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Setting limits to improve your productivity

Setting limits the right way – to improve your focus

Maximilian Fleckner

Sometimes it can get very important to step back from your tasks or projects and take a look at the bigger picture.

But since work and personal life get blended more and more these days, this can become a very difficult task. That’s why we tried to come up with 3 factors that you might want to try out in order to limit the external influences and that way improve your focus.

1. Find your rhythm

Every human being has a time of the day when they feel to get an extra burst of focus and creativity. For some, that time comes in the early hours of the day. For others, it might come after noon or even during the evening hours.

CEO of Qualtrics, Ryan Smith, figured out the following while observing his own work habits:

“Understand how your brain works and when you are most productive. For me, I’ve gotten rid of lunch meetings to keep my productive time going as long as I can.”

Ryan Smith, CEO and co-founder of Qualtrics

He often works through lunch, with no lunch meetings, and that allows him to get the most done. He also prioritizes and schedules so that the tasks requiring the most attention and creativity are placed near the start of his day when he has the biggest capacity to work on and complete them.

But the most important part is to really pay attention to your very own rhythm and do the task when you feel the most capable.

2. Sometimes it only takes 5 minutes

Pushing tasks aside that you don’t want to focus on right now can be very dangerous for your productivity. There even is a special term for this behavior. It’s call “procrastination”. While some people might get their focus back on track faster than others there is a technique that you can try to really get your motivation and focus back to finish the tasks.

Kevin Systrom, Co-Founder of Instagram explained it like this:

“If you don’t want to do something, make a deal with yourself to do at least five minutes of it. After five minutes, you’ll end up doing the whole thing.”

Kevin Systrom, Co-Founder of Instagram

This is a perfect example of the fact that starting is always the hardest, and getting into taking action is the most important thing.

Because most of the time, you’ll find that just doing it and getting little things out of the way will actually increase your productivity.

3. Isolate yourself from distractions.

Another limitation you may want to try to put on you is the constant stream of messages and push notifications. Of course, as stated in one of the last blog entries communication and collaboration is king in today’s business environment. But we get distracted by them all the time. Therefore effective communication and collaboration is even better and to be preferred at all times.

That’s why limiting your sources of distraction might really work wonders with your level of focus and help you to get things done in really no time.

Another business expert Dianne McKeever, Co-Founder and Chief Investment Officer at Ides Capital says she puts everything on mute whenever she needs to spend time working on a project.

“Turn off everything—email, phone, stock tickers, news, etc.—as often as possible and focus on a single task without interruption.”

Dianne McKeever, Co-Founder and Chief Investment Officer at Ides Capital

And that’s the point those distractions typically don’t require your attention right away, but when they occur in a moment of intense focus, they can seriously disrupt it.

We hope this collection of factors to improve your productivity will help you and since we know there are a ton more factors that might be helpful, we will continue this article series at another time.

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