Can You Stay on Task for 5 Minutes?
We live in a world of distractions. Cell phones. Email. Text messages. Notifications. Pop-ups. And more. How do you get your work done if you are constantly being interrupted? I’ll bet you don’t make it through this post without something buzzing, ringing, flashing, or distracting your attention.
Notes that on average a person is interrupted more than 15 times in an hour, which has a dramatic effect on our efficiency and performance throughout the day. That equals 120 interruptions in eight hours, and not only is there the time spent with the disruption, perhaps even more time is required to refocus.
Now, imagine how much more you could accomplish in a day without that. If each distraction amounts to just two minutes, they add up to 4 hours of reduced productivity in a day.
Many of the interruptions are caused by our own actions: checking email, surfing the web, chatting with colleagues, etc. In fact, we cause about half of our interruptions in workflow.
So, here is an experiment that will enlighten your understanding of how you work, and one that you can employ throughout your day to maximize efficiency:
- Time: you probably have a timer on your computer, or you can purchase a cheap app. It needs to be a physical timer though, rather than just keeping your eye on the clock. Promise yourself that for the five minutes you will focus on a single task, just one. Later, as you practice, you can boost the time of the sessions.
- Distractions: rid yourself of all activity that will deviate from your single focus. This is a bit challenging, but you might try headphones with some classical music. Also, turn off notifications on your computer temporarily.
- Technology: assuming that your computer is essential to your work, turn off all other electronics, especially the phone. Voice mail will pick up the call for you. Email can wait.
- Monotask: after selecting the single task, focus on it, refusing to allow auxiliary tasks to get in the way. This may take some analysis to decide exactly what is pertinent to the one task. Eliminate everything else. Contrary to common belief, multitasking dramatically reduces productivity.
- Isolation: Commit the ultimate corporate sin, and shut your door. Lock it. You can put a post-it on the door that says "Back in 5 minutes."
You will be shocked at how much you can get done in the five minutes, and this should lead to a desire to form concentration habits. Ideally you want to raise that time to a more productive segment like 25 minutes, then a 5 minute break, or 50 minutes with a 10 minute break. You will seriously increase your productivity by hours a day.
Interested? Click the title or image to read on.
Source is TimeManagementNinja.com
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