Should you work on your client report?
Answer the 50 emails you received in the past hour?
Try to cajole your webmaster into action?
And there’s always social media updates. . .
Then a friend calls with their frustrations and needs your sympathetic ear!
Between urgent fire drills, email, and phone requests, it’s a wonder you get anything done!
One problem is that our ability to quickly switch between computer, smartphone, and personal interactions gives us the false sense that this is the best way to stay productive and on top of everything.
Unfortunately the efficient multi-tasker is a myth. Research estimates that switching between tasks makes it take 25% longer to get the work done!
Though we feel more in-control multi-tasking, our brain takes time to shift gears every time we begin a new task. Total the times you look up from email to search the Internet, answer the phone, or check Facebook, and it’s easy to see how wasted hours multiply each week.
Let’s cut to the chase – multitasking is the enemy of productivity in your life!
Creating flow in your workday is the key to continual entrepreneurial progress. Many people refer to the state of flow as “being in the zone.”
You’re “in flow” when you function with more clarity, creativity and competence. “In flow” you are more likely to come up with brilliant ideas and insights that enable you to move ahead more rapidly – and easily.
If you want more of that effortless productive time flow brings to work, where you even finish faster, you’ve come to the right place.
Here are my 5 steps to bring flow into your work life.
Sit down in a quiet place for 20 minutes and brainstorm your top work projects and goals for the next few months. Take the full 20 minutes otherwise you’ll only come up with you most urgent projects, not necessarily your most valuable.
Now go down the list and circle the most important project that will both move your business forward and bring in the most revenue (either short- or long-term). Picked one? Now do this twice more. You should now have your 3 most significant projects for the next few months. Perfect!
Now examine your next month’s schedule (yes, MONTH) and block off 30-60 minutes during your most productive time period where nothing else gets scheduled. I recommend scheduling this 3-5 days per week but if you can only do one or two – that’s fine. Commit to it!
When your “flow” work time arrives you must:
- Turn off your Email
- Turn off any Social Media Programs/Notifications
- Turn off your phone ringer and let calls go to voicemail*
- Don’t open the Internet unless it’s necessary for your project.
- Keep a pen and paper near you to jot down all the important nagging to-dos that only pop into your head when you focus on important work.
*The bonus of this approach is that by the time you finish working, often these “emergency issues” will already have been solved.
When your “flow time” ends, tack on 2 minutes to quickly jot down on a post-it or project log what your next step should be. This allows you to jump right back in next time and use your time more efficiently since your next move is clearly delineated.
Depending on your current work style, this can feel simple or almost impossible.
Turn off as many personal distractions as you can and work towards removing the others as your experience working in flow grows. Once you get going and see the results of your new work habit, you’ll be more motivated to schedule this dedicated time regularly.
While time blocking can seem like an overly simple strategy, don’t underestimate the power of implementing this in your life.
Unless you have the time to delve deep into your projects, you won’t get that perfect blend of challenge and competence necessary to bring flow, and all the insights it provides, into your work.
And now I would love to hear from you. Do you have any strategies to help you get more done in less time? Let me know in the comments below.
Entrepreneurs who are suffering in overwhelm and confusion about how to strategically grow their business have learned to consider Jo Ilfeld, PhD their go-to resource for creating a sustainable lifestyle combined with a rewarding business. Jo helps talented entrepreneurs and small business owners who are ready to develop the inner leadership skills they need to take their business to the next level.
You can learn more about Jo and download her free success toolkit at www.successreboot.com.