to help improve your effectiveness, efficiency, focus, and productivity:
- Focus on what you’re doing. Stop multi-tasking — when you do, every level of performance is lowered. Your brain wasn’t wired to do two things at once. When you do one thing at a time, you increase brainpower and energy.
- Prioritize. Focus on just a few critical things per day. Forget about the to-do list approach, where you address the quickest, easiest things first. Tackle the two items that require the most energy and don’t allow yourself to be disrupted during that time.
- Avoid lengthy email sessions. You’re better off dealing with most issues with a quick phone call or in-person conversation rather than a lengthy email exchange. If that’s not possible, at least limit email to three times a day or the last 10 minutes of every hour.
- Interval training. I’ve written a bunch about interval training for athletes. Just as endurance athletes understand the importance of alternating between hard bouts of work and periods of lesser activity or rest, why not apply this concept to the brain? Get started by focusing for just 15 minutes on one task. Don’t allow anything to distract you during that time frame. Gradually work your way up to 30 minutes and an hour.
- Clear your mind. I’m not referring to meditation. What I am talking about is temporarily “unplugging” all the digital distractions — stepping away from the computer, cell phone… even the car radio. Doing this for even a few minutes can help you think more deeply and change your brain for the better.
Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!