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December 19, 2009

Focus Your Energy

Every time you focus on a task you utilize some of your limited supply of attention.  We can only stay focused for so long before it starts to drain us.  Studies show that each task you do tends to make you less effective at the next task, and this is especially true for tasks that are high-energy like making decisions and handling uncomfortable situations. 

Since most of us are more effective and have more energy in the morning than in the afternoon (ever experience the 3:00 PM heavy eyes?), my suggestion is tackle those high-energy tasks as soon as possible.  Now I know that you can’t always do them first thing in the morning due to other obligations, but if time allows, do them first. 

Sometimes, just getting started on the task is the hardest part.  Once you take action, you become energized and it makes it harder to stop.  Since it’s hard to focus to begin with, eliminating distractions is a core skill for staying focused.  Turn everything off when you have decided that it’s time to focus – shut down those email alerts, let your phone go to voicemail, and eliminate the physical clutter in your focus area.

Do your deep thinking work in the morning by being mindful of your task and save the afternoon for the mindless tasks!

Have a productive week!

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