By working these tips into your daily routine, you’ll find yourself working smarter, which in turn will save you a lot of energy, effort and, most importantly, time.
Remember, time is the only resource you can’t get back, ever. Spend it wisely.
Turn Off Alerts & Notifications
Alerts and notifications are the biggest sources of distraction for the modern-day knowledge worker. Every buzz, sound, light or pop-up pulls for your attention and opens a new mental loop that wants to be closed. Fighting the temptation of checking your phone or social media is incredibly hard, and only becomes harder as your willpower depletes during the day. Therefore, make the decision to protect your valuable time and focus by turning these alerts and notifications off.
Keep in mind, these notifications exist to suck you back into social media and messaging apps. In other words, you’re serving the agenda of the app developers instead of following your own path.
According to research, once we get distracted or try to shift from task to task, it takes on average 25(!) minutes to regain our full focus on the task at hand. This is a phenomenon called ‘attention residue’, which implies that some of your attention is ‘left behind’ at the previous task (or distraction) your brain was dealing with. Your brain can’t simply shift from task to task effectively, as its capability to focus has literally decreased.
Furthermore, shifting your attention back and forth between tasks and distractions drains energy from the brain—as it uses glucose—making us feel tired, less motivated and less productive. This is why so many people are completely worn out by a day of work, even though it’s physically not that demanding. Therefore, avoid multitasking and instead focus on one task with your full attention. This way you’ll have more energy and focus left to really crush it.
Schedule Your Days and Weeks
By scheduling your days and weeks, you’ll become a lot more effective. If you don’t schedule your days and weeks, you will just wander around. You kind of know what to do, so you’ll have a kind of work ethic. You need to protect your time for those most valuable tasks or it will fall prey to distractions or other people’s agendas. Therefore, create a solid battle-plan for your days and weeks. One that you can simply follow and execute. This will help you save valuable decision-making energy (which is proven to be a limited resource) during the day—and work with more determination and focus.
Review Your Day
One of the simplest but most effective productivity habits is to review your days and weeks. By looking at what went well and what didn’t go well, you can streamline your work process and analyse which habits and activities you should do more or less of.
Most people don’t analyse their own behaviour and therefore they have blind spots that continue to hinder their productivity, focus and success. Self-awareness is the key here. So take a few minutes each day to review your day—and to set yourself up for an even more productive and focused day tomorrow.
This is an excerpt from The Ultimate Productivity Guide by Jari Roomer. Read the full guide here.