Focus: Get the important things done first, today.

breathe: focus and get the important things done today

Do you ever get to the end of the day and wonder where the day has gone? If you had a chance to re-run today, what is the “one import thing” that you would like to get done this time around?

So what happened today? You started off, coffee-in-hand and determined that today would be different. Today is the day that you will finally see off some lingering critical tasks… The trouble is, in addition to the super-important, there are all of the items that fall into the uber-nagging category demanding your attention too.

You may have started your day focussing on your top priority only to find mid-morning that you have been taken off track. Maybe you didn’t even get started on #1 before your best efforts were sent elsewhere. Often, we accept that these non-prime activities are ok to work on as we are multi-tasking, and we’re getting everything done. We are only sending a quick reply – or some other not-actually-five-minute task after all. If we were genuinely multitasking, how come we didn’t get the all important ticked off yesterday? (hint: multitasking should be avoided!)

It’s all about number 1.

So how can we be better at this? Firstly, you need a really clear idea of what your most important things to get done are. It may sound obvious, but if you don’t have a clear idea of what you want to get done first how can you know whether you are succeeding or not? Make a list, order it by priority, read it and live by it.

Spotting that we have become distracted, calmly acknowledging the distraction and returning to our focus is a skill. The more we practice our focussed mindset, the more skilled we become at focussing and the more productive we become.

Even on our most productive days we will all lose focus at some point, don’t worry – we are after all only human. To give yourself the best chance to focus on #1, here are our top tips to keep you on track:

  • Set your list of priorities at the start of the day, every day.
  • Start at the top of your priority list, get item #1 done first.
  • Upon completion of every task, update your focussed list ordered by priority.
  • At any point through the day, ask yourself – is what I’m doing #1 priority for me? Is it taking me to where I want to be?
  • If another task does take you away from your priorities, remember what your priority is so that you can return to it as soon as possible.
  • Avoid distractions where possible by setting a time to check your email, social etc.
  • Use PlanHive to list your priorities, and when your focus is lost return to it