A survey conducted on small business owners found that 72% of the respondents felt overwhelmed by their responsibilities.
To manage this, professionals and business leaders turn to productivity tips that show them how to manage their time better.
There’s a belief that we all have limited time on our hands and our job is to make the best use of our time by scheduling activities using to-do lists and calendars.
But many people continue to feel stressed out and overwhelmed even when they use productivity tools and tips. The truth is that popular tips and to-do lists don’t work because they don’t address the actual problem.
We need to manage our attention, not our time.
Every person is given 24 hours a day, but we often see some people use this better than others. The solution to productivity harnessing your focus not building a work schedule. Let’s explore this idea in greater depth and look at strategies you can apply to become more effective as a leader.
Avoid keeping things on your mind
Every person has a list of things they need to accomplish on a daily basis. And not only that, we have tasks that unfold on a weekly, monthly, years, and even longer time periods.
We tend to track the different kinds of work we need to do on our minds. We’re constantly thinking about picking up items from the grocery store, sending emails, finding our kids’ missing toys, and other things.
This uses up a significant amount of mental energy. And as a result, it leads to procrastination and the feeling that we have so much to do and no time in which to do it all.
To stop this kind of mental busyness, you need to spend a moment putting down your thoughts in paper. That is, write down everything that you need to do no matter how trivial or significant it is.
It can be as small an activity as replying to an email or a large-scale project that will start in a few months.
The reason for doing this is when you have everything down on a journal or electronic productivity tool, you’ll be able to stop thinking about it as long as you refer to the work you need to do time and again.
Prioritize your tasks
Once we list out everything that needs to do, we save time and harness our focus by prioritizing what needs to be done.
When we don’t organize our work, even the smallest task can become overwhelming. To stop this from happening to you, start by arranging your list into tasks that you can do right away, tasks that need to be done urgently, and tasks that you can take some time on.
And then dive right in and finish the tasks that you can finish immediately. If you have to unsubscribe from a few emails then get rid of this simple task right now. Do you have to empty a wastepaper basket? Then get to it.
The magic of clearing up small tasks is that you clear a significant portion of your list. And suddenly, you don’t have so much to do anymore.
Many small tasks are one-time jobs and when you complete them, you clear your mind and your to-do list to a large degree. And now, you’re free to focus on the smaller steps needed to complete longer projects.
Do one thing at a time
Once you’ve organized work, create focus by doing a single task at a time. Remember, it’s not about managing time, it’s about managing your attention.
Giving each job your full attention means that you’ll carry it out effectively. You’ll also feel a sense of satisfaction that spills into the rest of your work and it will keep you motivated.
As you focus on managing your attention rather than your time, you’ll be surprised to see that you’ll have free time on your hands. And you won’t know what to do with yourself.
It’s when you have space to breath that your creativity gets the opportunity to come out.
Remember to manage your larger projects by breaking them into actionable steps and then putting them on a calendar or project management system.
When you arrange the tasks you need to do in this way, you only have to think about them at a specific time and on a specific day. And you’re free to focus on more creative projects until the due date for these jobs appear.
As you manage your attention more, you’ll find that you can achieve multiple goals and slowly but steadily make your long-term dreams come true.