For many of us, life is hectic, our to-do lists keep getting longer, and instead of becoming more productive, we’re falling behind.
According to David Allen of “Getting Things Done,” we’re most productive when we focus on one thing. (And we thought multi-tasking was the way to go.)
The first step to gaining control, so that we can get things done, is to pay attention to what has our attention. To do that, we have to empty our minds and perform a mind sweep:
“A mind sweep would be simply anything that you have your attention on, at all. I need dishwashing liquid. I’ve gotta change the oil in my car. I need to rewrite the strategic plan. My Aunt Matilda is coming to visit. I need to handle all that. I’ve got a holiday coming up. I need to plan, etc., etc., etc. Those kinds of things …”
We all have running lists in our head like this. Get the list out of your head, Allen says, and you can learn to focus and stay on top of your work without being buried by it.
Productivity expert Dave Crenshaw is focused on focus, also.
“Time management is no longer enough to help us be productive; we must also improve our focus management. In fact, focus may be a deeper issue because so many of us are not aware that we’re having a problem with it. How many times have you started your work day with the intent of being focused and at the end, you felt like you were just busy and didn’t really accomplish anything? Or perhaps you were checking email and you clicked on a link that took you to a social site and 30 minutes later you still have an unfinished email on your screen.”
In “Improving Your Focus,” Crenshaw offers tips to help us deal with distractions from both our digital and physical spaces so that we can focus our time and attention on what matters most, whether it’s in our personal or professional life.
One of the many benefits of having a Bucks County library card is free, unlimited access to Lynda.com (annual individual subscription price is $360).