Do you have a focus for your life for the next twelve months? Have you written it down? Are you spending the majority of your time working toward your primary purpose or is your time scattered amongst so many day to day routine activities and distractions your life’s focus is lost in the clutter?
The following are ten tips I thought worth mentioning from the following, very fascinating book, 18 Minutes, Find your focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done by Peter Bregman
The first VERY IMPORTANT step is to put in writing where you want to focus your year. Keep in mind your areas of focus should cover seven categories of your life including family, career, personal health, spiritual, personal growth, friendships, and recreation/hobbies. Once you have completed that very important annual mission statement of writing your seven areas of concentration, it is yet another challenge to actually spend the majority of your time working on them. Unfortunately, most people get lost doing the things that yell the loudest for attention. Consider the following tips:
1) First, you need a “to do” list for the day which will help you make decisions about where to spend your time; this will help you to stay focused on working toward your annual priorities in each of your life categories. Your daily plans should be prepared the night before or in the morning before your day begins.
2) When you get swept away with too much to do all at once, you can spin into an unproductive work mode. Try making a list and breaking down the tasks into chunks. List the tasks in order of what are the right things to focus your time on that move you toward your areas of focus.
3) Learn how to say no. To succeed in using your time wisely you need an “ignore button” in your mind. What tasks are not important to you? What phone calls are not important to you? What steals your time? What makes you unhappy?
4) For many people the “to do” list becomes a wish list. To turn your “to do” list into an action list you must place specific tasks on specific days of a calendar. The decision process of deciding “when” helps us to focus on completing specific tasks one at a time. Always schedule your most difficult or unpleasant task’s to do first.
5) Utilize the three day rule for eliminating unimportant tasks. In all reality this could be a five or ten day rule also. But the point remains, if a task does not get completed on your calendar for several days, it is probably not important relative to your focus or purpose. In that case, delete the task from your “to do” list.
6) Pause at the end of each day to analyze what is working and what is not. Sometimes we get so caught up in doing the things every day the same way we do not take the time to ask ourselves if we are working toward our purpose. Take time to reflect and analyze so you can learn from your successful and failing daily actions.
7) Avoid these common time wasters: Unnecessary meetings, unimportant emails, answering requests from people when it is not the right time to talk or you are not prepared with the proper information.
8 ) Stay away from attempting to multitask. Research shows that productivity drops as much as 40% when we attempt to multitask.
9) Don’t let the idea of perfectionism delay your actions and reduce your productivity. Many times we tend to only tackle the tasks we think we do well. But productivity for a variety of tasks can only be achieved by making a decision to plunge ahead regardless of your ability. Just get started and utilize a learn- as- you- go attitude.
10) Get other people involved in helping you achieve your focus in life. We can all accomplish so much more when we get other people engaged in our life’s purpose.
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