Sometimes, during a busy day, do you feel like you have all the power and motivation to succeed, but you just can’t focus enough to harness that power?
You’re not alone. Research indicates that only 26% of people often leave work feeling like they accomplished the tasks they wanted to complete. Feeling busy but not checking off those big to-dos is a common phenomenon in the workplace.
Just like Elsa struggled to control and focus her abilities to accomplish her goals, you can have all the motivation in the world, but with emails flying in and people knocking on the door asking, “Do you have a sec?” productivity can melt just like a snowman in summer.
In order to remedy the situation, a good first step is understanding what you could be doing wrong.
Here are 3 common mental mistakes that prevent us from completing meaningful work:
- Let it go, let it go, let those emails go. Many of us have desktop notifications when we get a new email. Despite being deep in a project, when we see a new email come in from someone we’ve been waiting to hear from, we put down our project and shift focus to the new email, even if that email isn’t urgent. These small breaks in concentration can cause hours of productivity drain. Think about it. You answer that email and your mind shifts focus to the content or question in that email. That could lead to a rabbit hole of other tasks taking you away from your big project. Some studies suggest it can take up to 25 minutes to refocus on your original task after a distraction. If you have a big project to complete, put aside some time with no distractions. Close out your email, turn off your phone and allow yourself an hour or two of solid concentration on one project. You’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish!
- Tackle Marshmallow-sized projects during your free time. Many people overestimate the time they have in a day for big projects. Intensive strategy and planning projects that take a lot of strategic thinking and skill require big blocks of time and attention. We’ve all said it: “Oh, I’ve got all day Friday to complete that.” But what we don’t take into consideration are those emails, last-minute meetings, and “quick questions” that can take up a large portion of our time in the office. Data from RescueTime revealed that people have as little as one hour and 12 minutes of uninterrupted time in their day! Acknowledging the limited time you have to focus on large projects is key to prioritizing and planning. Remember, timing is everything. When you have an hour available in your peak productivity time, don’t answer emails! Focus on your larger, more complex tasks to gain more ground.
- Just like Elsa, sometimes you need to take a time out. Not taking breaks throughout the day can lead to lower productivity levels and higher chance of burnout. Be sure you give yourself some time to get up from your desk and walk around. Grab a coffee or tea and let your mind wander. Go to the gym for 30 minutes. These restorative tasks are 100% necessary for high productivity and brain function.
Find out more about the importance of mental health in the workplace below.