Louise Thompson: Productivity hacks part 4
6 Close some apps
Having a heap of projects we are procrastinating on and avoiding while prioritising less important stuff is a big energy sucker. I think we are all familiar with the sensation of throwing ourselves into some very urgent and important cleaning or filing or what have you when there is a tricky and confrontational phone call to be made.
If the thing needs to be done, and we leave it persistently undone, it’s silently sucking energy in the background while we are doing our best to distract ourselves and ignore it. When we have lots of those things silently sucking our energy it’s like having our phone run down fast because we have 23 apps open in the background, sucking all the battery.
The technique here is to take action when your energy is the most focused and the most determined — which for most people is first thing in the morning. Make your first job in the morning to tackle those unpleasant tasks you have been procrastinating and ignoring.
When you do that and grit your teeth and get them done first up, you will notice a few really interesting things. Firstly it’s usually never as bad as we thought it was going to be.
Secondly it takes way less time than we thought it would — we can procrastinate on things for four months that take eight minutes to complete once we get our heads down.
And thirdly, the rush of energy and power that comes back into your system having effectively shut down those background energy suckers is amazing. My clients are always amazed just how much more they enjoy their working day and have the energy for so much more when they use this technique.
7 Go dark
Okay so it depends where you work and what you do, but if you can schedule some time each day or each week to work offline you will be amazed at the boost in your productivity levels. Why is this? It’s to do with the quality of your energy and your focus.
Each time your email goes ding, or your phone pings a notification at you and you stop what you are doing, it takes a number of minutes to get back to the groove you were in, in the task you were doing at the time. Your energy is split, and that, my friend, makes you slow and unproductive.
Your focus is pulled out into someone else’s agenda and away from the thing you had determined was your most important thing to tackle in that moment — which is your agenda. There are actually very few people with jobs who can’t afford to Go Dark for an hour or two (unless you are an air traffic controller or similar) to work on their own agenda.
This is honestly one of the most productive things you can do. Turn your phone to silent, and your email to “work offline” then focus 100 per cent on whatever you determine to be the most important. Clear your email without it filling up again — very satisfying — and you actually feel like you are making progress.
Write that report with a laser focus in half the time. Get that tricky complaint document done with thoughtfulness so it provides the outcome you actually want. When you have single-minded focus, your quality and output is startlingly higher. If you want to achieve more and therefore leave work on time, diarise an hour or more of time to “Go Dark” each day and see it happen almost by magic.
Through her online Happiness programme “Wellbeing Warriors”, life coach Louise Thompson helps people unlock their happiest and healthiest life. Sign up at louisethompson.com and find more from Louise at bite.co.nz/wellbeing