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January 13, 2014


Businesses are starving to put more on employee’s plate more than ever before. It’s not intentional, but every company is trying to extract maximum efficiency out of every resource. Overwork and massive distractions can create unintended mistakes or below par performance. It may sound counter-intuitive, but when you are really busy you should add additional structure to your process. For example, if you have been largely improvising your schedule you might choose to create specific times of day for email or phone returns. This approach gives you the ability to find hours where you can just think and write with little distraction. Here are five tips to help you:

1. Understand Your Personal Work Style. In order to get focused work done, you must understand and accept your work style, and accommodate that of those who work with and for you; this will allow you to accomplish critical, focused tasks in the most efficient manner possible.

2. Stay in the Present. Don’t always be looking around corners, anticipating the next task. As business owners we learn to think this way, but it’s a terrible habit that ruins our focus.

3. Use the 4 Ds. Of the tools I have seen to help people stay focused, the most effective one is the simplest. It is called the 4 Ds:

  • Do those tasks that are important and urgent.
  • Delegate tasks that are unimportant and urgent.
  • Defer tasks that are important and not urgent, but make sure you assign a due date and do those personally.
  • Dump tasks that are unimportant and not urgent.

4. Respond, Don’t React. When head clutter takes over you’re likely to make rash decisions and react to the unexpected in ways that aren’t in your best interest. Although it may feel like you’re too busy to get ideas, concerns and goals out of your head and onto paper, clearing your mind will actually add to productivity and lessen stress. Plan daily by making your lists, assigning priorities and problem solving (it only takes a few extra minutes!).

5. Reward Yourself for Focus. The first thing you should do is to maintain a daily “to-do” list, which comprises, in order of importance, the things that absolutely need to get done that day. As you complete each item, check it off your list and then move on to the next item. Reward yourself for accomplishing key goals by taking a quick break, going for a quick walk or grabbing a coffee at a local cafe. And then get right back to work

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