Focus is a great time management technique. Many of you like to think you can multi-task ,and women are purportedly supposed to be good at it, but the truth is no one is good at it. Let me explain what I mean by multi-tasking. Multi-tasking isn’t planning ahead and recognizing that if you turn the oven on it can be heating while you’re putting a load of clothes in the washer so they can be washing while you prepare dinner. That’s efficiency not multi-tasking. Multi-tasking is when you think you can read your email, write a report, and give someone a verbal message while you’re talking on the phone. When you do that everything takes you longer, and you end up having to go back and correct mistakes.

You can’t possibly focus on thinking, talking, and writing all at the same time. Your brain simply isn’t wired that way. When you try to multi-task you aren’t focused on anything, everything takes longer, and you make more mistakes than you normally would if you just focused. Stop this insanity by developing the self-discipline to focus on one thing at a time so you can move to the next thing quicker, or you can take a much needed break. When you’re trying to read your email or write something at the same time as you’re talking to someone else either on the phone or in person you are sending a message loud and clear that says, “you aren’t important enough for me to devote my attention to so go away”. Is that the message you want to send?

Learning to group or categorize things is an effective time management technique. Rather than trying to deal with everything as it comes at you take control, and plan when you will respond or act on each group or category. Check and respond to your email no more than 1-3 times a day. When you check your email every time a new message arrives in your inbox you’re not only losing the 2-5 minutes you spend on the email, but your losing the time it takes you to return to what you were working on and get regrouped.

When you don’t focus you start, stop, and regroup dozens of times before you finish anything. With all that starting, stopping, and regrouping you could have had time to really enjoy something. Instead you end up feeling stressed out and overwhelmed because you feel inundated by a sea of endless tasks. Answering the phone and stopping your work just because it rings or talking with anyone who happens to walk by is just as bad.

You may not have a door you can close or someone who can act as a filter for you, but you can rely on your ability to focus as a time management technique that works for you. Have you ever noticed how mothers can drive around with a car full of screaming kids and not even notice all the noise? That’s because they’ve trained themselves to focus in spite of all this apparent chaos. It’s actually a matter of self-preservation through focus, but isn’t that what you’re faced with too? Aren’t you to the point where your just stressed out and overwhelmed by too much stimuli keeping you from being productive. Focus is your self-preservation self-discipline tool that will enable you to survive and thrive in highly demanding situations.

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