In the past most businesses have focused on time management as the key to work performance. In today’s business environment, however, time management is secondary. We have many time saving devices. We are also more conscious of time wasting. The bigger issue has become our ‘attention bandwidth’. That is, how much of our attention is broken throughout the day. Here are 5 things I do to protect my attention bandwidth.
1. DON’T CHECK YOUR EMAIL FIRST THING IN THE MORNING. Emails are time vampires. You will get reeled into reading or doing stuff that is not important. Before you know it you will have wasted an hour of your day before you even get started. And you would have wasted your most valuable morning energy and focus on the least important stuff.
2. TURN OFF ALL TECHNOLOGY for 60 minutes a day and focus on doing your most important work. The best time is when you first start working.
3. TURN ELECTRONIC NOTIFICATIONS OFF. That is, rings and vibrations telling you have mail or SMS.
You could be analyzing something or talking to a colleague or client and suddenly you get a message. Now your focusing not on what you are doing or on what the person is saying. But rather on whom that message could be from? That break in concentration will lead to poor service or mistakes.
The other dangerous thing about notifications is that it constantly trains our mind to focus on what else we should be doing next? Instead of what is happening now. It takes us out of the moment.
Turn off notifications and check emails and SMS when you want to.
4. BRAIN DUMP in your diary at the end of each day. Write your ‘to do’ for the next day. It gets things out of your mind so you can switch off and focus on your family when you get home.
5. TURN YOUR PHONE OFF WHEN YOU GET HOME. A lot of people in sales fall into this trap. They feel that they have to be at call 24 hours. They don’t want to miss a call. But customers do not expect that. They expect to deal with someone real; someone with a life! So turn off your phone as soon as you get into your driveway. Go inside and connect with your family.