The following tips are proven strategies that when applied will expand your capacity and help you organize your time and energy. We are presenting these in the Work Smart Club Network and will be holding several challenges to help you learn to apply these power strategies. Read through the list and make notes on how you will apply them. Be sure to visit the network and register for the challenge. Join.worksmartclubnetwork.com
1.) Single task (Do one thing at a time)
Research has shown us that the brain does not actually multitask – it switches between tasks making this an inefficient and draining way to get things done. You actually waste time. Tasks like writing, emailing, filing, cooking, computing are best accomplished through single tasking.
I know, you are thinking, “Hey I multi-task all the time,” and most people do, but it is inefficient and wastes time. The brain does not multi-task effectively. You may be able to get away with it for a bit, but I want you to think about the impact this has on your overall productivity and your enjoyment. Let’s look at a scenario.
As an example, every day, you have a limited amount of “attention,” when you wake up. Your conscious mind can only focus on so much. If you have 100 units of attention, multi-tasking means you give Task 1, 20 units of attention and now you have 80 left. Task 2 might need 30 units, now you have 50 left, Task 3 needs 40 units, leaving you with little reserve when Task 1 needs more attention. Can you see how you quickly you run out of attention and, how easy it is to crash.
You may remember times when you end up checking and rechecking your work because you cannot focus. This increases your frustration and may even cause you to abandon the project early.
Technology is a tool to make life easier. Unfortunately, it is addictive, and the long-term consequences are forgetfulness, low energy, reduced listening skills, low mood, and many others.
A laptop would crash if it had the same amount of information we have loaded into its memory. Information overload on a constant basis is not healthy. We need time to reflect, refresh and re-energize.
Unplugging includes eliminating the interruptions and distractions that plague all of us. Living and working in the digital age requires a new mindset around managing information and time. While most of us accept the constant state of distraction, others are recognizing that this drains one’s energy and interferes with communication both at work and at home.
We challenge you to unplug for 20 minutes every day and then increase this time on the weekend.
3.) Practice Mindful Attention
Mindfulness is the deliberate and intentional focus on the moment. The moment is about 3 seconds, when you engage the moment, you are giving your brain and your mind time to take in what is happening within and around you. This increases your situational awareness and makes you better, as a human being, a leader, an athlete, or whatever skill you are developing.
Be sure to check out our Mindful Attention course in the Work Smart Library.
4.) Have a written plan
This goes beyond just a written list of things to get done – although this is a great start!
Your brain is not designed as a container – holding things to do in your mind. It is designed for calculations, creativity, and amazing insights. But it cannot do this when cluttered with minutia details.
Having a written plan will help you decrease the stressful feelings that comes from the fear of forgetting something.
I recommend you check out the GPS training in the Work Smart Club Library. The GPS system is designed to cascade your goals into daily tasks, so you stay connected to your goals through your daily ‘to-do’s.’
5.) Set up rituals and routines
Our brain loves routine. Because the brain likes to conserve energy, having routines makes it easier to process information. The brain has a structure called the hippocampus, this is the part of the brain responsible for the formation of new memories, learning and emotions. Think about the squirrel, it remembers where it buries its nuts because of this part of the brain.
When you have routines and rituals you are engaging innate structures of the brain and freeing up resources for greater creativity, complex processing like problem solving, and the expression of your gifts like music.
Do you have a power routine in the morning?
6.) Take regular breaks
We all have intrinsic rhythms like the waves of the ocean and the seasons, only the ultradian rhythms happens every 90 minutes. Every 90 minutes attention naturally ebbs and flows; take advantage of these natural cycles and get up stretch, walk around, run in place, sip water, listen to beautiful music, pray for about 90 seconds and you will refresh yourself.
Researchers have found when we push ourselves and ignore these natural breaks you can set yourself up for major health risks.
7.) Keep learning
We are fearfully and wonderfully made. Science has found that the brain continues to learn and shape itself based on what we expose to it. Scientists once thought the brain stops developing at a certain age, but now recognizes the if we keep learning, so will our brain.
Just as the pace has accelerated, so too must learning accelerate. But we only have 24 hours in a day!! That is right, learning today means you use reflection to evaluate how things progress and what you might be able to do differently in order to do something better the next time.
This review and revise process gives you an incremental approach to getting to the next level, and keeps you learning along the way.
Click below to join our network and take the challenge. It is FREE to join and participate. Get organized!