Why Focus is Your Competitive Advantage at Work (plus ways to actually do it) - Deepstash
Why Focus is Your Competitive Advantage at Work (plus ways to actually do it)

Why Focus is Your Competitive Advantage at Work (plus ways to actually do it)

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Why Focus is Your Competitive Advantage at Work (plus ways to actually do it)

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Statistics about multi-tasking

  • Trying to focus on more than one thing at a time reduces your productivity by as much as 40%. That’s the cognitive equivalent of pulling an all-nighter.
  • The average desk job employee loses 2.1 hours a day to distractions and interruptions. That adds up to over a full day of work every week.
  • On average, employees who do the majority of their work on computers are distracted every 10.5 minutes.
  • Being distracted by incoming calls or emails can lower employees’ IQ by as much 10 points.
  • 44% of those work distractions are self-inflicted and another 23% come from emails.

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When you single-task...

  • you tend to work on the right things. Effective single-tasking requires planning. Starting your day without a plan is just asking for distraction and inefficiency.
  • you accomplish more in less time with less stress: Intentionally focusing on one task at a time has been proven the most efficient way to move through your to-do list.

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4 essential components of effective single-tasking

  1. Cutting out distractions.
  2. Make a single-tasking plan you’ll actually stick to.
  3. Dealing with unavoidable distractions.
  4. Getting back on track when you’ve fallen off the single-tasking band wagon.

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Cutting out distractions

  • Use apps that block online distractions.
  • Turn off notifications and see the difference in your productivity.
  • Use two computers: one for the things that are distracting and one for the focused work.
  • Only keep one tab open at time.
  • Use separate desktop spaces.
  • Work offline whenever possible.
  • Schedule your email time.

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Making a single-tasking plan

  • Keep a to-do list with focused, actionable items.
  • Visualize your to-do’s one at a time, by writing them on sticky notes.
  • Schedule your daily to-do’s.
  • Create unrealistically short deadlines: it forces you to stay focused.
  • Keep a timer on your tasks.
  • Theme your days.

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Dealing with interruptions

  • Procrastinate on purpose: you can limit distractions' impact on your productivity by simply adding them to your to-do list to come back to later.
  • Keep a “read later” list for the helpful articles you come across.
  • Keep a “bright ideas” repository: keep a running list of thoughts you want to come back to later (using an app or paper).
  • Set aside exploratory time. Unfocused, agenda-free thinking time is essential for creativity and professional development.

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Getting back on track

  • Take regular breaks throughout the day. Our brains simply did not evolve to focus on one thing for extended periods of time - the longer we work without the breaks, the more prone to distraction we become.
  • Forgive yourself when your day doesn’t go as planned. Ruminating on the past one of the least productive things you can do.

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