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Why Focus is Your Competitive Advantage at Work (plus 19 ways to actually do it)

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https://doist.com/blog/how-to-focus-better-at-work/

doist.com

Why Focus is Your Competitive Advantage at Work (plus 19 ways to actually do it)
The science is in and the results are undeniably bleak: Here are just a few of the unsettling statistics: 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.

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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 ...

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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.

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4 essential components of effective single-tasking:

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 ...

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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 th...

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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.
  • Schedul...

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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

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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 ...

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Multitasking is killing your productivity

 44% of work distractions are self-inflicted and another 23% come from emails.

That means you have complete control to cut out (or at ...

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Single-task benefits

  1. When you work on one thing at a time, you tend to work on the right things, because you have to plan your tasks.
  2. When you single-task you accomplish more in less time with le...

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Cut out distractions

  • Turn off notifications or at least turn on priority notifications.The time and mental focus lost in attention-switching even for a second adds up throughout the day.
  • Use two ...

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Make a single-tasking plan

  • Keep a to-do list with focused, actionable items.
  • Visualize your to-do’s one at a time.
  • Schedule your daily to-do’s. Each task gets a specific time slot wh...

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Dealing with interruptions

  • Add interruptions to your to-do list to come back to later.
  • Keep a “read later” list. whenever you come across a tempting article.
  • Keep a “bright ideas” reposi...

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Getting back on track

There is always a temptation to multi-task that will interfere with your focus.

  • Take regular breaks throughout the day. Studies have shown that the longer we work without the b...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The philosophy of working "smart"

... is to maximize your productivity when you are working so that you can get more stuff done in shorter periods of time.

By working smarter, you'll find yourself with more time in th...

Find the to-do list app that work for you

The best one for you depends entirely on your working style and personal preferences.

You can use a physical notebook around everywhere you go, but it's easier to use a to-do list app or tool that syncs across all your devices. That way, you can access your to-do items whenever and wherever you need to, whether you're at your desk, in a meeting, or on a business trip.

Prepare in advance

Write out your to-do list the day before:

  • You'll free your time to dive right into your to-do list in the morning - one of the most productive times of day.
  • It can help you spot obstacles ahead of time and prepare accordingly.
  • Knowing what you have going on well in advance could help you relax and sleep better the night before.

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Work in chunks

Our brain focuses best in short spurts, so dedicating 25 minutes to one activity, taking a five-minute break, and then resuming that activity or switching to another activity for another 25 minu...

Flow is the state of mind

... where we are so immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity that we lose sense of space and time.

It is thought to be t...

Why it’s hard to achieve flow in your workplace

  • The processes, policies, and busy work gets in the way.
  • Most jobs don’t have a clear goal.
  • Feedback can be inadequate.
  • The pace of work has increased, and it’s hard for people to spend time thinking deeply.
  • Your skills aren’t well matched to the challenges you are allowed to pursue.
  • There’s a lack of control over interruptions or when and how you work.
  • The job doesn’t push you out of your comfort zone.

Take more risks

... to push your mind beyond its comfort zone. Flow happens when we get a bit out of our comfort zone. Too much, and you get anxious; Too little and you get bored.

You need to know your physical or emotional limitations and consciously push past them.

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