Every few minutes, sometimes a few times a minute, an update screams for my attention. My phone buzzes for texts, beeps for emails and does this weird injured bird sound when LinkedIn or any of my other apps sends an update.  My Linkedin page is filled with updates from people I networked with but barely know.  My other social media keeps me updated on companies and interests I had weeks, months or even years ago.  Some of the information is relevant but most is redundant.  Each of these beeps, dings and chirps were things that somehow I either directly asked for or, at least, permitted to happen.

Stanford University study (and many other studies) proved that multi-taskers are simply less efficient than people focusing on one task at a time.  Other studies show that creativity and problem solving also decline when a person multitasks.  The brain can only focus on one thing at a time.  It also takes time to stop a task, switch to another task and get up to speed in the next task.  These are waisted precious moments of creativity lost forever.  Ok.  A little dramatic but true.  We are simply more efficient, effective and creative when we focus on one thing at a time.

My clients who are not moving forward on their goals generally fall into one of three categories: 1.) they have an internal block – perhaps lack of confidence, fear of unknown, etc. 2.) they honestly don’t know what to do and 3.) they aren’t able to focus on the task at hand long enough to make progress.

For those clients who fall into the third category, I recommend four things.  First, go through all of your social media and unfollow anyone and anything that you are not emotionally invested in having constant updates on.  Second, go through your email and unsubscribe from every unnecessary auto-email.  Third, turn off auto-notify/auto-alert on every tool you have.  Fourth, practice turning off the phone and simply focusing on the task at hand for 25 minutes at a time.  Set a timer.  Check no email, answer no calls, don’t scan any social media.  After the timer goes off, then deal with any of the above and, please, stand up and stretch for a minute.  Seriously.  Then back to work for another 25 minutes.

In many cases, this is all it takes to add hours of productivity to someone’s day.  Imagine how much more successful you would be if you could add two hours a day to your productive clock.