According to a 2015 study from Microsoft Corp., people generally lose concentration after eight seconds.
I read that last sentence out loud in what I consider average speed and it took me eight seconds.
Eight seconds is not a lot of time.
I decided to search what can be accomplished in eight seconds and I discovered that most people can tie a tie, run up 25 steps and insert their debit card into an ATM and enter their PIN.
I also discovered that I could throw our 16-month old and very active puppy her tennis ball to the other side of our yard and have her bring it back to me.
No matter how you slice it, eight seconds is not a lot of time.
But your attention (focus) is needed in order for you to be productive.
Here is how you can become more focused and therefore more productive.
Throughout your day, take a few moments, close your eyes and take several deep breaths. Don’t think about what you just did or what comes next…just be still for 2-3 minutes (you have the time).
F = FIVE MORE
In my research, I found this cool tip from VeryWellMind(dot)com: when you get frustrated, overwhelmed, anxious or some other negative (and non-productive) emotion, just tell yourself you’ll read five more pages of the report or book, write five more paragraphs or sentences or work for five more minutes.
O – ONE THING AT A TIME
Neuroscientists and other researchers have proven that your brain cannot multi-task. And that for every additional task you take on, the efficiency for all of the tasks is reduced.
It’s better to finish the first task or get to a stopping point and then move on.
C = CLUTTER FREE WORK AREA
Think about your work area. Or better yet, if you’re reading this article at your work area…how cluttered is it?
A work area free of clutter is a work area set up for productive success.
Have only what you need for the current task/project and nothing else.
U = USE A LIST
I’ve told anyone who has ever seen me speak, listened to The Mark Struczewski Podcast, followed me on social media or have been a client of mine that my #1 productivity tip is get what you need to remember out of your head and captured someplace immediately.
You can use a list for this. Or a notebook. Or whatever.
As you work on a project and something pops into your head, write this item down (just enough so you won’t forget) and then resume working on your project. Don’t stop what you’re working on.
S = SEPARATE YOURSELF FROM DISTRACTIONS
There are so many distractions in our world today so I’m not going to list them here because you already know what they are.
Distractions are productivity killers. If you want to focus, you’ve got to eliminate as many distractions as possible.
If you work in a cubicle farm, see if you can borrow an used office with a door or a conference room.
If you work from home and your city is jackhammering your street, pack up and go to a library.
Don’t complain about the distractions…find a way to get away from them.
It is possible to focus (and be productive) in our distracted world but it requires you to be proactive about it. You can do this…if you choose to.
Thanks for reading. I trust this article served you well. If I can serve you further, all you have to do is reach out to me by clicking the links in the author’s box below.
Now…go get focused and be productive.