Productivity and the Importance of Focus

Do you know what it takes for you to be really focused on what matters?

Do you know what makes the difference between your ‘good’ days and ‘scattered’ or ‘overwhelmed’ or ‘totally unproductive’ days?

If you don’t know this already, you are missing a massive trick to getting things done.

In this podcast, Chris and Paul discuss why focus is critical but increasingly difficult to maintain.

According to The Energy Project – an organisation that helps individuals, leaders and team to sustain high performance – the greatest drain on our energy in the modern workplace is our mental energy. This is our ability to remain focused on the task at hand while not giving in to instant gratification of switching tasks, checking emails or being drawn into an unnecessary conversation.

[Note: you can check how you do against the global average by taking The Energy Audit right now. It’s free and only takes a few minutes.]

By surrounding yourself with the right environment, tools and mindset to start the day, you can easily feel significant improvement in your focus, productivity and daily fulfillment.

Paul and Chris give practical tips and tools to help you do this more consistently.

Let us know what you do to get, and stay, focused. Leave us a comment below or post on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you.

Having the Energy to Do It All

With a hint of regret and a look of disappointment, a client recently revealed that she just doesn’t feel like doing much in the evenings after a day of work.

She was too tired to think, too overwhelmed to see clearly and “…just needed some ‘me’ time to unwind”.

Of course, she’s not alone.

It’s a common malaise of today’s “always on” way for many people – demands continue to rise yet our capacity to meet those demands doesn’t naturally rise along with them. This often leaves us in a deficit of time, energy and enthusiasm for what matters to us outside of work (and many important things in work too).

We would never say it’s what we think, but our behaviour often shows that part of us believes that because technology runs at high speeds, continuously, for long periods of time, then we should to.

Illogical, but the truth for many of us nonetheless.

Is there an alternative? Is it possible to break this cycle?

Of course there is.

Sometimes we just need to slow down long enough to notice, to think and to reset our perspective on where we want our energy to be directed.

The first thing to understand is that unlike machines and technology that run on one or two sources of energy (e.g. electricity, petrol), we humans run on – and need – four sources of energy.

Physical energy is the foundation. It’s the quantity of energy we have on a daily basis directly influenced by sleep, what we eat and drink, and how we exercise (or not). Without physical energy we are fairly useless to ourselves and others.

Emotional energy is the quality of our energy. We are fuelled by our emotions and how we feel profoundly influences how we perform. What’s more, we have much more control over our emotions than we give ourselves credit for.

Mental energy is where and how we direct our energy. Where does your focus tend to go? On big important things that matter most to you? Or on small, but voluminous details and minor things that keep you busy but don’t move you forward and accelerate your success. When it comes to trying to deal with all the things in our lives, it’s easy to fall into the trap of mistaking activity for productivity.

Spiritual energy is simply about having a sense of purpose and being in alignment to that purpose. That doesn’t just apply to the biggest question of all, “What is the purpose of your life?” but even on a daily basis where it’s easy to lose sight of the purpose of many of the things that requires your energy, attention and time. In the UK and other parts of Europe it’s a common expression that something, or an experience, can be “soul destroying” – a cancelled project, a task you’ve been assigned where you don’t see the point of it all, or being overloaded with demands from your boss who doesn’t see that you’re already struggling to keep your head above water.

Within these four dimensions of your energy lies every solution you need to lead a more rewarding, fulfilling, exciting, happier, healthier and purposeful life.

If you are like the thousands of smart, educated and committed people who tend to fall flat at the end of the day, or week, you need to do something differently.

It’s not the way it should be. You must stop tolerating that and seeing it as acceptable.

You should have enough energy at the end of your work day to fully engage in your personal life, friends, hobbies and activities that you enjoy.

It’s how we humans are designed and it’s what you deserve.

So as a starting point, at the end of your day, give yourself a score of 1-10. 1 is you are completely and utterly drained, 10 is you are fully energised. Score yourself on EACH of the four dimensions of energy.

The more accurately you can diagnose where your deficit currently is, the more precisely you can apply the right solution.

Having more energy isn’t just about getting more sleep or putting your feet up.

As my client began to realise, making small changes and creating new habits to expand her energy across the four dimensions creates an upward, positive and sustainable spiral of renewable energy.

Within a matter of days, she felt more energised, more focused, more engaged and more fulfilled.

And perhaps most importantly of all, she reconnected with her inner strength and capacity to take back control of her choices and her life.

Do you regularly find yourself being drained at the end of the day? What would you love to do that you don’t seem to have the energy to do? Leave a comment below and let us know and we will provide suggestions and strategies in upcoming podcasts and blog posts. Or pop your feedback on our Facebook page.

Have You Ever Tried a NOT To Do List?

Sometimes getting more done needs a good ol’ fashioned To Do List. A clear list of priorities to give us focus, purpose and clarity on where our attention and energy should go.

What’s more rare – yet equally as powerful – is getting clear, acknowledging and facing up to the things you know you shouldn’t do.

We all do it: defaulting to checking and continuously refreshing our emails, going to Facebook, or putting our energy in smaller, easier tasks than the more important items that will really give us the results we want.

In this podcast, Sam and Chris discuss the simple power of creating a daily “NOT To Do” list to accompany your regular action items. A clear reminder to yourself of the things you shouldn’t do since they take away your success, happiness or productivity.

Have you tried using a Not To Do List before? If so, let us know how it’s worked for you. If not, join Sam and Chris in this week’s ActionChallenge and share on our Facebook page what you’re NOT going to do each day this week.

Making Accountability Work for You

If you’ve ever gotten to the end of your day, and wondered what the hell you’d been working on despite having felt very busy and productive, then a dose of accountability might be exactly what you need!

Being consciously aware of what we’ve achieved is great for our general sense of well-being and contribution, and it can also significantly boost our confidence. But in the busyness of life, it can be easy to forget, overlook or play down the extent of what we’ve achieved – and by choosing to be accountable to someone (or some thing), we give ourselves key moments to reflect on our productivity and achievement, and whether our system of prioritising is working well for us.

Join Paul and Sam as they explore some different options for adding a helpful dose of accountability into your day, and even what some of the unexpected benefits might be!

Get More From Your Time

Time
Time flies when you’re having fun, but time also flies by when you’re being really unproductive!

In this podcast Paul and Chris discuss their simple strategies for maximising the use of their time, with emphasis on the process of planning. If you are looking to improve your effectiveness, get more done or simply live less stressful days, one of these tips might just be the breakthrough you are seeking.

Let us know which tip you’d like to try and any questions you’d like us to answer by leaving a comment below.