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Double Your Productivity with Real Focus

According to the emails and comments, Tony Schwartz’ post The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time on the Harvard Business Review is getting a lot of attention this morning. He says: vision

Tell the truth: Do you answer email during conference calls (and sometimes even during calls with one other person)? Do you bring your laptop to meetings and then pretend you’re taking notes while you surf the net? Do you eat lunch at your desk? Do you make calls while you’re driving, and even send the occasional text, even though you know you shouldn’t?

I recognize that behavior. That’s often me. Tony follows with:

The biggest cost — assuming you don’t crash — is to your productivity. In part, that’s a simple consequence of splitting your attention, so that you’re partially engaged in multiple activities but rarely fully engaged in any one. In part, it’s because when you switch away from a primary task to do something else, you’re increasing the time it takes to finish that task by an average of 25 per cent.

That reminds me of the “good-ol’ days” in the 1980s when I was writing books and doing consulting. I would lock myself in with a project. I’d focus and get two and sometimes three hours straight concentrated productivity on one thing. All I had to do, back then, was take the damn phone wire out of the phone. I’ve always been a procrastinator, but this concentrated focus was my remedy. Wait until deadline, then dive in. Full force.

Today it takes putting the computer to sleep too.And — much  it also takes a lot of discipline. I confess. I don’t think I’ve managed to focus that well for years.



  • Fax Authority says:

    A valid point – too many distractions in the world today.

    The other challenge that happens is that it almost seams as if we’ve merged work and non-work life – the living room turns into corporate headquarters, while the office turns into a hobby shop.

    We’ve had good success with getting back to single tasking just by making a rule of no work outside of the office and no non-work inside the office. Even the tax forms and bills have gone back to their original location of under the bed, not even being stored in the office.

    While there’s less “total time” dedicated to work, there is now far more dedicated work time and more dedicated play time – instead of a constant stream of both where neither gets done.

  • sampann says:

    Dear Tim ,
    Very Useful one ” Double your Productivity with Focus “. My special Thanks to NELIE AKALAP, on such a useful & wonderful Tip .
    Warm Regards :-
    India ..

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