In this article we discuss four of the most obnoxious energy-stealers and how to identify and eliminate them.
There are four types of energy-stealers;
You have ton of unread e-mail, you have a dozen of unread messages on Facebook, you receive another instant message on your cell. Because of technology, distractions can now be anywhere. Removing technology from your life wouldn’t be a very good solution, as you probably like a lot of what technology has to offer you. Work at home entrepreneurs might know the next distraction: children who are running around, or chores that still need doing.
Solution: Put your phone on muted mode and turn off e-mail and social media notifications. If you work from home, create a home office. Even a space where you can just work uninterrupted is okay. By setting clear rules for yourself and your family, you can improve your productivity and reduce distractions.
“Do you have a minute?” Colleagues can be very interrupting. Some interruptions are not bad. Some are even necessary. A colleague might for example warn you that a situation has developed, which you need to handle. But most of the time, your colleagues don’t come to you for urgent or important matters. So how to deal with these interruptions?
Solution: Setting boundaries is key. Boundaries help you focus. Keep some time for “walk in hours” or “consulting hours” so your colleagues or employees know at what time they can reach you. It might take a while, but eventually colleagues will respect the allotted time and save up their questions for during your walk in hours.
One of the worst energy-stealers is procrastination. More often than not we want to get going, we want to work on that hard, difficult project, but our mind is just not up for it. So instead we start doing simple tasks – like busy work – to deceive ourselves into thinking that we are working hard on the right things.
Solution: The Pomodoro technique can help you overcome procrastination. Work in 25 minute intervals with laser-like focus and give yourself a small break after each 25 minutes. After four sessions of 25 minutes, take a slightly longer break. If you feel less energetic you might need a longer break than when you are feeling motivated and good to go. Also, if you chop down large, daunting projects into smaller sub projects fear of failure will be reduced. And as such you are less likely to procrastinate.
When you start working on a to-do only to switch to another tasks rapidly is what devours a lot of mental energy. Multi-tasking is one of the worst energy-stealers. Research shows that it takes an estimated 20 minutes to regain your focus and pick up where you left.
Solution: Once again the Pomodoro technique offers the solution. If you can force yourself to single task during short intervals, you can overcome multi-tasking. If you can focus on one task for at least 25 minutes you will make a lot more progress than if you would work on 10 things for an hour.
Which type of energy-stealer is your bane and how do you deal with that type?