It has been said that the average person gets distracted from what they are trying to focus on every 11 minutes. Some studies even show this statistic to be as often as every 7-8 minutes. At one company, the average time I had between employees, clients, outside vendors, emails, conference calls, smartphone notifications, texts, and office “emergencies” was 2.5 minutes (Yep, no joke).
How Do I Know This?
One day a colleague of mine observed and commented on just how many times people walked into my office for help. We discussed the sames facts and phenomena as listed above and he said, “You don’t even get that much time between people.” So as a fun exercise, for the next four (4) hours we timed it. Sure enough, 2.5 minutes on average.
So as we laughed (and cried) over this troubling statistic, he asked how I managed to get anything done. My reply, “A Schedule.”
You see, I knew that as soon as I stepped into that office I wasn’t going to get any of “my” work done. However, I also knew that if I didn’t train and assist my co-workers in this highly intense and competitive industry, they wouldn’t get any work done. Sound familiar?
So what do you do? You Schedule!
How to Schedule Efficiently
Some of you reading this are cringing already at the thought of a schedule, but let me assure you- It’s Freedom!
Like budgets are to finances, (Yes, budgets are crucial and freeing too- ask Dave Ramsey) so are schedules to time, and your sanity/balance of life.
Here are some tips to on how to properly schedule your day:
- Make a Schedule. Start by sitting down and making some lists. The things you have to do, want to do, should do, and need to start doing. Then, using a digital spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel, lay out a Sunday-Saturday schedule (sample below). You can use either a detailed 15-minute approach (overwhelming to most) or a block schedule to start. However, with all of my coaching students, we always start with the 15-minute schedule and they soon see why (light-bulb moment for most).
- Be Realistic. Make sure you are being realistic in your time estimations (how long something will actually take) and have someone review, and challenge your schedule for “real life functionality” when you think you are done. Remember, your life and schedule will always be a developing process, but you want give it your best the first time to make your life easier now. You can always modify it later as you grow and become more successful and your life changes.
- Stick to It! Once you create your schedule and designate specific times for work, play, fitness, commuting, etc., hold the course!
Here are four (4) great tips and tricks in key areas to help you stay focused:
- Email. Set a time(s) in your day to check email. For instance, my times are at 10 am and 4pm for up to 30-minutes each session. If it can’t get done in that amount of time, it can wait.
- Prioritize. Ask yourself regularly, what is the big picture vision/goal? Then, start with tasks that directly bring you and your team closer to that vision each day. Again, the rest can wait. Don’t get wrapped up in the details. They will smoother you and suck the life out of you. Stay away from time munching projects that really don’t matter.
- Be Wise. I knew that in the company above as soon as I walked through the door I would be bombarded. So I would make sure to take time before I got to the office to get done what really mattered (and yes, that time was built into my schedule). Also, a couple of times a week I would leave early and go somewhere off-site to sit down and get important projects done.
- Shut Off Your Phone! Smartphones- a two-edged sword. While these devices are great friends to us at times and make our lives so easy and enjoyable, they are also ruthless slave-masters that try to run our day and suck our attention dry. Be careful! In today’s high-tech, fast paced society, I find it best to shut off my phone whenever I am working on projects; it keeps me focused. I know it’s hard, but try it. You’ll get more done than you realize.
Can’t wait to hear how these tips helped you become an efficiency powerhouse!
*For more great tips on how to balance your life through a good schedule, or for more information and/or details on the points listed above, feel free to contact me through this website anytime.
You Can Do This and Live a Life
Beyond What Even You Ever Thought of as Possible!
Thought Provoking Scripture:
- Luke 1:37, Ephesians 5:16, James 4:14
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