Do you often feel like your time is slipping away?
A recent study found that many people struggle to focus on a task when they’re distracted by their phone or laptop.
The problem is that many of us are addicted to our phones, and we don’t realize it. We’re always checking our social media accounts to see how many “likes” we got on a post or responding to text messages from friends—and before we know it, hours have flown by. And then there are those co-workers who love to share their life stories with you each time they walk by your desk!
If this sounds familiar, don’t worry: there are ways you can refocus on the task at hand and regain control of your time. Here are some tips for doing just that:
Set a timer
Set a timer for your tasks. It may seem like you’re wasting time, but setting a timer will help keep you on track and prevent distractions. If the task is something that requires concentration, set the timer for 30 minutes or less; if it’s something that can be completed in 15 minutes or less (or even 5), then give yourself just less time than that by setting it to go off every few minutes so that you don’t get too comfortable. This will also ensure that you take regular breaks from working–and get away from your computer screen!
Set up an app or website to keep track of how long each task takes so that when it comes time for evaluation at the end of each day, week or month (or whatever interval works best for keeping motivated), there won’t be any excuses why certain things haven’t been done yet.
You may have heard of Eisenhower Decision Matrix or Eisenhower Box, or Urgent-Important Matrix. Eisenhower Matrix is a productivity, prioritization, and time-management framework designed to help you prioritize a list of tasks or agenda items by first categorizing those items according to their urgency and importance. You can read more about it here.
It basically uses the 4 quadrants to categorize the urgency of the tasks/items. The 4 quadrants are: Important and Urgent, Important but not Urgent, Not Important but Urgent, Not Important and not Urgent. Here is a brief explanation of each of the quadrants:
- Urgent and Important
- Just as it sounds, tasks that require our immediate attention go here. These tasks should be relevant to fulfilling your mission and goals.
- Important but not Urgent
- Items that don’t have a pressing deadline but are still relevant to fulfulling your personal goals and mission.
- Items/tasks that help strengthening relationships, planning for the future and personal development also go here.
- Not Important but Urgent
- The activites that require your attention NOW but not necessarily lead you to fulfilling your mission directly go here.
- Not Important and not Urgent
- Items/tasks that aren’t pressing nor do they help fulfilling your mission and/or long-term goals go here.
Stephen Covey , the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, has made Eisenhower Matrix widely used time-management and decision-making framework in business.
It’s a myth that multitasking is good for you. In fact, it’s bad for your brain and your productivity levels. Studies have shown that when people try to do two things at once, they end up doing neither well–and often forget important details in the process. The idea of multitasking has also been linked with stress levels and even depression (because it can feel like an overwhelming task). Download this Poster to see the effects of stress on our physical and mental health.
The best way to stay focused is to not try to do too much at once. Prioritize your tasks and set goals for yourself, then tackle them one by one. Don’t be afraid of delegating tasks if they are too big or time-consuming, but make sure that you have someone reliable who can take care of them! You can try using this 3D model: Do it now, Delegate, Delete.
In addition, find ways that will help you be more productive throughout the day. Ask yourself how you can do things better so that your work won’t pile up on top of itself (or worse yet: get lost). Write down a realistic To Do List for each day so that nothing slips through the cracks; this will help keep motivation high when trying something new such as getting into shape after years without exercise!
When you’re trying to achieve your goals, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the task of getting it all done. We tend to think that if we don’t do everything at once, then we’ll never get anything done at all; but that’s not true! Stop letting the voice in your head trick your brain.
Don’t give up! If something isn’t working out or you’ve hit a roadblock, don’t give up just yet–try another route instead of giving up completely on what you were trying before (and maybe even try again later). You might find an easier way around whatever problem was blocking your path before–and if not, there might be something better waiting for us down another path altogether.
Ask for help when needed! Sometimes we’re so focused on our own goals that we forget how much other people around us can help us get there; so don’t be afraid to ask others for advice when needed.
Over to you
When you’re trying to get more done in a day, you’ll want to take things slow. It’s not something that happens overnight, but with a little reflection and foresight, you can certainly make a significant change in the way you work.
About the Author
Christine Cheung has received over 200 hours of life coach-specific training. She is a certified Practitioner of Neuroscience-Lingustic Programming (NLP) and Hypnosis Practitioner.
Christine is known for inspiring, empowering, and supporting people in developing skills and strategies to get “unstuck” from their current situation so they can reach their desired outcome using the framework and techniques drawn from Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Habit Change theory, the Law of Attraction, and art therapy.
Aside from coaching clients one-one, Christine Cheung is a public speaker, a group facilitator, and an online course instructor.
Looking for a deeper conversation? Email her at email@example.com or book a FREE coffee chat with her.
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