How to Stay More Focused in 5 Simple Steps

We live in a multitasking world. We are constantly bombarded by messages via email, LAN line phones, TV, radio, mobile devices, text messages, pop-ups on the internet, global conference calls at weird hours… the list goes on. We think we can handle it, but all this multitasking and gear-switching robs us of our productivity while deluding us with thoughts that we’re accomplishing more than we are. In order to get more things done, it’s important to follow some simple rules. I know rules are a challenge for creative, free-flowing types but trust me, incorporating a bit of structure will facilitate the achievement of your goals faster flitting from one thing to another. Here are 5 simple steps to getting more things done faster. 1. Look at the task. That may seem like a weird statement. If the task, for example, is to clean your messy desk, looking at that messy desk is likely to overwhelm or even frustrate you. It may make you want to run out of the room screaming and find something more pleasant to do like chat with a co-worker or get something to eat. What if the task is a writing an article or an email? Sharing at a blank piece of paper or empty ‘new message’ window, could paralyze you. So why do I suggest that you look at the task? Because it will allow you to focus. Take a few slow deep breaths. Allow yourself to relax a bit. Don’t judge yourself, the task or the person who assigned it to you. Just breathe and relax. Close your eyes if that helps you...

Your Comfort Zone Is a Kill Zone

I just came back from a speaking engagement. I had tailored the talk a bit: first, because I had less time than normal and second, because it was a new, special market. Even in the short time I presented, I found myself talking more than usual about our comfort zones. It didn’t occur to me how important a topic it was until several people came up afterward to thank me and when asked “what touched you the most?”, they replied quietly and thoughtfully, “the comfort zone part”. I looked up the definition of a ‘kill zone’ and found it to mean “the area of a military engagement with a high concentration of fatalities”. So, based on this premise, your comfort zone has created, swept under the rug and buried “a high concentration of fatalities”. Think about it. Your comfort zone is a vast wasteland of…opportunities you let slip by, dreams you didn’t pursue, relationships you were afraid to develop, jobs you didn’t take, dead-end jobs you didn’t leave, calls you didn’t make, gigs you let someone else win, important conversations you stuffed, trips you didn’t go on, stands you should have taken but didn’t, differences you could have made but ignored, fears you let dominate and prevail, personal growth you didn’t experience. Have I said enough? Are you squirming yet? I am. We all have a comfort zone. We often don’t even notice it. We delude ourselves into thinking it’s a happy, safe place. And at some level, it is. But at what cost? If you could trade that safety for deeper relationships, being fully expressed, earning more money,...

5 Ways to Improve Your Productivity and Get More of the Right Stuff Done

One of my speaking gigs is being an Actor for a local hospital. They give me a script and I act out various patient roles for nurses in training or those going for a professional certification. The hospital staff and I evaluate them and provide feedback on their patient care style and medical expertise. On my last gig, we were conducting certification testing for trauma nurses. It quickly became evident that those that followed the system they had been taught, were WAY more likely to diagnose my ailments and save my life than those who were just ‘shooting from the hip’ trying to figure out what was wrong with me and what they should do about it. That experience started me thinking about the value of process and systems in improving productivity and efficiency at work. Here are some tips you can apply even though you may NOT be a nurse. 1. Have a process and use it. Shooting from the hip wastes time. Without a process, you’ll waste time and won’t get the desired results as quickly as you might need them. Even for simple activities,using a framework will keep you focused, on task and produce more consistent, reliable results. 2. Make a list of your next day high priority activities BEFORE you leave work. This will allow you to ‘hit the ground running’ when you get in first thing. You won’t waste that early morning quiet time (if you have it) trying to figure out what to focus on. Even if, especially if, you have a full day right off the bat, knowing what you’ll do before...