Staying focused can be a challenge. So many distractions. Every day can feel like it’s one constant stream of ads, notifications, emails, phone calls, etc… It feels like everyone wants a piece of you.
For many years, multitasking has been glorified. It has been said that being able to do several things at the same time is an advantageous skill. Well, the thing is, this is not true.
We live in a time where everybody is competing for your attention and focus.
No wonder you may feel like you’re forgetting important things or that it’s hard to get them done:
- Do you feel like you have no creativity, and that you’re always short of time?
- Do you feel like you are not able to manage all those important tasks that you have to do simultaneously…?
- … and therefore, you feel bad as you are not delivering the results you would like to, right?
How does this all make you feel? Chances are, it’s making you nervous, and constantly tired at work and at home, and you feel like you have to make too many decisions.
If you don’t know where your company needs to be or how it needs to be positioned in the marketplace, then you just keep on doing random things and changing directions all the time. And if you’re unable to keep a steady focus, then this continues to happen. Fact is, multitasking is bad for your brain. Our brains are not designed to multitask, but to focus. This is why anxiety is so widespread in the 21st century – because of all the constant distractions.
So, what might be causing you to disperse your focus?
- You multitask — you do many things all at once. But the quality of their results are lower than you were hoping for.
- Multitasking stresses your brain, because it isn’t designed for multitasking. So different tasks will take more time to get done, because it’s much harder for us to do them simultaneously.
- This means you won’t get things done on schedule, which causes your stress levels to rise.
- Multitasking also damages your short-term memory, and it can even damage your permanent memory as well.
- Multitasking causes you to think and act out of a lack of time, so it effectively eradicates any grounds for creativity. This means, tasks that require all the more problem-solving will be all the harder to solve.
- All of this, you’re damn well gonna be able to feel on your own body, and see on your own results — or lack thereof. You can clearly see that you are not being productive, and you feel stressed and anxious every day.
Are you sure you really want to multitask? Let us remind you why you should consider focusing rather than multitasking.
Being focused = being productive = being happy
When you’re focused, you don’t forget important things, you get things done, you become more creative, and you deliver better results. Focus makes you see more in-depth and makes daily decisions much easier. Staying focused and solely thinking of the task at hand will make it easier to know what to do today and tomorrow.
|Here’s a nice little thing you can do if you have kids, or maybe just nephews or nieces. If you can, try to take 15 minutes distraction-free time to just observe how they play in the real world, not online or through any electronic devices. As you’re seeing them playing without distractions, notice how they process and handle obstacles, how creative they are. It will probably occur to you that they are living in the present moment. They’re not worrying about what happened yesterday or what will happen in the future. They stay productive and persistent in doing what needs to be done now. They are focused while playing and they are happy while doing it.
You deserve to be a happy marketer. So here is one of the most important keys for your work happiness: The Circle of the Happy Marketer.
This will help you more than you could ever imagine. There’s already tons of research that explains how to become happier when you utilize your focus. This is how it works:
- When you focus on one task at a time you will increase your work quality and get more work done quicker.
- Setting your brain in one certain “mode” so it doesn‘t have to do multiple things and can “rest” for a moment enables creative ideas to flow.
- Focusing reduces stress, calming your inner chatter and your whole mindset almost immediately.
- Others will notice the improvement in your work. You will be praised for doing a good job which, in turn, gives you a great hit of dopamine, which is also known as “the happiness hormone”.
- When this happens, your brain will almost automatically seek out a way to make it happen over and over again, since the brain is driven by pleasure-seeking behaviour. Everybody likes a hit of dopamine.
- Now – help yourself go for that next dopamine rush hit by setting realistic goals and schedule a realistic time for achieving them.
And with that, the Circle of the Happy Marketer starts anew!
How can some people stay focused all day long while others struggle to get their tasks done?
The answer lies somewhere between having lots of practice and using smart tricks that enhance focus. If you often have trouble focusing, there is no way you can perform at your best.
Here are some ways to improve your focus:
- FOCUS-FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENT: If possible, work in a place where there is total silence. Some people prefer music over silence, but bear in mind that music with lyrics can often become distracting. If this is the case for you, use instrumental music. Another important environmental factor is the warmth of your work space. When the room is too hot, you probably get sleepy. When the room temperature is too cold (less than 20 degrees Celsius), people are 44% likely to make more mistakes.
- FOCUS-FRIENDLY DEVICE POLICY: Set your phone on airplane mode until you’re done with your task or at least mute all your notifications or enable ‘Work mode’ on your phone. Notifications make your imagination start to wonder. “Who messaged me? Is it urgent? Is it somebody trying to plan for something and that person can’t carry on with his life until I respond? Should I respond right now?” and so on. The best thing is to have periods of time in your working day where you have all your devices on silent mode. Do not let your smartphone dictate where your attention and focus goes.
- FOCUS-FRIENDLY PEOPLE POLICY: Tell your closest colleagues that you do not want to be disturbed X amount of time of your work day because you’re working on finishing something important. You can also set a fun “sign” of saying “do not disturb” – some people have a sign on the door, or a little toy on their desk and everyone else will understand it is not the best time for interrupting.
- FOCUS-FRIENDLY COMMUNICATIONS: Explain politely, but firmly, that interrupting someone in the middle of executing a work related task has a negative impact on relationships and results in the business. If you must use your device during an interaction with someone else, announce clearly why you are checking your device. This clarification is needed for others to know that you are still engaged in the conversation.
“Focusing is managing your productivity” – Powerful Marketers Program
We often assume that productivity means getting more things done each day, but actually productivity is getting important things done consistently. And no matter what you are working on, there are only a few things that are truly important. Being focused & productive is about maintaining a steady, average speed on a few things, not a maximum speed on everything.
To make sure you are constantly mastering the art of productivity, here are the 5 key habits to follow:
- Manage time and your calendar: Learn to enjoy planning and organizing your time. And learn to enjoy checking items off your list during your work day.
- Refuse to be distracted: Embrace the power of doing one thing at a time. Say categorically NO to distractions.
- Use a supportive toolset (water, music, healthy snacks, headphones): If your body is dehydrated, you will not be able to concentrate as much. Sometimes you might not feel sharp because you are eating sugary snacks instead of healthy ones. You may also want to listen to some relaxing instrumental music that shuts out any disturbing noises around you.
- Get some inspiration every day (related topics, books, podcasts): To kickstart our thinking, sometimes we need to boost our brain a little by feeding it different impulses. Look for a topic important to you and your own growth and find inspiration from the way others are doing it. Even 10 minutes is better than nothing!
- Enjoy your productivity and celebrate: When you focus properly and give yourself permission to finish your task, you feel rewarded. Once you have successfully focused on something and finished it, stop and think about the quality of what you just did.
Where to start?
Well, just take a deep breath, simply make a clean cut, and shift yourself from multitasking to focusing! Manage your life and your productivity, otherwise your life will manage itself in the way you might not be exactly happy with. You have the power to focus, and therefore to become more productive & more creative. It all helps you to deliver better, and more detailed work with fewer mistakes on a more consistent basis. It all affects your role as a happy and powerful marketer, enjoy it!
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