Boost Productivity and Focus

Regain energy, power and focus with these 5 tips

Boost your focus and productivity.Want to regain energy, power and focus?

Get your mojo back and boost your productivity at the same time by applying these five tips.

Crystal Clear Pre-cap: (Spoiler alert: Bottom line up front, details follow.)

  1. Bring just enough energy and intensity to the task.
  2. Listen to your guilt, don’t just try to make it go away.
  3. Stop “throwing good money after bad.”
  4. Allow sufficient recovery. Key word: sufficient.
  5. Have realistic expectations. 

    Add your own best practices in the comments!#1. Bring just enough energy and intensity to the task.

Of course, like all responsible people, you start each workday with a short, prioritized success list. If you don’t yet do this, is now a good time to start that proven success habit

As you begin each task, ask yourself: Am I at the right level of energy and focus to get this finished well and as quickly as possible? If not, know yourself well enough to know what habits positively influence your energy, such as getting enough sleep, and eating foods that work best for you.

The important point here is to recognize there is a sweet spot for just the right amount of intensity to bring to a task. Chances are, you’re putting too much of this intensity into too many of your tasks.

If you find this is a problem for you, aside from sleeping and eating well, take a quick mental check of where you might be holding tension in your body. Hint: if you’re shoulders are up under your ears, you’ve channeled too much intensity.

            #2. Listen to your guilt; don’t just try to make it go away.

#Guilt is underrated. That voice in your head is your #higherself. Listen to it. ~ @CrystalMJonas Click To Tweet

Guilt is underrated. Too many people either wallow in it, never changing their behavior, or they try to push it away instead of getting to the root of it and doing something about it.

When you get in to work early, skip breaks and eat lunch at your desk, leave work on time or late, and you still feel guilty at the end of the day, pause.

What exactly is that still, small voice telling you? Are you really saying you should have worked harder? Longer hours?

Is it possible that the problem isn’t more work, but doing the right work?

Did you work hard, but do not do the hard work? (Read that again. Think about it.)

Too often, people will stay busy and count all activities equally, or even count quantity of work as more important than the quality of work.

In staying busy, they get to avoid the fact that the few key projects – the really hard projects – didn’t get done.

Consider if that’s why you’re leaving work feeling guilty. Instead of doing the most important thing, you spent extra time doing activities that weren’t as important, but kept you busy, even working overtime.

Your guilt might be telling you that you need to do the hard work first. Listen to it.

  1. Stop “throwing good money after bad.”

When something happens that you don’t like, you check to make sure you’ve done what’s within your control to make it right. Yes?

Good.

And, when you’ve done what’s within your control, you see what’s within your influence, and you’ve attempted to positively influence the situation where you can. Yes?

Good. Again, you’re doing everything you can.

Now, are you still worried, upset, mortified, (or whatever negative emotion might come up) about this situation?

You’re throwing good energy after bad.

You’ve done absolutely everything you can to control it, and then to influence it.

It is what it is, and no amount of obsessing on your point at this time is going to make the slightest bit of difference.

How to let it go? Remind yourself that any energy you spend now on something outside of your control and influence will be energy you do not have available for things you can control and influence.

  1. Allow sufficient recovery from focused work. Key word: sufficient.

In the years I’ve given seminars and keynotes worldwide on the topic of time management, most of the people I’ve met don’t have a work ethic issue. They have a recovery issue.

When you’re involved in work that requires sharp focus, there’s only so long you can sustain that level of concentration before your brain literally needs a break.

Go past that sweet spot, sometimes called “flow,” and you’ll get diminishing returns. You may continue to look at the screen, but it will take twice as long to write that report, and the quality of your work will greatly be reduced.

You must recover by stepping away from the work, and giving yourself a quick 5 to 15 minute break.

By the way, notice that the tip reads “Allow sufficient recovery. Key word: sufficient.” Your break doesn’t need to be longer than 15 minutes, unless it’s your lunchtime, and if so, by all means, enjoy your full lunch break.

Good rule of thumb is that your focused work spurts will be about 45 to 90 minutes long and your breaks will be 5 to 15 minutes.

  1. Have realistic expectations.

Are your expectations for how much you can get done in a day fair and reasonable? If a leader is unfair and unreasonable for what’s expected from employees, employees rebel. They might have a work slow down, for example.

Certainly their enthusiasm for their work would wither and this would show up in the quantity and quality of their work.

So what’s reasonable to expect that you can accomplish in one day? Only you know for sure.

Studies of world-famous successful people reveal that they spend, on an exceptional day, up to a total of four hours in focused, deep work.

Surprised?

And just look how much the Warren Buffett’s and the Sir Richard Branson’s of the world are able to accomplish because they avoid energy leaks.

Try these ideas for yourself, and watch your levels of productivity soar!

While you’re here, add in the comments your own practices for keeping your energy high so you can have high quality productivity.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “Boost Productivity and Focus

  1. I generally do not take brakes at work. We even work through our meal times. Lately I have been having concentration issues and feel very distracted. I think taking a 10 minute break a few times during my shift may be very beneficial! Thank you for the information!

    • Hi Laurie, working straight through with no brakes quickly means diminished returns! You’ll be so pleased with your results of taking breaks. Studies prove that we can only be in “deep work” where we’re in the flow, for about 30 to 90 minutes, depending on how intense the work is. Your mental breaks help you return to work refreshed and greatly improves your work quality and your mood! Thanks for writing, and let me know how you do!