Are you looking for answers as to why you feel the way you do?

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Multi -tasking is sold to us as a sign of high productivity and those who can get more done are “good multi-taskers”. It is considered a skill in the corporate world and encouraged, and yet the science shows that it is less effective than focusing on one thing at a time and getting it done. This because when we get into the zone of focus, we truly can get things done, and every time we get pulled out of it, it will take us 20 minutes to get back into the “zone”.
While it might feel like multi-tasking is the way to accomplish a lot, you waste a lot of time “getting into the zone of focus” throughout your day. You are better off time blocking your bigger tasks / projects and turning off all notifications and blocking 45 minutes to do just that 1 thing that must get done and when that is done, take a break for a quick walk and then come back to whatever else you need to work on next.

Did you know 1 hour of focused time equals the same as 3 hours of unfocused time in terms of what you can accomplish!  For most people their focus is best first thing in the morning, so plan your day around getting your biggest tasks / projects done when you know you are best able to focus.

This is like the story of the tortoise and the hare – slowing down and focusing, rather than trying to rush through and get it all done, will result in you accomplishing more in less time, as counter intuitive as that sounds to all of us.

How Do You Get Back Into The Focused State When You Have Been Interrupted?

  • Use Meditation Apps: There are apps out there that have meditations that only last 5 minutes. 5 minutes is all your brain needs to come out of a panic state.
  • Breathing exercises for 5 minutes. Even if there you must go to a break room, take 5 minutes, and calm your breathing down. When you mediate or do breathing exercises it will help bring you out of the state of overwhelm. I have a technique I like to call 5/5/7 breathing. This is a simple exercise you can use to bring yourself out of feeling overwhelmed. You inhale to the count of 5, you hold your breath for a count of 5, and then you exhale for a count of 7. You do this for 10 cycles. You are signaling your brain that you are safe. 10 cycles aren’t a long time it is literally 5 minutes. So, give it a try.

See when your body is in a constant state of overwhelm it is pumping cortisol into your body as well as adrenaline. When your body is doing this, it is shutting down your other systems. Your body thinks you are in constant danger. By taking five minutes to calm your breathing and using the 5/5/7 breathing technique I spoke about, this will help calm your body down and let your brain realize that you are actually safe.

You have nothing to lose right? So, give this technique a try the next time you are facing a state of overwhelm.

Your To Do List

When you look at your to do list, I need you to ask yourself these three questions:

  • Does this need to be done?
  • Does this need to be done by me?
  • Does this need to be done right now?

When you ask yourself these questions you can better decided what to delegate to others, and what you need to focus on first thing. Break down your list into smaller pieces so that your brain does not become overwhelmed. By seeing what items can wait, what items can be given to someone else to do, you are better able to see what you need to focus on right now. This allows your brain to calm down as well as that huge to do list is now broken down into smaller, more manageable pieces. Make the list of the top 3 things you need to get done now, not 10, 20 or more items…just 3 of the top items.

Breaking your to do list into the 3 top items you need to get done will help ease the feeling of overwhelm, and stress that you are feeling and help you get your work done better and more efficiently.

Do You Work Better In The Morning? Afternoon? Evening?

Determine which time of day you are more focused. Once you do this, use your calendar to block out those times on days during the week that you can use to better work on those tasks that require more focus. Don’t check your emails during that time, turn off your phone notifications, turn on the do not disturb function on your phone, and don’t have any other tabs open on your computer during that time. Use that blocked out time to work on the project at hand.

How Are You Sleeping?

If you’re struggling with sleep, then you also need to look at what can you do to improve your sleep. In March 2020 I did four episodes in my podcasts that will help you with getting better sleep. I invite you to go back and find them on my podcast page and take a listen. They are episodes 5, 6, 7, and 8. Here is the link:

How Is Your Nutrition?

What do you eat first thing in the morning? What do you eat in the evening right before bed? What you eat can affect how you sleep as well.

If you started your day off with a sugary breakfast, you’re going to feel focused for a short time, but that focus is going to wane, and your brain is going to be asking you for more. What happens then is you go on this rollercoaster ride of sugar highs and sugar crashes.

You need to start your day out full of good nutrition. In every meal we need to have two to three cups of fruits and vegetables. That is easier than it sounds. I like to make smoothies, and in those smoothies, I throw in some spinach, some kale, throw in fruit, and use nut milks and throw all of it into a blender. Easy! All the nutrition you need to start the day out, super easy and super quick!

A depleted body has a harder time focusing. It’s not got all its engines running, right. So, that leaves you in a state, again, of overwhelm, and not getting it all done. We feel like a chicken running around with our head cut off.

Recommended Books To Read

  • Make Time by Jake Knapp and John Zaretsky
  • Do Less by Kate Northrup

You need to read these books and implement their suggestions into your life just like you are reading this blog post. Don’t just read and go “yeah I’ve heard this all before” and then walk away and not do the suggestions. None of this is difficult to do, you just need to do it. It takes a willingness to make some changes in your life. If you can do these tips for 30 days before you know it, it will become a habit. You will notice a huge difference in your life.

Again, Happy New Year! I hope you can find a place of more calm and getting into that zone of focus so that you can slow down but get more done in 2022.

If you need help or have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me.