Get more focused with this one simple technique
Apparently people in the music industry have trouble focusing. Ashanti, Charli XCX, Ariana Grande and H.E.R all have songs asking nicely for a little bit more focus, if you please.
Distractions and external demands are everywhere, pulling you in a thousand different directions at once, and not doing your productivity any favours.
So if you wanna get more done, in less time, you’re gonna have to improve some of your work habits and change the way you operate.
Does the following scene seem familiar?
You’re writing an email, while talking to a colleague, while drinking coffee, while wondering what you’ll eat for lunch, while quickly checking that Facebook notification, while picking up your phone that just started to ring. Yeah, that’s some serious multitasking right there! (You must be a woman).
You have a multitude of requests to deal with, from your boss/ artist/ agent/ manager/ label/ partner/ kid/ cat, so you learned to multitask in order to get everything done and make the most of your time.
Except that you’re not, nor were you ever, multitasking.
Rather, you’re switching from one task to another rapidly and continuously, like a kid with ADHD who drank 4 Red Bulls and ate a whole birthday cake for breakfast.
Multitasking doesn’t work and here’s why.
Research has shown that our brains are incapable of focusing on multiple things simultaneously. What it does is switch the focus of your attention between the various tasks at hand, and in turn you work less efficiently on each task. Why? Because it takes time for you to become fully focused again every time you switch task, and your cognitive function becomes increasingly limited as you do this. In the end, the time needed to complete the task increases by a whopping 25% on average.
So, you wanted to increase your performance levels, but the results are actually worse.
Multitasking is dead, people! (cue to men everywhere jumping in joy). In fact, the productivity experts chopped its head off quite a while ago.
Mono-tasking is the new black.
How do you do it? Easy:
• Protect yourself from distractions. Did you know that the average person only gets 3 minutes of work done before they get interrupted? Distractions give you a wonderful excuse to procrastinate, and the more you give in to them, the harder you make it for your brain to learn how to focus. It’s a vicious cycle, which has made our attention span decrease to an average of just 8 seconds (a goldfish now has a greater attention span than a modern human!). It’s time to reclaim your power and rule your technology, instead of letting it rule you: put your phone on silent, close ALL the apps or browser tabs that you’re not using for the task at hand, stick a ‘Do Not Disturb’ post-in on your forehead… basically, use whatever strategy you need to keep distractions at bay.
• Focus on ONE task only, for a set period of time (30 mins is a good place to start). That’s right, whatever happens you’ll do that one thing, and that thing only. It may be hard at first to sustain your focus, but the more you train your brain to do this, the easier it will get with time, thanks to the brain’s ability to rewire itself (aka neuroplasticity).
• Take a short break, rinse and repeat.
I can already hear you say: yeah but if my artist/boss calls I need to answer! If an urgent email lands in my inbox I need to read it! if an important thought pops into my head I don’t want to forget it!
To which, I reply: there are solutions to all these things.
You need to get organised and know how to prioritise so you’re not constantly in firefighting mode. You need to learn how to motivate yourself and stop using distractions as an excuse to procrastinate. You need to create structures to help you stay on track. You need to draw boundaries so your most precious resource (time) is preserved and used in a way that advances your goals.
The good news is I can help you work on these issues when we coach together. I had to upgrade my work habits fast when I became a coach and solopreneur, fulfilling a gazillion different roles by myself without becoming overwhelmed, so I can speak from first hand experience.
When you stop multitasking, resist distractions and train your brain to focus better, you’ll be able to cross things off your ‘to-do’ list faster than ever and walk out of your office/studio feeling accomplished and ready to enjoy your extra free time. Your brain, your personal life, and the pop stars will all thank you.
Ready to uplevel your productivity game? Get in touch now and let’s do this!