We live in a production-oriented world. The numerous types of cars, shampoos and cereals are tell-tale signs that producing products, even content, is how some define success.
But this push, this drive to produce is not rooted in being busy, busy, busy. Instead, it requires a focus, a single-eyed vision to pursue one thought, one idea into completion. When we think of the phrase, “Just do it,” we think of one “it,” not “them.”
So multi-tasking, although it sounds productive, is actually counterintuitive. Research suggests that when we focus on doing several things at once versus one thing well we do not get much done any quicker. Therefore, slowing down can be productive.
1. Know your ABC’s
Getting back on track after a distraction can be as easy as counting to three – using the alphabet. “A” means be aware of your options. “B” means breathe deeply and “C” stands for choose carefully.
When you are given the option to defocus from your primary task, be aware of what is going on. Tell yourself, “I am focused on this project and that distraction is not helpful.” Then, take a deep breathe and choose whether you will stay focused on the task at hand or derail your focus by doing something different.
If you buy into the idea that multi-tasking will make you more productive, the distraction may seem appealing. However, if you want to be insanely productive, stay focused on the task at hand until you reach its completion.
2. Set the tone for your day
Awareness begins with the self. How are you feeling? What is on your mind? Is there a list you could make to declutter your brain for the day?
In order to set the right atmosphere in your mind, body and gut, a sense of self-awareness is necessary. What is going on internally that could prevent this task from reaching its full potential? Once you answer that question, through journaling or self-reflection, you can set the tone for your day to remain focused on what is most important.
3. Technology can be an ally
Need to empty your brain of clutter? Use technology to help you remain organized and focused. There are plenty of apps available for both android and iPhone products to keep us on track. If you, like many other people, are bombarded with personal, professional and familial responsibilities to children and partners, technology can be an ally in keeping you on track, on time and on fire with the task at hand.
Set alarms on your phone so you can completely lose yourself in a project. Reminders placed in apps can keep your to-do list stay relevant and the items of high priority at the top of the pile.
4. Breaks are necessary
Rejuvenating the brain so it remains fresh is imperative. When working on a project to completion, it is wise to factor in setbacks, moments to problem solve, deal with frustrations or stone walls, and a chance to regroup. By taking a break, such as a walk or to chit chat with a friend or coworker, you are in a position to keep your mind fresh and up to date.
A fresh mind is a focused mind.
As individuals, we contribute to the amount of ideas and products available in today’s society. Whether our contribution is grooming a child to become a productive citizen or designing the next space shuttle to launch into outer space, our individual efforts matter.
However, we are more likely to be successful in our pursuits of productivity with the right amount of single-minded focus and tranquility.