Focus, Prioritisation and Rest are Indispensable Parts of Your Success Toolkit
The best way to achieve greatness, become a super achiever and to excel at everything you do is to strive to focus 100 % of your attention on whatever you are doing at that time. When you are working, place all your energy into delivering the best possible outcome you can achieve, strive to always work as effectively as you can. The same is true for when you are resting, enjoying a hobby or recharging your batteries; focus all your attention on the task at hand. The secret to success is focus. Wherever you are or whatever you are doing, be there completely.
Common Sense is Seldom Common Practice
I am sure that you are thinking this all sounds like common sense and as such you would assume that everybody lives their lives like this. Unfortunately some things that are common knowledge are seldom common practice. Very few people give 100 % to the task at hand. They spend their day in distraction and never give their full attention to anything. When you make this shift, and give 100 % to everything you do, you will be more focused on the specific task at hand and your energy will all flow towards making you operate as effectively as possible.
Distraction is the Enemy of Success
Too many people allow themselves to be distracted from what they are doing at that time. When they are working, they are thinking about friends, rest, recreation or other distractions and while they are spending time with friends’ or family or they are involved in recreational activities, they constantly think about work. I believe this is the reason why so many people struggle to find harmony and balance in their lives.
The challenge to most people and the reason they feel like they are spinning their wheels every day, achieving very little, is that they are constantly focused on something else. As you know wherever you attention goes, you energy flows. The constant distraction most people engage in every day and lack of focus on the task at hand allows energy to flow away from where it should be and results in unsatisfactory results.
During rest when people should be recharging their batteries they are constantly thinking about work and what they failed to achieve, because when they were working, they were focused on resting and recharging their batteries. This is a downward spiral and over time causes burnout and very poor performance.
Planned Rest Periods
Action Idea: The way to fix this is pretty simple. Start with the all-important rest periods. Make rest a priority, so that you can recharge your batteries and raise your energy levels. Ensure that you have planned rest scheduled into your dairy at the beginning of every week.
- Plan your day at the beginning of each week and plan to work in focused segments of 90 minute each. During each segment you will tackle and complete only a few selected priority tasks. At the end of each segment plan a rest period of between five or ten minutes, to recharge your batteries and to prepare for the next 90 minutes of priority focused activity and productivity. These are short rests of around five or ten minutes, where you walk away from your desk. Clear your mind and recharge your batteries. It sounds counter intuitive, to plan breaks in your day, when you have so much to do. The reality is that when you work in short focused bursts of concentration and productivity, you get so much more done each day and you also get the added benefit where you feel far more rested and driven.
- “Done for the Day” Plan a time in your day, when you hang up your pen for the day, forget about any work challenges and you simply rest and recharge your batteries. It does not matter what time you choose, to be “Done for the Day”, but it most certainly does matter that you switch off completely, when you are done for the day, so that you can recharge your batteries and prepare to give your best the next day. Give yourself permission to rest and unwind at the end of each day, it will add hours of productive work to your schedule each day.
- Schedule at least 24 hours of total rest, into your diary each week. During these 24 hours, you must give yourself permission to switch off completely from work and just relax and recharge your batteries. This will allow you to be refreshed and fired up when the nest week starts.
When you plan for rest periods and introduce them into your schedule, your productivity will soar; you will feel energised and will achieve so much more each week.
Making it Work for You
Plan your week in advance each Sunday evening and try to include all the elements, described below:
- Plan your days and schedule your week to include focused, priority driven and energised 90 minute segments, throughout each day.
- Plan rest periods at the end of each 90 minute segment and throughout your day. These are opportunities to reflect, rest and recharge your batteries.
- Set a time aside each day when you will stop working. The time you choose is unique to you, I choose 20H00 each day.
- Plan to review your day. The best time for this is about 20 minutes before you have chosen to be done for the day. During the last 20 minutes of each day I review my day, measure my performance and check to see if the outcomes I achieved are in line with expectations.. This takes about 5 minutes.
- Any tasks that I was unable to complete that day. I place onto my dairy as one of my first priorities for the next morning.
- I then spend 15 minutes planning for the next day. I include as much information in this process as possible. For example: if I need to make a call, I ensure that I include the telephone number etc. The more thoroughly I can plan for the next day and the more detail I provide, the less time I waste looking for any info I may need the next day.
- I then feel comfortable that everything is taken care of and I switch off from work mode and move into rest and recharge mode.
Since I have followed this weekly ritual and introduced these new daily habits into my life. I have seen remarkable improvements in both my productivity and sense well-being. I feel far more rested and inspired every day and I finally feel satisfied at the end of the day, because I am getting my priorities done every day.
Working in focused bursts of energy, where you actually complete tasks, rest and then tackle the next priority task, removes the feeling of overwhelm and equips you to finish all those things you never seem to have time for each day. Give whatever you are doing the gift of your complete attention. Pay attention; stop staggering through your day any longer. Focus your energy on getting as much as possible from your day and you will no longer feel like your day is in your way.