One of the most common challenges Executives & Entrepreneurs do face is lack of time to get everything done. This does make them feel that they are not doing enough and eventually burn themselves out.
Are you aware that as per the latest research, putting more time at work can be counterproductive and eventually derail your progress? Yes, now since I have got your attention, let me tell you that working more and hard is so old school. It does not make any difference except feed your own ego. Working smart and focusing on what really does matter is what I am about to share with you in the next few paragraphs.
Focus On The Result, Not The Time
Most of the people do fall into the trap of calculating the amount of time put into a task rather than the amount of tasks completed. Let me give you my own example. I have been writing my own blog articles now from close to a decade and initially, I also fell into the trap of giving myself 3-4 hours to finish the task and then move on to the next task.
However sometimes I never used to get any great ideas and used to knock myself out literally to get the ideas out of my own head. This may sound funny now but so many people do fall into this trap. However, now it is an entirely different way I approach writing my own blog which still does take couple of hours, but I do not spend all the time at once.
I focus on 60-75 minutes first to build a foundation then weave my thoughts around it. This is what I call as chunking. You take the whole job and do it in spaced out intervals. Why this works for me and could work for you is that our Mind can only focus for maximum 60-75 minutes at a time.
After that, the focus drastically decreases and you would not want to be investing your precious time in running through your important project. Right? Over the years I have taught this to all my clients and each one of them do have a brilliant success story to make this one simple strategy a must-do on your list.
Take Responsibility For Yourself
You can only take responsibility for your own actions. And that is what I am talking about here. Take complete responsibility for your thoughts and actions. Always make it a point to enter your work station with absolute clarity of thoughts and a positive attitude. Believe me, this will go a long way in setting yourself up for bigger things going forward.
You will be surprised as to how high your own standard will raise once you take this approach. If you are looking at working smart then, this is a critical factor which will help you step up from tomorrow. You can refer my previous blog How to gain mental clarity and focus.
Sticking To Your Routine Is Gold
I am a big believer of routine and here is one reason I will tell you why you should believe in it too. We, human beings are creatures of habits and all of us are good at the small tasks we do on a consistent basis. I stick to my routine as much as possible on the things I can control, and you know what, I do not need to spend unwanted time on these tasks.
Some of the things I do follow as a routine each day with a few days here and there as an exception are
1.I stick to an 8-5 work schedule for most of my days
2.My mini breaks are always spaced within 75 minutes at one stretch
3.I break for lunch @ 1400 Hrs.
4.My phone goes into mute mode by 1900 Hrs. and I do not access them when I am working out.
5.I work on the most important tasks first thing in the morning as I log into work.
5.I always wind up my evening by 2100 Hrs and head back home.
When you stick to a routine, what happens is you are giving more space in your mind for doing important things. Why waste precious energy on mundane things when the brain can work on bigger and better one?
Make And Take Less Decisions
Are you aware as to how many decisions you make in a day? I am talking about important decisions here and that would be about 75-100 in a day. Now, when you work towards a routine you are also working towards taking less decisions.
If you can work towards even reducing your decision-making by about 5-10 percent, then that energy you can be used for productive things. This is the reason why Mark Zuckerberg and Steve jobs wear the same type of clothes every day, so they do not have to think too much about the nitty gritty of color and combination.
Once you build on your own routine, then it is also easy to automate your decision-making process on frivolous things which might be important but not necessarily require you to expand your energy.
The logic behind this is that each one of us do have limited energy and our Will and discipline decline inexorably as the day wears on. So, you do not want to be caught at the fag end of the day with hardly enough energy to take important decisions about your team, organization or even your life.
Multitasking Is Your Nemesis
One of the most common traps executives and Entrepreneurs do fall into is Multitasking. In fact, this is one of the key aspects I do deal with in our Flagship Leadership Intervention High Performance Alchemy Masterclass.
The reason is very simple.
Multitasking is the biggest productivity killer. Human beings are not conditioned to Multitask. Our brain is not wired to do multiple things at the same time. Most who are blowing their own trumpet that they are good in Multitasking are only doling Task switching and they are just shifting from one task to another one rapidly.
Some of the most productive people whom I have come across and have also Interviewed for my upcoming book do one thing at a time and then move on to the next one. This is the easiest and doable action item to do by each one who is looking at being more productive.
Like always I say do not take my words for it. After you have done reading this blog article take 60-75 minutes of your time and just focus on one important task in hand. You will be surprised how much more zeal and energy you can give when you just channelize all your energy to one task for a longer period.
This video by The Economist gives more insights on Why the Human Brain Can’t Multitask.
Effectiveness Is Directly Proportional To Your Stress
Yes, if you have already heard all the bad things about stress affecting your physical and emotional wellbeing then do not forget that it also plays a critical role in hindering your work performance. I have worked with hundreds of executives over the last decade to know this first hand.
If you are looking at being more effective at the workplace, then you must do everything to manage your stress. If not, then you will also end up getting distracted and skewed in your thought process.
Most of the highly stressed executives/entrapreneurs do the same mistake of doing the activities which are deter mental to stress like building unhealthy habits, substance abuse, spending more time at work, being disconnected with families…. However, all these will only suck you deeper into the vortex of stress.
This brilliant TED Talk by the Health Psychologist Kelly McGonigal is about How to make stress your friend.
The most effective strategies are the ones which has worked for each one of my clients over the last one decade and this is also highly recommended by the latest research. The best part of this is that it is easily doable, and I would like to challenge each one of you who are highly stressed to take up this one-week personal challenge with me.
I will guarantee you that if you are committed and follow my instructions step by step you can achieve stress reduction by at least 30-40%. I am up for this challenge. The question as always is
“Are you ready to take this up?”
Originally published at satishrao.in