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Last Updated on January 30, 2018

The Only Thing to Care About If You Want to Succeed

The Only Thing to Care About If You Want to Succeed

I have a friend who was thinking about opening a pizza place. His core passion was making pizza and having others enjoy it, so he figured it could be a good business for him.

As soon as he began the process of opening the restaurant, though, there were lots of other questions he had to consider: the location, taxes, zoning, staffing, and business planning. So he began researching and talking to people, which all took a lot of time. He figured out the right location, the staffing, the tax implications, the business plan, and more.

    He felt he was ready to open. But what suffered when he finally got started was the actual quality of the pizzas.

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      How could that be? Wasn’t the pizza-making itself his passion?

      In fact it happens to 90% of us. We get caught up by all the other things around us that it makes us easily forget the core that creates meaning for our works. So how to turn things around?

      Find The Epicenter

      The “epicenter” is the core of anything. In terms of earthquakes, for example, it’s where the process begins. In a business sense, an “epicenter” is your core idea. What’s the passion? Why are you investing in this idea, concept, or new project?

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      This idea comes from a book Rework, which was written by Jason Fried, the founder of Basecamp. The book is about looking at business planning and advice in a different way.

      In the example above, my friend’s epicenter was making quality pizza. If he focused on that side of it and potentially outsourced some of the other work he needed to do, he would have stayed passionate and had great overall performance.

        Stay focused on your epicenter

        Why are you doing this thing as opposed to doing some other things? When you find that passion in your epicenter, it allows you to be more productive and do more quality work.

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        Determine what’s a priority

        If you begin from your epicenter and view that as your foundation, you can more clearly understand what’s necessary to do in the future and what’s not. You can also better figure out what elements to outsource, or assign to someone else.

        Basecamp became a very powerful productivity tool for a lot of organizations. When Fried was building it, he didn’t rely very much on outside investors — as many do. He also didn’t have a standard business plan — which many people say you must have. Instead, he decided there was a major problem with how teams organized themselves and communicated information back and forth. His team set out to build a product that would help solve that problem. That was his epicenter. Everything else flowed from that. He didn’t instantly get bogged down in details or logistics of other aspects of building a business because his epicenter told him “If you work to solve this problem, the other aspects will get addressed.”

        Focus Your Energy

        There are always going to be other things that need to be addressed. But if your energy is focused on what you absolutely want to do, you will get better at knowing how to deal with everything else.

        Think of any random day at work. A lot of people easily become distracted: emails, meetings, people stopping by, and phone calls etc. This is not focusing on your epicenter. If you arrive at work on any given day and think “What do I need to achieve today?” then your day will be much more productive. You will be focusing towards your epicenter.

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        But if you allow yourself to be pulled in any new direction the moment it arises (a new email, a new phone call, a new visitor), you won’t be that productive. You’re not working towards an epicenter. You’re just working towards tasks.

        If you want to be more productive and successful, then, determine your epicenter. Work from there.

        Featured photo credit: Vecteezy via vecteezy.com

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        Leon Ho

        Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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        Last Updated on September 17, 2018

        How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

        How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

        Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

        Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

        All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

        Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

        How bad really is multitasking?

        It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

        Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

        This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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        We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

        So what to do about it?

        Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

        Now, forget about how to multitask!

        Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

        1. Get enough rest

        When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

        This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

        When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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        2. Plan your day

        When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

        When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

        Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

        3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

        I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

        I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

        Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

        4. When at your desk, do work

        We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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        Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

        5. Learn to say no

        Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

        Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

        By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

        6. Turn off notifications on your computer

        For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

        Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

        7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

        Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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        You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

        The bottom line

        Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

        Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

        Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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