Having multiple tasks on your mind splits your attention and that can reduce overall performance. This is known as "attention residue." While we can't eliminate distractions from our lives, we can create a "ready to resume list" and plan a return to the task.
"My to-do list is constantly growing and I feel overwhelmed." "I want to feel more productive and accomplished at work." "I'm spread so thin that I'm not successful at anything." Sound familiar? You're not the only one. Over the past two years since beginning my coaching practice, I've worked with nearly 100 creatives.
"Time management" is not a solution - it's actually part of the problem. A few years ago during a break in a leadership class I was teaching, a manager named Michael walked up looking unsettled. His boss had told him he needed to be more productive, so he had spent a few hours analyzing how he spent his time.
Shifting our focus towards people and projects, rather than the time it takes for us to work on something is referred to as Attention Management.
Productivity is not a virtue, but just a means to an end, and it means nothing if the end is not worthy. Paying attention to your intrinsic motivation, on why you are excited about the project will make you push yourself naturally and achieve the goal.
When it comes to our daily schedule, most people fall into one of two camps: The Overscheduler: Their calendars look like a kindergartener's finger painting. Meetings overlap meetings while reminders for events, breaks, tasks, and more meetings are going off like it's New Year's Eve.
The most successful people consistently get their most important work done first.
Build recurring time for your most important work in the morning, before you start anything else. Your energy levels are naturally higher in the morning, but completing a meaningful task first thing has also a domino effect that pushes you through the day.