We try our best to get through our to-do lists, be present on Zoom calls, and manage projects effectively, but sometimes the stressors in our personal and professional lives can often get in the way of optimal focus and prioritization. 

This is a topic we discuss in Thrive’s first book, Your Time to Thrive, which offers actionable tips and Microsteps to help us prioritize and focus better. And in honor of the book’s launch, New Power Media founder Ann Shoket joined Thrive founder and CEO Arianna Huffington and head of content development Marina Khidekel in a virtual conversation, where the three discussed their go-to tips and strategies. 

Here are some highlights from their discussion:

Marina on her favorite two-minute rule:

“If something takes less than two minutes, do it immediately. I try to do that. Finishing a quick task is so much simpler than reviewing something, putting something on your calendar, or returning to something later to mull it over. Sometimes my co-workers will be like, ‘That was so fast.’ It’s really helped me to check it off the list and go on to the next thing. And then with big tasks, break them down into small, manageable elements.”

Ann on the power of having a tribe: 

“The secret of my success has been my community, the people who I surround myself with. It’s a tribe of women who are devoted to helping each other achieve and succeed, and they’ve really been the key to my success. They’re my foundation when I get to that place of unknowing. If I were to make my own Microstep, it would be to turn to them for support more often, rather than saying to myself, ‘I’ll just figure it out on my own.’” 

Arianna on saying “no” to unnecessary meetings:

“If you’re in a meeting, and at the same time, you’re trying to listen because you need to participate and you’re answering emails or texts, the question is, do you need to be in this meeting? One of the things we’re doing at Thrive is telling everybody that if you get an invitation for a meeting and you don’t think you have something to contribute, decline it. Learning to say no to things allows us to say yes to the things that really matter.”

Ann on how uncertainty can get in the way of our energy and focus:

“I think that uncertainty is definitely a cloud that has hung over this year. The idea of not knowing is a real drain. You have to go through every single scenario: ‘I don’t know if my kids will be back in school. I don’t know if my husband will be able to continue to work from home. I don’t know if my business will continue to be successful. I don’t know if my family will stay healthy.’ Those questions can be a big drain on our energy. This year has really tested the way we rely on ourselves. I used to feel like I knew how to make decisions, and I’ve been really tested about those processes for myself.”

Arianna on how multitasking impedes on our productivity:

“[When we multitask,] we are creating chaos and we are not more productive. We’re all brought up through this illusion that the more we rush, and the more stuff we pack into the day, the more successful we’re going to be. But all of the science and all the latest data proves this is false. So, the first thing we talk about in the book is a mindset shift: We need to Marie Kondo our lives and manage our energy — not our time.”