You may believe that you're productively multitasking as you bounce between your smartphone, tablet, and laptop. The fact is that you're just being distracted. The words productive and multitasking should not be allowed in the same sentence. Single-minded focus is key to production.
Distractions like texts from friends or "urgent" emails from clients are time-consuming all on their own. But did you know that it takes up to 28 minutes for your brain to refocus after being interrupted! Wow! A two-minute interruption can lead to a full half-hour gone down the drain. Eight little distractions and half your day is shot.
These five steps can send your productivity levels through the roof, and none of them involve multitasking— or email.
5 Steps To Increase Productivity
1. Set expectations for yourself.
It's easy to drift off into social media, get stuck cleaning out your inbox, and even be drawn to mindless smartphone games. This is most common when you are unclear or uncertain about your next steps.
Update your task list on a regular basis and assign each item a few very specific, actionable steps leading to completion. With this powerful weapon in hand you will not have to make any decisions about your next steps. This alone will boost your productivity exponentially. Listen if I don't put a reminder on my phone about an appointment or follow up, I will forget!
Just last month I closed a deal that I spoke to last year at this time. They were under contract but was interested in us. Because I placed a reminder in my phone I was reminded to stop by and I ended up closing the deal.
2. Set expectations for others.
If you create a culture that says your door is literally always open, you are asking for trouble. We teach others how to treat us. If your family members, and friends get a favorable response from you each time they interrupt, they will continue to steal your time and attention. You and your future deserves better.
Create specific times for your open door policy and stick to it. Go ahead, have those difficult discussions with the people in your life — being self-employed doesn't mean you have leisure time on your hands seven days a week.
I have a "Daddy Is Working" sign that goes on my office door at home and everyone in my family knows that when that sign is up, there is no one to be walking in and distracting me.
3. Be aware.
Multitasking is nothing more than a procrastination technique. When you are uncertain about your direction or unhappy about having to take on your next task, an interruption feels like a relief. You may tell yourself that a client needs an answer right away or that you'll disappoint a friend if you're not available immediately, but you know it's not true. If you are constantly jumping from one thing to the next without completion you are avoiding something. Ask yourself why. Once you have your answers you can take meaningful action to do and complete more.
4. Turn off notifications.
If you're working on your computer, close any windows you don't need. Then turn off social media notifications, and shut down email, for goodness sake. There are very few things that can't wait an hour or two. It feels good to be needed, but it feels better to be successful.
5. Use a timer.
Your brain can focus intently on a task for up to two hours at a time. Imagine what you could achieve in two uninterrupted hours! Many say that once they apply these productivity rules they accomplish more in a single morning than they previously did in an entire week. Set an old-fashioned timer or use the one on your phone for one hour and get to work researching out industry, practicing your pitch. Then, set it for five minutes and take a break; stretch your legs, change your environment. Take the timer with you so you don't wander off or get stuck in an unnecessary conversation. The timer rules! Now, give yourself one more uninterrupted hour and feel the magic!
To you these might sound ridiculous but the question you gotta ask yourself is "Am I Really Being Productive with my time?" If you want to be successful in life and business, implement these steps and watch productivity follow your life!