(5 minute read)
I challenge you to read this blog without being distracted.
If you are one of the many people who think managing your time well means that you are a multitasking-mastermind, you are dead-wrong. Handling e-mail while grabbing coffee while talking to your boss is a sure way to becoming stressed, deleting the wrong e-mail or worse... hitting the cappucino button instead of the espresso button.
I guess I will have to tell you what the truth is sooner or later, so here it goes:
Doing Time-Management well means taking care of the work you are not doing, in order to focus at the task at hand.
I'll give you a second to re-read that phrase.
As with all important stuff, the basics are simple but the execution is difficult to say the least. The problem is that when people come across demanding work they tend to 'buckle down', 'give it all they got' or similar phrases. They don't realize this is the opposite of what they need to be doing. This kind of behaviour makes you more active, certainly, but as you have read in our opening blog, this is not what we are aiming for. We want to become effective, especially when the circumstances are demanding.
First things first: Stop multitasking, start monotasking.
It's a fact that multitasking increases stress and reduces concentration, quality of work and work satisfaction according to Stanford research. Take a look at your taskbar. How many browser tabs and other pieces of software do you have open right now? Do you really need this many or do you want everything available 'just in case'?
Another example: If you are reading this blog, don't have your e-mail open on your second screen. Whenever an e-mail pops in, *boom* you're distracted. Do you have *insert chat software* notifications on? That means 20+ distractions per day.
There are many possible triggers for distractions, these are just a few examples. Starting tomorrow I want you to start keeping tally for one full day, ending up with something that looks like this:
Do this one full day, and multiply the result by 15. This is the amound of minutes it takes to get back into the zone. New York Times research even sets this at 25 minutes! My guess is you are distracted at least 10 times a day, if not more, resulting in 150 minutes of lost productivity.
Next blog we will address tips & tricks to improve your effectiveness, starting by trimming the fat we call distractions. Doing so, we will improve concentration, quality of work and work satisfaction. If that is too vague for you, here is the result in numbers: You will gain more than 2 hours of productivity per day, increasing your effectiveness by 20% minimum.
Doesn't sound too bad does it?
Did you get distracted while reading this? If not, well done! You can now switch to your next task. If not, even more reasons to stay tuned for our next blog.
Previous blogs are about Busyness and the Eisenhower Box and Reverse Engineering your career.