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Focus: The Key to Sustainable Productivity

How distracted are you most days? How often do you feel pulled in multiple directions? I would guess that most reading this article can relate.

Life is full of choices, requests, demands, opportunities, and interruptions. Have you ever noticed that you are seldom consulted before the next demand comes your way!

What productive people have learned to do is focus. I read somewhere that so-called multitasking is about 30% as effective compared with working on a single issue. In other words, every time you switch focus from one project or task to another one, you lose efficiency. You can only truly focus on one thing at a time. It makes common sense.

So what’s a busy person supposed to do? I have a formula to help you.


If you want to stop the madness and truly get things done, you MUST set aside some uninterrupted time to gain clarity before you launch into action. Here’s one way to do that.

1. Make a list of everything that’s on your mind; that you want to or have to get done. Just make the list. It may be several hundred items long. It matters not. What matters is to capture it all and get your head cleared of every obligation and desire by documenting all of it in one place.

2. Review the entire list, and choose your top 10 priorities. Simply choose the ten most important issues. This will be a bit painful, but well worth the effort.

3. Rank these top 10 priorities in order of priority 1 through 10. Again, a bit disturbing if you are not used to doing this, but you’ll really be glad you forced yourself to do this.

4. Take out your calendar (electronic, paper, or just a sheet of paper with 7 rectangles SUN, MON, TUE, WED, THU, FRI, SAT. Block out a chunk of uninterrupted time for each day of the week. Decide based on the nature of that day how much time or how many blocks you can isolate from the outside world. Hopefully you can block out at least one hour per day of uninterrupted time.

5. Place the number one priority into that first block of time and commit that hour to getting that top priority completed, or at least moved along to the next step. Concentrate your efforts on that priority until it is completed or moved as far as you can take it. Do nothing else in the block of time but work on that single project.

6. Repeat the process with priorities 2-10 until completed. You will be amazed at what gets done. After a week or two of this process, I assure you that you will be on the path to a productive, enjoyable life. Only thing left to ask is this: Will you do it?

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