Productivity blogger, Merlin Mann, calculated that on average we work an 8 hour day, 50 weeks per year, and check our email every 5 minutes- just to see if anything new is in there- we check our email 24,000 times a year. That isn’t responding to emails, that is only checking to see if we received a new email in your inbox. Over the course of a year he calculated that would work out to 66.6 hours a year of wasted time (Source- “The Accidental Creative”- Todd Henry).

I not only check my emails at work I also check my:

1. Stock quotes (Majority of my time is wasted)
2. Phone: Missed calls/ Texts

Each time I check my inbox, a stock quote or my phone I lose focus on writing my blog, working on my second book, or making calls to clients. The problem isn’t just getting distracted, once distracted we have to re-channel our focus. Researchers say it takes anywhere form 1-3 minutes to get your focus back on a project.

How do we stay focused and not get distracted? I keep a note pad with my “To Do” list on it and throughout the day I am constantly adding/ subtracting items from it. The more organized my sheet of paper is, the less likely I am to get distracted. It is easy to drift, lose focus, and waste time and energy when we don’t have a plan or strategy. My note pad is my strategy, it is what I need to accomplish each and everyday.

I am also working with a local company in Columbus, Ohio and one of their strategies to keep employees focused is to block time (“Admin Time” – 20 to 30 minutes in the morning and afternoon) out of their day to check/respond to emails, calls and LinkedIn accounts. This strategy allows their employees to stay focused and productive during their work day.

What would your results look like if you were able to stay focused for longer spans of time, with less interruptions and more clarity?

* Photo by Joseph Barrientos on Unsplash

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