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Hard To Focus? Try This Harvard Model To Double Your Productivity

Hard To Focus? Try This Harvard Model To Double Your Productivity

Do you find yourself hopelessly distracted at work? Between the emails, phone calls, and projects competing for your attention, you may feel like you never get anything done. Multitasking is a time honored skill in the workplace, but it can slow your productivity to a crawl. Fortunately, there are ways to increase your focus and double your productivity by removing distractions and adopting a conscious mindset.

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, multitasking ” makes us more prone to making mistakes, more likely to miss important information and cues, and less likely to retain information in working memory, which impairs problem-solving and creativity.”[1]They suggest you try the “ABC” method to help you focus:

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  • Awareness: Recognize your options. What’s most important and what’s background noise?
  • Breathe: Take a moment to consider the options you have. What can you rearrange in order to make the most urgent tasks a priority?
  • Choose: Proactively make a decision about what task to complete next and stick to it.

These three steps don’t take much time, but require you to be aware of your situation and make conscious decisions instead of reacting to every distraction.

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Other suggestions to improve focus and productivity include getting up and taking a walk before you start a new task, taking regular breaks to give your mind a rest, and make yourself turn off all distractions for a specific amount of time. Close your email and turn off your phone for an hour to really focus on the task at hand.

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While you may be proud of your ability to multitask, it can hamper your productivity. By taking steps to shift your mindset and eliminate distractions, you’ll do better quality work in a shorter amount of time.

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Reference

[1] HBR.org: Train Your Brain To Focus

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Amy Canady

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

7 Signs That You’re Way Too Busy

7 Signs That You’re Way Too Busy

“Busy” used to be a fair description of the typical schedule. More and more, though, “busy” simply doesn’t cut it.

“Busy” has been replaced with “too busy”, “far too busy”, or “absolutely buried.” It’s true that being productive often means being busy…but it’s only true up to a point.

As you likely know from personal experience, you can become so busy that you reach a tipping point…a point where your life tips over and falls apart because you can no longer withstand the weight of your commitments.

Once you’ve reached that point, it becomes fairly obvious that you’ve over-committed yourself.

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The trick, though, is to recognize the signs of “too busy” before you reach that tipping point. A little self-assessment and some proactive schedule-thinning can prevent you from having that meltdown.

To help you in that self-assessment, here are 7 signs that you’re way too busy:

1. You Can’t Remember the Last Time You Took a Day Off

Occasional periods of rest are not unproductive, they are essential to productivity. Extended periods of non-stop activity result in fatigue, and fatigue results in lower-quality output. As Sydney J. Harris once said,

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”

2. Those Closest to You Have Stopped Asking for Your Time

Why? They simply know that you have no time to give them. Your loved ones will be persistent for a long time, but once you reach the point where they’ve stopped asking, you’ve reached a dangerous level of busy.

3. Activities like Eating Are Always Done in Tandem with Other Tasks

If you constantly find yourself using meal times, car rides, etc. as times to catch up on emails, phone calls, or calendar readjustments, it’s time to lighten the load.

It’s one thing to use your time efficiently. It’s a whole different ballgame, though, when you have so little time that you can’t even focus on feeding yourself.

4. You’re Consistently More Tired When You Get up in the Morning Than You Are When You Go to Bed

One of the surest signs of an overloaded schedule is morning fatigue. This is a good indication that you’ve not rested well during the night, which is a good sign that you’ve got way too much on your mind.

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If you’ve got so much to do that you can’t even shut your mind down when you’re laying in bed, you’re too busy.

5. The Most Exercise You Get Is Sprinting from One Commitment to the Next

It’s proven that exercise promotes healthy lives. If you don’t care about that, that’s one thing. If you’d like to exercise, though, but you just don’t have time for it, you’re too busy.

If the closest thing you get to exercise is running from your office to your car because you’re late for your ninth appointment of the day, it’s time to slow down.

Try these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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6. You Dread Getting up in the Morning

If your days are so crammed full that you literally dread even starting them, you’re too busy. A new day should hold at least a small level of refreshment and excitement. Scale back until you find that place again.

7. “Survival Mode” Is Your Only Mode

If you can’t remember what it feels like to be ahead of schedule, or at least “caught up”, you’re too busy.

So, How To Get out of Busyness?

Take a look at these articles to help you get unstuck:

Featured photo credit: Khara Woods via unsplash.com

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