Increasing focus with set time blocks.
As I head into my busiest season of the year, I’d like to share a few tips that work well when I need to accomplish a lot in a short time window.
I am easily distracted, especially when I have a long to-do list. I can quickly jump from one project to another and not finish anything if I don’t focus. If I can pick one thing from my list and focus on that, I get a lot more done. I do this by setting time blocks where I focus only on that item. For me, 30 minutes of focused work is a good time block before I need to stretch or take a quick mental break. I set a timer, and don’t do anything else during that time. This works well for work related things, but I’ve even used it to do housework and other tasks. I am always surprised by how much I can do in even 5 minutes of focused time.
Reducing distractions from your phone.
Part of focusing is reducing distractions. One of my biggest distractions is my cell phone. It’s hard to concentrate on anything if I’m constantly being alerted to messages and emails or even just falling down the black hole of social media.
Now I have most notifications turned off. Usually I respond to all inquiries (Facebook, email, phone etc) during a time block in my work day. I might not be the fastest to respond, but this is more efficient than constantly breaking my concentration to look at my phone. I still try to respond within 24 hours if possible, but it is not my goal it respond within minutes of getting a message.
I also recently discovered the everyday usefullnes of airplane mode on my iPhone. I can switch my phone to this, and it turns off texts, calls, and wifi. I can still use my timer, so I now switch to airplane mode when I want to focus on a time block. I can easily switch it off to check messages before I switch back to airplane mode for another time block.
I hope these tips are helpful to you as many of us photographers and other creatives head into the busy Fall and Holiday Season!