Time management is still a hot topic. Apps and gadgets are still cool and the person who can handle the most at the same time is perceived to be “awesome” by the average guy.
Being able to handle as many things as you can is not fun the way it makes you look in the eyes of others. Others perceive you as successful, not really as information juggling genius, and that’s what they are attracted to. Are you as successful in your business as you are in catching notifications and texts as they come?
No, it’s not a trait you should be bragging about. At least not to those that are more successful then you are and to those you can learn from. They are not multi-tasking, they are getting the work done.
Get over your 21st century multi-tasking itch.
You can easily become aware of the fact that multi-tasking is robbing you of your energy and creative focus if you only pay attention to the time you spend every day doing that versus the time you spend creating, marketing and talking to clients. Or if you remember how many times you came to the end of the week and realized you haven’t done much valuable work at all. It’s not about the lazyness itself, or the lack of ideas, it’s the multi-tasking; not giving yourself a chance to do actual work and employ your brain on a deeper level.
So how do you kick this ugly habit and get yourself on a better, more productive road? How do you adopt habits that will make increase your level of success and get you to start creating and stop reacting to everything around you?
1. Stop using apps to kill your app addiction. You’re not getting rid of one, you’re just changing it for another. As ridiculous as it may sound, using as many apps as you can is the same as multi-tasking. Get rid of the consumer habit.
2. Focus on tasks that will create a result rather then tasks to get done which will only result in checking them from your to-do list. You can’t do any quality work in 25 minutes. Anything of value requires at least an hour or two of your time. Change your perception; you will decrease the number of things to get done every day, but increase the progress you make significantly, so set apart time each day that will allow you to do that.
3. Disconnect while working and connect while scheduled time for connecting. When it comes to your creative, focused time, you need to isolate yourself from all the distractions and interruptions. That can include internet, phones, even your co-workers. If you don’t allow youreself to get distracted and jump from one thing to another and then back to what you were really doing, you will shorten the time you spend working and by that increase your productivity. You probably didn’t know this, but every time you move away from what you were doing to stretch your legs or to check the email that just came in, you are breaking your concentration and it will take you 15 minutes to get back into the subject and be focused completely on it. Schedule the time to check email, twitter, etc. nd do it then and then only.
4. Test yourself; track the time you spend online, using social media, reading websites and blogs, researching things related or unrelated to business. This made a big difference for me. We are all great at denial when it comes to our own habits and results. Take my word for it, measure it and the result will explain everything.
5. Schedule the time to generate ideas. How many of us do schedule time to generate ideas? Ideas are what can move our business forward, they are the ones that allow us to plan and inovate. But most of the time we just seem stuck in the cycle of every day tasks and work. If someone asked us this question, we would probably say we don’t have time for it. Is that really true? Having or not having time, you have to make it. If you have time to spend on twitter, facebook, and who knows where else, you have time to generate ideas.
6. Spend at least two hours creating for every one hour of research. This is a concept I learned from Todd Henry on one of his podcasts on Accidental Creative. If you stumble into your day surfing online, reading news, blogs or doing research, it’s easy to spend your whole say doing only that. The same way you just might start researching for something specific you need to do for your business and then you keep at it because there is so much useful information. You need to know when to stop. This is a great creative rule you should keep in your arsenal.
7. Try shutting down your computer as much as you can while doing non-digital creative work or thinking/developing part of your business. Computers open you to a whole world of information and people. At your creative time, those are distractions. Keep your computer away from your eyes and fingers because it only takes one click to suck you in the creative loophole and allow hours to pass by.
8. Kill your pop-ups and notifications for good. The worst kind of distractions that will make you unable to focus, no exceptions. Turn them off and keep them that way. Not only when you’re creating, but at all times. You control and choose what you want to do, not the other way around.
9. Stop reacting to everything around you. Everything you react to is not urget work, it’s not important and nothing serious will happen it you don’t get to it immediately. It might seem urgent, but the only thing it is doing is cutting your attention span into smaller and smaller pieces as well as making you do reactionary work.
Learn to appreciate your time and your priorities. What other people have in store for you today is not as important as what you should focus on to develop your micro business.
What are your thoughts and experiences? Any recovering multitaskers out there?
photo courtesy Sorosh