By Neil Phillips.
Face it. You are the most limited resource that you have. You never have enough of you to go around. The 24 hour day is not long enough. You are feeling pressured to get more done at both work and home; the guilt is starting to pile up. You are caught up in the hamster wheel of life. You even start talking about cutting back to 6 hours of sleep a night to have time to get more done. (True story. As a coach, I’ve had this conversation with more than one person!) You are caught up in the hamster wheel of life. You’ll do anything to get some control back.
And then you wake up at 2:00 a.m. and realize that Thanksgiving is only seven days away. Your mind starts swimming, and an hour later you decide you are done with sleep for the night.
With so much going on, you’ve lost focus. You lose track of what’s important and what’s not. And the longer it goes on, the harder it becomes to remain productive. Here are four ways that you can start to move back to the focused zone.
Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.
If there is never enough of you and never enough time, admit you can’t do it all and move on. What’s important? Answer that question and do those things first. One person I know asks herself the question every morning, “What am I going to finish today?” For her, it becomes a great way to get things done.
Burn excess energy.
When you get anxious about your productivity, your lizard brain kicks into high gear and pushes you into the scared rabbit zone. That’s counterproductive to just about everything. Use up that negative energy so your brain can calm down and process better. Go for a walk or exercise. Meditate. Take a break for a set time. Find something to make you laugh.
When you are having trouble maintaining focus, remove distractions. Don’t take your phone to that meeting! Move out from behind your computer when someone comes to talk (maybe you can just shut off the screen.) Remove distractions and you will start to get a better focus. Now work on putting up that stop sign when your brain wants to flip around. When you start to realize this is happening, take a breath and then make a deliberate decision to stay the course or shift to a new work topic.
When it’s time to change your focus, do it deliberately. Shift your mindset to the new task. Start by taking a break. Go to the bathroom or have a stretch break; the key is physically and mentally break up the zone. That will help reboot your brain. After the break, you can start the new job. You have consciously changed, and that will make a world of difference.
As your productivity increases, work to build these strategies into your work routine. Physically do something differently, clean out the workspace, and make your changes deliberate. The focus will come with the changes in your habits.
What’s your strategy for handling the overwhelm? Start it before anxiety hits and keep your focus productive.
Who helps you with your productivity?
Every leader learns they can’t do it alone. You need a spark to set your goals, an ear to listen, and resources that you can use. At Team Connections Pro, you’ll find all three. You can join our Facebook group and see what other leaders are doing. You can access well over 100 hours of video and audio, as well as training documents and eBooks. And you can have a professional coach to support you along the way.