It’s not just about working hard, it’s also about working smart.
Working hard is not enough these days, you need to be smart about how you go about it. You need to be clear on what you intend to achieve and what is the best method to get it.
Today I am going talk about my inefficient day. I was required to complete a report at work, so I set aside some time in the afternoon to get started on it. After completing the simple layout and design, I went to focus on my content. The content was probably going to take about an hour and a half at most. But after an agonising 2 hours, I gave up.
It was a very unfulfilling 2 hours. I was too distracted and my focus kept leaving me. I was just unable to focus and complete my report.
Feel the same?
I am sure most of us have all gone through such days. We would plan and come up with a list of things we would like to do. But as we are attempting our first task, it drags way longer than expected and there isn’t enough time to finish everything. We end up feeling “unproductive and slow” and wished we could have done better.
I realized for me, there are 3 steps that works and here they are.
1 – Have a start and end timing.
This means before doing anything on your to do list or any work that you intend to attempt, you need to note how long you are going to do it.
For me, I personally feel I work best when I keep everything I do between 45 mins to 1 hour. I feel that this is the optimum timing for me to do focused and motivated work. Because knowing how long I have to work on my task keeps me focused and dialed in. This way I can also ensure I don’t spend too long on a task because I can keep track of when I started.
2 – Run away from all distractions.
Seriously, put away all distractions. If you are trying to work on an idea but you are surfing social media, using your phone and having a few tabs open at the same time. You are not going to get much done. Your mind will just be too distracted and you will have to keep trying to remember what you were doing earlier before you stopped to browse social media.
I know it’s tempting but the feeling of having an unproductive session is just not worth it.
Here’s what I do. I put my phone away from me, turning off the data. Sometimes if I am writing articles on my laptop, I’ll even turn the WiFi off until I need to use it to upload my work.
I found that I have this natural reaction to just open tabs and go to YouTube when I’m feeling bored when working. But when I turn off the WiFi and the page says no internet connection, it jolts and remind me to get back and finish my work. (No YouTube until you finish your work!)
3 – Be realistic with the list.
Be realistic with yourself when planning your to do list. If you pack it too tightly from 1 task to another, hardly giving yourself any time to rest or relax, is it really possible to not feel tired or lose energy and focus? Do you really expect to always feel energetic and hyped all the time?
Of course some people can do it, but when we are just starting out, remember to take baby steps! Don’t stuff the whole day full of activities and feel upset that you cannot complete all the tasks in one go. Set ample time for yourself to rest and recover. It’s about making sustainable progress to your goals and not doing as much as you can today and taking the next few days off.
The bad days must pass, so the good days can come
We’ve all have bad days. Days when things don’t go as planned, distractions happen and work just takes longer than expected. But the most important thing is to honestly never give up.
Use your unproductive days as your learning experiences and always strive to learn how to be more consistent and productive everyday!
I always say that we overestimate what we can do in a day and underestimate what we can do in a year.
Think long term and let’s make the rest of this year productive!
Let me know in the comments below what are some ways or methods you use to focus while doing work. Do you face this problem as well? As always thanks for reading and hope you have a great day!