What is the largest time management hurdle in the 21st Century?
Whoops! Focus has just slipped through your grasp and shattered on the floor. It is the distractions, the expectations, and the urgency that trap you into juggling time. The distraction of being connected to fast-paced, modern tools and resources drains you. Only recently have these modern distractions become easily available to everyone including our children.
Are the modern tools and resources we create panning out?
In 1997 I had a beeper, a minimal, simple, mobile device, cool tech in those days. Working in the fields on a farm I could not head down to a phone immediately. I believed having the capacity to receive missed calls and beeper codes was valuable. When my beeper sounded it was a distraction. I became less focused on the job before me by wondering who called and what they called for. Brian, my supervisor, even mentioned this to me. He suggested I get a cell phone instead. Cell phones were just starting to make traction, but the expense was more than I could afford. Was a cell phone really the answer or a bigger distraction? I would see him on it periodically during the day and even while we were planting and harvesting crops. Now, there are far less automobile accidents riding in a combine in the middle of a 800 acre corn field, but distractions were a factor even in that case.
Concentrate on the most important task without distraction.
In some cases I wish I could take some technology away. Mobile supremacy has cost people’s lives when they text and drive. So, we create distracted driving laws to protect ourselves from ourselves. If your more important task is to go home, you should concentrate on that without distraction. I realize how much of an advantage technology is. Technology has increased my personal development and growth further than I would have ever imagined. Texting and driving is just one example of multitasking. I am certain you can think of dozens of other ways you multitask within your work and outside of it. Applying your mind to one task is the best use of time and important to success.
Can you really focus on two thoughts at one time?
Let us be really honest here. You can only address one thing at one time. Multitasking really does not exist. You cannot do two things at one time. What you are really doing is changing from one task to the next. Multitasking or changing task really does not save time. Any time you come back to the task, you are investing additional time in reviewing what you completed and where to begin. Task shifting does not pay off. You are just wasting energy and will. Having all the knowledge, skills and creativity will not produce the best efforts if you cannot focus. To be more effective, focus on a singular task at one time.
Focus on the top priorities for efficiency, not systems.
When you focus on one thing you become more efficient and make less errors. You can gain more value from your focus if you stay on an initial task. You can do a brain dump and list out all your thoughts and tasks. Keeping a handy list is a great way to get things done. To effectively manage your time you have to focus on that one thing intensely. Do not let the list distract you from the top priority. You can read hundreds of blog posts, productivity books and try dozens of productivity techniques and none of them are incorrect. Some work for people and some do not. Those systems are about finding the right fit for the right person. Spending all your time searching for the right system is a distraction to getting things done. Maybe that is why self-help and productivity is a 10-billion dollar industry in 2014. Find a system and stick to it and focus on your top priority until completion.
The only thing that will never change in productivity is to focus, concentrate, and center on one thing, the most important thing, your top priorities. Stay focused on the singular task for greater achievement. Do not let distractions, expectations and the sense of urgency get in the way of getting things done.