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Rethinking ‘Focus Time’ Strategies for Optimal Task Management

Time for wasting

This week, during a client’s weekly reflection, we delved into their diary, where they added an activity called ‘Focus Time’ to enhance their concentration. However, this dedicated time for focus didn’t quite materialise as planned. Upon discussing this discrepancy, specific observations surfaced.

The idea behind ‘Focus Time’, aiming to allocate specific moments for significant tasks, is commendable. Yet, do you also encounter challenges focusing during your designated ‘Focus Time’?

Why does this happen?

Firstly, labelling a period as ‘focus time’ resembles a teacher demanding a disobedient student to “concentrate!” It’s a command unlikely to yield the desired outcome. Even if the student were capable, the pressure mounts, similar to what occurs with your calendar.

Moreover, ‘focus time’ is an ambiguous term. Focus on what, exactly? Completing tasks? Planning for the future? Enhancing your wellbeing? With ‘focus’ open to interpretation, it often leads to a lack of clarity when that moment arrives. You might ponder, “What should I concentrate on?” while procrastinating over multiple potential tasks instead of prioritising the critical one.

This situation worsens if you’re interrupted by yet another ‘urgent’ matter from team members or clients.

So, how do you carve out time for the ‘important’ tasks that could alleviate the ‘urgent’ ones consuming your time?

Here’s a simple technique requiring just a couple of minutes:

💡 Reflect on something perpetually overlooked – an activity that could significantly impact your future. For instance, hiring someone to assist in a task you routinely undertake.

📖 Determine the ideal duration needed for this activity. Scan your calendar for an upcoming slot matching this timeframe.

⏰ Allocate this slot for the activity, but refrain from labelling it as ‘Focus Time.’ Instead, name it in alignment with the desired outcome, using a verb that suggests action. For example, “Craft a job description for the new hire.”

By doing this, you achieve several outcomes:

– You finally create time for crucial tasks.
– Blocking this time in your calendar secures it against others’ bookings.
– Having a specific task assigned for that period helps evaluate interruptions, making it less likely for you to veer off track.
– Practicing this weekly enables you to prioritise important tasks, ultimately improving your organisation, your team, and yourself – the essence of effective leadership.

Tammy Whalen Blake

Tammy Whalen Blake

Founder of The Yellow Mastermind.

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