College study: disconnect and regain your focus
In a study on the behavior of college students conducted by the University of Washington, it was determined that students decreased the number of electronics and the time spent on electronics during finals week. When students knew they needed to focus and be productive, they logged out of Facebook and Twitter, turned off their phones, and found a quiet place to work—the library. By limiting their distractions, they were able to get more done and feel more confident in their preparation for finals.
So, as a small business pro, why should this interest you? Just as students have to prepare for finals week, you have to prepare for meetings, presentations, and even negotiations. And let’s be honest; modern technology can be very distracting and even serve as a time-waster when you could be focusing on your own preparation. Disconnect from social media sites, email, and even news-reporting sites. Don’t give yourself an excuse to get distracted and stay focused on the task ahead of you. You may be surprised at how much you can actually get done when you sit down, disconnect, and get to work.
When it comes to finding a distraction-free place to work, your office or home may not be the right fit. Consider going someplace where people don’t know you, so you can avoid being pulled into lengthy conversations or idle chitchat. The library may be a good option, as there are numerous resources available to you, or a quiet bookstore, local coffee shop, or even a bar that offers free Wi-Fi — only used for business purposes, of course. The point is it doesn’t really matter where you go to disconnect and focus. It just matters that it’s the best work environment for you and for the project you’re working on.
The University of Washington study also found that the most effective students allowed themselves a small reward of logging into Facebook, texting someone, or replying to an email when they studied consistently for a length of time of fifteen, thirty, or even sixty minutes. This kept them motivated because they knew a reward was fast approaching. Incorporate this practice into your own business-related preparation. While you don’t have to choose Facebook as a reward, choose something that you enjoy, something calming or entertaining. It will lift your energy levels so you can get back to the grind soon afterward. This simple method will actually increase your productivity more than just planning a meeting or constructing a negotiation contract for eight hours straight because it gives you boosts of energy, motivation, and focus. Preparing for your business needs may be tedious and mind-numbing, but you’ll last longer with just a few simple changes.
So, take a cue from college students across the country. Limit your distractions by logging off, avoiding distractions, and staying focused and attentive. Use Facebook and other sites as a reward rather than an escape. And find the right work environment to maximize your productivity.