If you read my blog, you already know I take regular short breaks when I work in front of the computer.
But let’s take this one step further and see a really powerful productivity tip. Think about this: How long are you able to concentrate at 100% for one single task? By concentrate I mean work on that task alone, without
– checking your emails (or responding to them!)
– talking on the phone or texting
– checking your social media pages or chatting
– doing admin or support work on your sites (unless that is the task you’re focusing on)
– watching the news
– talking to your son/daughter, spouse, neighbor
– drinking your coffee
– grabbing something to eat while trying to focus on your work (God forbid!)
There have been studies showing humans can’t work on a particular task for longer than 90 minutes, without a drastic drop in productivity. It may be less for some, or even way less for the untrained mind to concentrate for longer periods of time. Luckily, we can train ourselves to work in up to 90 minutes bursts of productivity. Followed by a period of rest, physical exercise, cleaning your desk or room/office, eating, shopping or other relaxing activities or routines that are performed almost without thinking.
I’ll admit to you, when I try to focus on one particular task without distractions, it doesn’t always work. But when it does, my productivity soars. One of the other days I managed to keep this cycle of work-relax-work-relax in 60-90 minutes bursts that doubled if not tripled my productivity for the day. And I wasn’t exhausted. Not during the day, not in the evening!
Here are some example of actions you might need to take to be able to concentrate:
– turn off your phone or put it on silent and away from your reach
– quit Skype or go to invisible mode (I always stay available, but if I have something important to work on, I will ignore Skype until later, but others might not be able to do that)
– close your social media pages
– disable auto-checking for new emails
– put on a DO NOT DISTURB sign, but only if you remember to take it down when you’re available ;)
– lock the door if your son/daughter keeps trying to capture your attention when you need to focus (good luck with this one!)
Ok, some of the measures you’ll need to take may seem exaggerated at first glance, but I’ve heard of more drastic examples! If you are constantly distracted and not able to do any effective work, it might be time to try out something else. Whatever you’re currently doing obviously isn’t working!