Your Attention Span is Worse Than a Gold Fish
If you’re reading this right now, pat yourself on the back. It took you around 8 seconds to get to this intro, which according to a study by Microsoft is the average attention span of a digitally connected consumer. This is comparable to that of a goldfish. As a business owner you wear many hats in the course of a day. In our effort to beat the clock we run the risk of burn out and playing havoc with our careers because we feel like we’re falling behind. In many cases, multitasking is not optional, it’s necessary.
I’m at the office on a Saturday working on 5 different things as I write this article.
- I’m writing this article
- I’m checking my live chat (to the bottom right of this article, message us and say hi!)
- I’m downloading a copy of a website on our FTP
- I have a guest checking into my Airbnb so I’m messaging them
- Lex is loading in new creative services in our on-demand dashboard so we’re going back and forth on the whiteboard
The list continues.
A few months ago while listening to NPR I came across a time optimizing exercise called single tasking. According to Doctor James Rouse, co-founder of the Healthy Skoop, our brains are not built to multi task.
Our mind is wire to focus on one task at a time. He claims when we’re multi tasking we’re simply stopping one task and leaving it unfinished then switching back to another. We finish about 50 percent less when trying to tackle multiple tasks at once, instead of focusing and completing tasks in a linear function.
Give it a try. Take 1 hour a day and dedicate it to a single task. Turn off your phone, your music, and close your office door. You may find that you end up with a more productive morning.
Here are 4 More Ways to be Productive Today
Time Management Skill #1: You must overcome procrastination
Procrastination is the desire to put things off until the last minute. This causes stress and in turn lower quality work. Planning is your best weapon to battle the urge to procrastinate. Take time each evening to plan your activities for the next day. The secret to planning is building in time for interruptions that you know will come your way.
Time Management Skill #2: Handle daily interruptions professionally
With interruptions comes frustration and stress. The best solution to being interrupted is to step back and decide whether or not the situation is a high value interruption. This is an opportunity to stop and critically analyze the problem and decide if taking of it now will actually move you closer to your goals. If not, politely ask if this can be taken care of at another time.
Time Management Skill #3: Fight the Urge for Perfectionism
In general small business owners have a high need for control. This need can lead to delays in getting a product to market or fulfillment of a service to the customer. Sometimes is it best to let things go as they are and move on to the next project. When you are working on a project go ahead and set a deadline for the task to be completed and then stop. By adjusting your standard you will get more completed in less time and with less frustration.
Time Management Skill #4: Set Personal Deadlines
Challenging yourself to get work done earlier than scheduled is the greatest feeling. By working fast you allow yourself the freedom and flexibility to exceed expectations of your customer. And if there is a problem you will have built in time to correct any situation that may come up.
Time Management Skill #5: Use Simple Systems
As Americans we love our technology. The electronics industry makes billions of dollars selling all sorts of electronic appliances and computer applications. This is great but sometimes a simple piece of paper and pen will get the task accomplished faster. Keep this in mind whenever you get the urge to buy technology. Also be sure to group similar tasks together. This will reduce time in setup and tear down and save you money in the long run.