Throw your phone in a drawer and get more done in less time
… but remember which drawer you’ve put it in! You’ll probably be needing it again – such is the digital world we live in!
Last week I had the privilege of having an online “lunch” with a great group of female business founders. Our focus was on how we can intertwine our goals and energy management so we can be more productive in our business. In other words, work smarter and achieve more without changing a lot. That almost sounds too good to be true, but I can promise you it’s possible.
A prominent theme that came up was procrastination. We’re all guilty of it! We discussed how our working weeks are riddled with moments of procrastination and we decided it’s worth addressing, not ignoring.
Step one: admit there’s a problem to be solved!
Step two: now – what can we do to improve?
Let’s be clear, there’s no point in trying to perfect everything that has a factor in our working week. But by making small changes, we can affect big things.
We discussed the book “Eat that Frog” – A book by Brian Tracy on 21 great ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time. The key thing being that by giving attention to small things, our minds are focused and our days become a little less chaotic.
This discussion got me thinking and I started to note what was distracting me in my day.
On reviewing my goals for 2022 there was certainly a large number yet to even begin thinking about. I decided to stop focusing on the end of the year but to focus on what I can achieve in a day. Thinking one year out can be demotivating, so I thought to myself: what can I do today that will drive me closer to my 12-month goal?
If someone gave you a large plate of food you wouldn’t put it all into your mouth at once, you would take it bite by bite by bite. Which is the same way to start moving toward your goals, step by step by step.
Then I started to think about my “Why”. I have 3 “Why”s. My selfish “Why”, my intrinsic “Why” and my altruistic “why”. If I achieve my goals, what will it do for my family and my clients?
I started to look at what was distracting me. Without question it is the phone and emails. My phone sits beside me and even though it is on silent I still pick it up to see if I have an email I need to answer, or a text message… and before you know it 15 or 20 minutes have gone by and I realise that my phone has me hooked … again!
I know I won’t be the only one with this conundrum. As business owners who need to be “on” for our clients, we need to be available. But we are allowed to put boundaries in place too. By doing this, our pockets of time become more productive and our energy levels are bound to be more balanced.
I now throw my phone into a drawer, somewhere away from the office (but where I know I’ll find it again!) and my emails are turned off. By removing those two core dictrations I can switch into “high energy” time and work smarter.
I usually dedicate “high energy” time to one key focus area, and once I have decided what the one goal is that I am going to be working on during this time I put the Pomodoro technique to good use: 45 minutes of fully focussed concentration working on my one goal, with a 5-minute break in between before I head back to the next 45-minute focus time.
If you’re going to work in a similar way, I would caution you this: It is important not to turn on the emails or pick up the phone in that 5-minute break as the brain goes into a “non-sleep” deep rest. In that 5 minutes I might go for a walk around the garden, or sit in the sun. Even a 5-minute listening session of meditation music – that works wonders and actually encourages creative thinking!
During this time I make sure I have a blank piece of paper and pen beside me so if any ideas come up I can write them down, the brain can then let go of it, and I can go straight back to my focused work.
By working at my highest energy level and focusing on one goal at a time my productivity has increased x10 and I am moving towards my 12-month goals for 2022.
The satisfaction of being able to work in that high energy zone is exhilarating and rewarding, and it’s previous. So – put the phone away… but don’t forget which drawer you’ve put it in!