Those ‘smart’ notifications destroy your focus!

So we sit down ready to focus on the task in hand, having determined what the next most important priority activity is in pursuit of your goal – all the planning has been done, everything is aligned and so we begin.  Then one of the following things inevitably is about to happen:  (1) mobile phone rings (2) text message beeps (3) we glance at our phone and the little notification number has appeared next to either Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube….. (4) someone wanders up to you for a casual chat (5) an email appears in your inbox (6) your mind wanders to think about your boiler or some other less important personal issue….the list goes on and on….the result?  it’s all over, you’re done! – the task you planned to do so carefully now has less than a 50/50 chance of getting completed properly within the allotted time, probably much lower chance to be honest….when you return to the task if you don’t end up procrastinating at this point then you’re doing remarkably well.

The likelihood is that you’ll find something else to get done which is far easier, less effort after this and so the cycle repeats over and over again.  Now taking control and protecting your time is tough, no denying that and it requires discipline but it can and should be done – at least when everything is aligned to achieving the next most important step towards your goal.  Remember we are not settling for mediocre success – we are talking about being unstoppable, the very best and quietly going about our business in pursuit of the next step in becoming a focused success machine that is going places!

We will deal with how to protect your time, how to organise your time, prioritise at a later date but for now please TURN OFF ALL NOTIFICATIONS when you need to focus on a specific task! it’s that simple.  If you’ve allocated half an hour or longer to work on something that requires your absolute concentration then switch it all off….emails, social media, text messages, phone off the hook (if possible)….or better still go find a quiet spot and leave your phone at your desk.  Emergencies only should interrupt your time – nothing is more important than time – it’s yours and plenty of people with different agenda’s will happily waste yours with no regard for you.  You should protect it above everything else because lets face it, you can’t get it back.

So just try it – find a particular task or activity that warrants your focus and energy then clear your mind (recognise when your mind wanders and bring yourself back in the moment) switch off all distractions, put a sign above your computer saying (do not disturb!) and go to work…it’s harder than you think to focus and may take time to build up to this – you want to get in the ‘zone’ and focus 100% – it can be mentally draining to really achieve this state – but you’ll amaze yourself how productive you become.  As with anything start small and build up to longer durations, a little more each day, keep practicing.

Unless social media is your business, or you work in a call centre, or a role that requires communicating regularly on the phone or by message then switch those notifications off, clear the distractions and direct all your energies, thoughts and focus on the task(s) in front of you.  Then the next one and the next one….at the end of the day, reflect on how you felt and what you achieved – did it work?  did you feel more productive?  did you miss anything really important, I mean really?  Your productivity is about to improve as a result.


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