Learn why a clear start and end time is necessary for your day and how to establish it. Learn how to avoid working as long as it takes to get something done by giving yourself a hard stop time.
- Would you be surprised if I told you that pride actually creates a lack of focus? What I mean by this is when I hear people who pride themselves on their ability to work as long as it takes to get the job done. It means that they're a hard worker, but this lack of an end point actually creates interruptions. It creates sloppy focus and allows for lots of little distractions to enter into the day. On the other side, if you limit the hours that you work, it will actually force you to be more focused.
I work with a business owner, who when we first started, was working over 60 hours a week. Now, she works under 20 hours a week, is more productive than she's ever been, and more happy as well. The way that we're going to accomplish this is by thinking about your work day like a race. In a race there's a clear start line and finish line. In your day, we also want to have a clear starting time and finishing time.
This creates a clear boundary where you know you have to operate within these hours and be as productive and focused as possible. The idea is to start wherever you're at. For instance, if you've been working until 9:00 p.m. every night and the idea of working as long as it takes, then let's create a finish line at around 8:00 p.m. That'll stretch you a little bit, but it will create a boundary line that's reasonable. That means that you stop work at 8:00 p.m.
This includes thinking about work while at home. You may also need to create a monthly finish line. For example, I personally limit how many times I leave home per month to two. Or, if you're working with clients overseas, maybe you need to have multiple start lines and finish lines in your day. Maybe you start at seven and then end at 2:00 p.m. and then you start again at 8:00 p.m. and end at midnight to deal with people in different time zones.
The important thing though is that you're creating a limitation in your schedule. And the limitation creates structure. And that structure creates a boundary in your day, which is critical to maintaining focus.
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- Maintaining focus for longer periods of time
- Using your calendar to preserve focus
- Building a mental firewall
- Establishing expectations and boundaries
- Making time for others
- Avoiding distractions in a digital world
- Improving your workspace