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Rethinking your day for maximum productivity

Do you remember the last time you focused so completely on something that it consumed you entirely? Possibly not because there’s so much vying for your attention these days: email, social media, Slack, meetings, the news, the family, the tea kettle…

It’s mentally exhausting. That’s why we’d like to talk about the concept of ‘monotasking’. You may have come across it as you distractedly switched between tabs on your browser. Monotasking is slowly eclipsing ‘multitasking’ as more people re-learn how to focus.

In fact, according to the Psychology Today’s ‘The Myth of Multitasking' article, the neurological truth is that we don’t multitask. We toggle back and forth between tasks. We’d be more efficient if we single-tasked with a conscious start and stop to each task

One great way to apply monotasking to your work life is by rethinking the structure of your day so you can get more done.

Tip 1: Be selfish with your time

While working collaboratively and building a great team culture is of paramount importance today, you do need time for yourself to really get stuff done. 

What can you do?

  • Block out 15-20 minutes in your calendar every morning. Scheduling this precious ‘me-time’ as a regular, recurring event will help you (and others) take it seriously. Plus it will be visible to anyone checking your availability.
  • If staying at your desk is too distracting, find an empty meeting room, step away from your home office or desk, or stay at your local coffee shop long enough to digest the day’s priorities and get your head in the game.
  • Create company-wide focus times when everyone can do deep work for an hour or two (or more) and meetings can’t be booked over that time.

Tip 2: Make your to-do list more meaningful

Do you have a to-do list that never seems to end? If so, maybe it’s time to rethink what you put on it. 

What can you do?

  • The good old post-it note check. If it can’t fit on a post-it note, your to-do list is simply too long!
  • Depending on how precise you want to be, you could organise your to-dos by setting A, B and C priorities. Always start with a high-priority ‘A’ task, even if you can only accomplish a small part of it, and leave the low-value administrative tasks for later.
  • Once you’ve prioritised what you need to do, realistically assess the amount of time things are going to take.
  • Add some buffer space – even if it’s just an extra half hour which doesn’t have anything specific assigned to it. That way you don’t have to stress if a particular job takes longer than expected.

Tip 3: Delegate Better

Try as you might, you can’t do everything under the sun, and you shouldn’t even try! Unfortunately delegation is often considered a sign of weakness and associated with a loss of control, when in reality, it’s totally the opposite. Done right, delegation can be super empowering both for the delegator and delegatee.

As a leader, you’re letting others members in your team step up and achieve greater responsibility. You might be surprised at the fresh new perspectives that start flowing in. Great leaders grow leaders!

What can you do?

  • Assess the skill set in your team and allocate jobs accordingly.
  • Establish open communication channels so that task progress can be updated regularly and feedback and questions flow easily (WorkflowMax is a great help for assigning and managing jobs, tasks and staff).

Tip 4: Narrow your focus with helpful tools

Still feeling your attention wandering? There’s a tool for that!

What can you do?

  • Whether you have an iOS or Android phone, you can set up a focus mode to pause alerts and notifications when you’re busy. Look in your phone’s settings to set it up. 
  • On your computer, you can try Freedom or RescueTime to block distractions.
  • If you and your team need help capturing your new-found focused time, WorkflowMax lets you track your time in eight different ways to make sure you never miss a minute. 

Tip 5: Know your pivot points

Everyone’s productive time is different. Your productivity might ebb and flow depending on how much coffee or food is in your system, or when you last moved around! The point is to recognise your flow and then to tackle tasks in those zones.

What can you do?

  • Schedule the most complex tasks during your more productive periods.
  • Save admin and ‘easier’ tasks for times of the day when you need less brain power.

Bonus Tip: Rethink your WEEK next...

Once you’ve got your days flowing smoothly, think bigger and consider the week. Use the time you’re hopefully saving to explore new ideas and opportunities.

What can you do?

  • Schedule team catch-ups for Mondays when everyone is fresh from the weekend. Set priorities for the upcoming week and list the accomplishments of the previous one.
  • Use Wednesday as a mid-week pitstop to meet up, refuel and recharge. 
  • Have some fun on Fridays – socialise in person or by video. Set up brainstorming or feedback sessions. Connect and collaborate to move your business forward.

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Charlotte Gasson
Charlotte Gasson is the Marketing Coordinator for WorkflowMax. She loves seeing technology make life easier and more organised for people and is thrilled to be part of a team that gets to transform businesses every day.

Charlotte Gasson