Too many things on your plate? We tend to have many projects at the same time, the schedule is full, so is the brain, being busy to keep up with all your thoughts, liabilities and appointments.
Have you ever tried to juggle? How many balls can you keep in the air for a longer period of time? You might argue: the more experienced you are the more you can handle? You’re probably right, but it costs a lot of concentration and is tiring. And even the most experienced juggler can only take a certain number.
What about 1 ball? Feasible, right?
That’s your solution!
You might ask how that could be your solution, as it would be far too slow, with all the tasks on your plate. Stop reading here if you do not want to get things done, get good quality results and still feel more energetic.
As you’re still here I’d like to share some insights I’ve had, when I’ve been looking for techniques to gain more time. Two books stood out:
`Deep work´ from Cal Newport and `The one thing´ from Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan. Both are available as audiobooks on YouTube as well 😉
The key message of both books is to focus on one `ball’, the one project we’re working on in this moment. As every distraction, every email, phone call, message, look at another project or related power point interrupts your concentration, your flow, your brain has to start again to build its level on concentration.
For instance, your writing a report or an email and your phone rings. You take the call, dig out documents on another projects, have a read through to remember the facts and discuss with your colleague. Afterwards you go back to your task. Can you just carry on at the same spot where you’ve left? Probably not. It’s more likely that you will have to read again, what you’ve written already, take some time to get back to your thoughts etc.
According to scientists this takes you an average of 10 minutes. 10 minutes now and 10 more you’ve spent in the beginning of the project already; and you’ve spent `starting ‘time already on the other project and will spend more, when you’re done with your current task. We’re talking about at least 20-30 minutes of lost time you could spend more productively.
So, what are your priorities this week, month and year?
How can you form blocks you can perform one task. Maybe emails can be answered to 30 minutes in the morning and 1 hour in the evening. Then 3 hours for each project. Try to plan meeting around it or when you already have a meeting scheduled plan to block your time to focus on this project just then.
I’m still learning and getting there step by step. But I can already see the big advantage. I get into the flow much more often and get more things done in a shorter period of time (law of Parkinson: the task expands so as to fill the time available for its completion).
I can just recommend you to try it out, even if it’s just for a task a week to start with.