Smart phones are dumbing us down, especially when it comes to productivity. Every study out there confirms what we all know intuitively, switching between tasks exponentially increases the time it takes to get something done. And what better to cause a switch in the middle of something you need to get done than the beep, ring, or message buzz on that “smart phone” of yours.
Here are four ideas I share in time management workshops that get nods from everyone.
1) Use your phone timer to set up 60- 90 minute work intervals. Use this time to focus on your number one priority until the timer goes off or you finish the task. Put your phone where you can only hear the alarm to avoid the temptation to pick up the phone and check emails or some other app. Repeat this process first thing after lunch.
2) Set your goals for the next day on your phone at the end of day. List them in order and set a time for each and then go.
3) Take social media off your phone. You don’t need to see Facebook during the day anyway.
4) Treat texting like the plague it is. Inform your text mates that you only check texts at 7am, noon, and after work. If it’s an emergency, they should call your office, but otherwise you are saying goodbye to LOL, OMG, BFF, et al. You may want to be old fashioned and call them to explain your new approach.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, get a co-worker to serve as a self-improvement accountability partner. Your partner meets with you weekly to see how you are doing on focusing on the tasks that are smart for your career.
Try this for the rest of January and see if you start February with more free time, less stress, and more goals accomplished. Let me know how it goes.