On average people check their phone up to 100 times per day. Every time you do that you break your focus and productivity and it takes time for you to get back into the “zone” again. In this quick tips episode, Mari-Liis Vaher talks about creating a focus-friendly environment, implementing a focus-friendly device policy, being clear about your focus-friendly people policy and also being open with focus-friendly communication.
If you want to get things done, you must learn how to become and stay focused. So, let’s talk about it.
First of all - ask yourself if you are really busy because of essential, strategic work, or are you rather busy ‘just being busy’? Does your ‘being busy’ lead to real, long lasting results? Wouldn’t you rather control and manage your own schedule and work consistently to achieve your goals than let somebody else dictate your time and activities? One way or another, you have to make time for the important things, otherwise you will never get out of the "busy-cycle".
So, what are the four things that can help you to focus?
- Number 1- Focus-friendly environment. If possible, work in a place where there is total silence. If music helps you focus, then feel free to use it. Keep in mind that in many cases, music with lyrics, even when it has a human voice, becomes distracting for many people. If this is the case for you, use just instrumental music. By the way, your environment also includes room temperature. When the room is too hot you will find that you probably get sleepy. On the other hand, when the room temperature is too cold, you are more likely to make more mistakes. The science behind it is that when you are feeling cold, you use energy to keep warm. But with a balanced temperature, your energy goes towards focus and inspiration.
Also, keep in mind the lighting aspect. Being exposed to dim light and also too much artificial light makes you both stressed and more sleepy in the long run. If possible, work in natural daylight.
- The second thing that helps you focus is implementing the 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. You don’t have to check every notification straight away.
Letting your smartphone dictate where your attention and focus goes is like getting into your car and allowing your car to decide where and when to turn.
- Number 3 is Focus-friendly people policy. Tell your closest colleagues that you are not to be disturbed for X amount of hours or days because you’re working on finishing something important.
Agree on a fun system so they know when you are in work mode and you won’t take any calls or interruptions. Some people have a sign on the door, or a little toy on their desk. And everybody knows what that means and respects it.
- Number 4 is Focus-friendly communication. Don’t assume that people understand what you’re thinking. More communication is always better than less communication. Be assertive with your expectations and be a good example of what you expect from others. For example, if you want to implement a quiet focus hour in the office, then make sure you are the first in line to do it.
Or if you want your employees to focus on a meeting and not check their phones - let them know and also put your own phone away. If you must use your device during an interaction with someone else, announce clearly why you are checking your device. For example, “let me check my calendar to see if I’m available at that time”. That clarifies to the other people that you have not stopped being engaged in the conversation.
So, to recap - in order to focus, keep in mind the following: creating a focus-friendly environment, implementing a focus-friendly device policy, being clear about your focus-friendly people policy and also being open with focus-friendly communication.
We hope this helps you to take your business to the next level as you take the time to work on the most important things!
One more thing - we are heading for our summer break with Powerful Marketers and this means that our publishing schedule will be a bit different moving forward. We have one more exciting interview coming up next week, but after that you can expect solo episodes by Mari-Liis and Laura every two weeks.
We wish you an incredible summer holiday and thank you so much for your support with our first season of the podcast.