My 'reminders list' had 64 open tasks this morning. These range from simply replying to an email to managing projects that will take at least four weeks to see traction. Perhaps understandably therefore, I find it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand before 'fast-switching' to another.
And so re-visited that incessant voice inside my head asking some searching questions about why, how and what I could do to improve. Here is what I found:
- Multi-tasking makes us prone to mistakes.
- Office distractions eat an average time of 2.1 hours per day (per employee).
- Employees spend an average of 11 minutes on one task before getting distracted.
- After an interruption, it takes 25 minutes to 'return to task'.
This means that if we took into equation a standard 8-hour day - with a one-hour break (a what?!), an average employee would have been 'working on-task' no more than three combined hours.
So...how does one look to improve their ability to focus? I've discovered 3 easy steps that help:
1. Getting hit with the stress-bug? Stop!
Become Aware of your surroundings. What is causing you angst?
Breath deeply and count to ten.
Consider your options. Do I stop and fix the problem, or do I ignore and keep going?
2. Restore your minds executive function
Before you start a new task (and for every 5-minutes/per hour), shift your focus from mind-to-body, or body-to-mind.
Look to improve your positive to negative emotions to a 3:1 ration per day.
Exercise, meditate, eat well and get enough sleep.
Start to notice your negative emotion patterns. Can you stop them before they fester? Of course you can!
Try to start each interaction positively and with good humor.
I can't help but wonder what could be achieved should we transform our daily tasks into 55-minute focused sessions, which are interspersed between high-energy movement and positive interaction.
And with that thought firmly planted in my conscious; I'm off for a walk!