How to have easier, better focus, more done in less time & more freedom & fun
Think of it this way, our brain/body is like a computer, when you have too many programs open or too many browser windows, everything slows down; nothing works effectively and after a while the computer gives you an error message…similar to “hey, I’m exhausted dummy, let me focus on one thing!”
“When you try to multitask or hold information in your working memory it’s extremely exhausting to our brains… makes us less efficient…we are making ourselves switch so often that it’s slowing us down.”*
*Catherine Price, author of How to break up with your phone
Context switching can eat up to 80% of your productive time*
*Computer Scientist, Gerald Weinberg
Multi-tasking is robbing your brain and body and your bank account.
“Unfortunately, the human mind cannot, in fact, multi-task without drastically reducing the quality of our processing. Brain activation for listening is cut in half if the person is trying to process visual input at the same time. A recent study at The British Institute of Psychiatry showed that checking your email while performing another creative task decreases your IQ in the moment 10 points. That is the equivalent of not sleeping for 36 hours-more than twice the impact of smoking marijuana.”
The above quote was excerpted from a beautiful blog post by Timothy Ferris, best-selling author of The 4-hour Work Week. The Multitasking Virus and the End of Learning (part 1)
Don’t force it – It’s counter productive
Much information available is about how to strong-arm our bodies and our time to focus, but life doesn’t have to be a struggle, that’s a myth.
Our spaces, our WFH spaces can be shifted and re-viewed, to naturally allow periods of focus, and get more done in less time with greater creativity and outcome.
We don’t have to FIGHT against constant interruptions, fragmentation, expectations of self and by others. That ‘fighting’ in itself actively breaks down our ability to be effective by placing our bodies into Fight, Flight or Freeze mode (sympathetic nervous system).
Focus, life, love and relationships rise up from the heart and are NATURAL when we remove the blocks in our habits of mind/body/spirit/space. It doesn’t have to be hard, a fight, or a struggle.
Kids have it going on. Have you ever been around a little child who is engaged in what she or he is doing? The focus is laser-like, the experience is joy. Our modern world has it backwards…it’s up to us to put it back.
Use Your Spaces to Support you
Our spaces must be arranged to support us which will allow us to create beautiful work, accurate documents and in the meantime increase our immune systems.
We can be healthier and happier which in itself leads to success. Feng Shui’s focus is to restore freedom. Feng Shui makes the connection between environment and body, health and effectiveness. Stripped of cultural mythology, the concepts are deep within the body’s physiological response to the environment, and the built environment.
To get more done in less time, here are some ways to SHIFT your spaces, and uplift your mind/body/spirit.
1 Consider Routines that Support You. We are creatures of routine…create routines that strengthen you. In particular: how you start your day sets the tone. Get up, have a big drink of fresh water (add some lemon is you can), exercise (for a fresh mind and freed emotional body), sit in silence for 5-20 minutes, eat a healthy breakfast, read something renewing and you’ll be excited to live your best life.
2 Design Your Space to Make Your Routine Easy. Don’t be afraid to move things around to serve your body’s needs, as in the Time-Motion Studies of the early 20th century. A place for everything near where you will help your routine solidify and support you.
3 Train others to respect your focus: Close your office door, face in a way that allows you to avoid being interrupted by flashes of traffic so you can focus only on the task at hand, or announce what you are doing “I am going to focus on this for the next hour, I’ll get back to you after that.” Have a ready self-protecting expectation like, “I only have a few minutes, I am happy to talk longer after 4:30.” Other ways: only check email or social media 2-3 time a day. Notify everyone that you check email at 8:30, 11:30 and 4:30. They will adapt and you’ll have cleared up space to do the important things in your world. In a work cubicle? Have a sign ready: “Thank you for your consideration, I’ll be available after 4:00 and able to check email then too.”
4 Pulse: The ability to have clean focus requires clean breaks: drop it, go outside, don’t think about it and then return refreshed.
- plan to focus for spans of no more than 20 to 45 uninterrupted minutes:
- focus and then relax
- take a break, move away from your desk, walk around
- move your body, shift your awareness to beauty
- go outside, open a window, drink some fresh water.
5 Renew yourself
- THIS is very important: take extended time off, at least 3 nights and 2 full days a week and at least 1-2 weeks a quarter.
- Microsoft’s study showed that productivity rose 40%, employees were 20% more efficient AND HAPPIER by the introduction of a 32-hour 4-day workweek. More than 32 hours of work per week was counterproductive.
Let’s SHIFT Your Spaces
If your home and office do not create a background for your life that is supportive, you would do well to review them and make simple Shifts to better succeed at everything.
Where to start?
1 Start where you are. Breathe.
- One 4-second breath through your nose pause your brain’s conflict center, expand your sense of time and restore you to the present moment.
- Choose YOU.
- Choose to say NO to distractions.
- Choose to say YES to yourself.
- Choose to live with intention…even if for only 1 minute, then two minutes.
- Choose to allow the richness of your being emerge from under the weight of time-boundaries, expectations, distractions, fear, doubt…let them go.
3 Clear the space.
- Choose to clear one small space today…perhaps your desk top, your actual desktop or your computer’s desktop. (I create a folder on my Desktop that says “Desktop” and place all the other icons in there. I know where they are and I am not distracted by all the images.)
- Discard or archive anything you haven’t used in 60 days
- Wipe your Workspace with fresh water and lemon, perhaps a bit of lavender or citrus essential oil, then stand back and smile.
4 Download the Guide
- I have also created a downloadable guide to help you look at your workspaces the way the body does and know which changes are vital to your focus, freedom and fun.
- Download the Free Guide Here
Wishing you clarity and joy,
More info about Context Shifting from this online article at RescueTime:blog
- Focusing on one task at a time = 100% of your productive time available
- Juggling two tasks at a time = 40% of your productive time for each and 20% lost to context switching
- Juggling three tasks at a time = 20% of your productive time for each and 40% lost to context switching
With most workers these days trying to juggle 5 tasks at the same time, we’re losing up to 80% of our productive time each day just to context switching.*