I don't know if you heard this or not, but multi-tasking died in 2009. In order to make a real impact in this world, it's essential to create a focus zone. Shift happens when we have the space to be single minded.
Major gains in any project are made when we find our perfect formula for focus and go there often.
It's natural for the inner villain to pipe up when you create this space. It often says, "You can't just focus on one thing. You have so many things to do"!
What the villain doesn't know is that more things get done when we create the space to start and finish them. And, the more we complete, the more productive we become because we gain momentum when we feel a sense of accomplishment.
My Focus Zone looks like this:
- Phone off
- A specific task to complete has been outlined and sits in front of me (ex. complete blog on focus zone)
- Desk cleared
- Email closed
- Internet off (a biggie! google searches can be addictive when you start to struggle)
- A small pad of paper at a far corner of my desk for "backburner" items that come up in my mind and try to take me off task. I write them down and deal with them later.
- A timer set beside me for a designated amount of time (usually for 45 minutes, but can be up to 2 hours)
- silence in the background - or occasionally music, but something ambient without words.
- A glass of water or a coffee.
- And I've usually done some sort of physical activity within an hour and a half beforehand.
Without my focus zone, my mind races with my list of things to do. I can be so easily distracted. I find my villain comes in to attack me often when I haven't created boundaries. Sometimes I can start writing an email, then go to a website to reference something, then hit up facebook "just to see", then remember something else I forgot to do, then start walking to the kitchen to write myself a note, then unload the dishwasher, then fold some clothes, then play with Cooper, then check my twitter on my blackberry and then come back to my computer half an hour later having completely forgot that I was even writing that original email.
I have found that creating a focus zone in my life has literally doubled my productivity. I have become so much more effective because I have the space to get things done. I'll admit, some days it's hard to go there - especially when my list of tasks is overwhelmingly long. But the thing I've found is that I get things done faster and of higher quality when I simply focus on one thing at a time.
So, now it's your turn. What does your focus zone look like? I'd love to hear your comments!