by Mandy Green, Busy Coach
Your ability to be highly focused and productive are two key ingredients for achieving better results and making faster progress as a coach. However, there are many sneaky little productivity killers that silently sabotage your success.
Despite working hard and disciplining yourself, it might be that your results are slowed down because of these subtle little habits, without you even realizing it.
After years of optimizing my productivity, I’ve identified 4 habits related to your digital devices that are silently destroying your focus and productivity. Identifying and removing these habits will allow for greater focus and productivity, without the need to work harder or put in more hours.
In fact, as soon as you get rid of these habits you’ll be able to get much more done as a coach by working smarter instead of harder.
Habit 1: Leaving Unnecessary Tabs Open on Your Desktop
Full transparency, I am still not good at this one. At one point when I was first recognizing that this is a bad habit, I counted and had 51 tabs open.
When you’re working, make sure that you only have the tabs open that are absolutely necessary for your task at hand. One of the easiest ways to get distracted is when you see that little ‘(1)’ icon next to your Facebook, email or messaging tabs.
The pull to quickly check what the new notification is about is simply too strong to resist. It continuously pulls for your attention, and eventually, you’ll give in. Sometimes, this ‘quick check’ sucks you into an internet vortex that costs you anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes that could’ve been spent productively.
Furthermore, by reacting to these notifications, you’re essentially operating on autopilot mode where you reactively serve the agenda of other people instead of proactively protecting your own time and focus for your work at hand.
Habit 2: Checking Your Phone First Thing in The Morning
One of the worst habits that many of us share is checking our phone first thing in the morning. The problem is that, when we do so, we’re instantly in reactive mode. Our thoughts, ideas, and focus are immediately hijacked by the new messages, emails and notifications that we’ve received, which forces us to think about that stuff instead of on our recruiting or coaching goals.
Personally, I find it very hard to resist the urge to check my Busy Coach business statistics early in the morning (such as email subscribers and sales). And although this is not as bad as checking email or social media first thing in the morning, it’s still a habit to forces me to operate reactively instead of proactively. It immediately fills my attention span with information that could’ve been spent on generating new ideas.
Habit 3: Watching Netflix or TV First Thing in The Morning
Before kids, I used to watch at least one hour of TV/News as I was getting ready in the morning. And just like checking your smartphone first thing in the morning, this habit is not beneficial for your focus and productivity levels.
The thing is, when you watch Netflix or TV, you’re already starting your day by distracting your mind. Essentially, you’re priming it for distraction for the rest of the day. As your brain has already received a huge hit of dopamine, it only wants more.
It’ll be much harder to fight distractions throughout the day when you’ve already numbed your mind by watching TV in the morning.
Furthermore, the time spend watching TV could’ve been spent productively by following an empowering morning routine in which you meditate, plan your day, review your goals, do affirmations, visualize and read an inspiring book. By following a morning routine, you set yourself up for a highly focused and productive day — unlike watching Netflix for an hour.
Habit 4: Leaving Notifications and Alerts On
One of the simplest changes that had the highest ROI on my focus and productivity has been to put the notifications and alerts off on all my devices (and especially my smartphone).
As we’ve mentioned before, the notifications and alerts pull for your attention continuously. It puts you in reactive mode instead of proactive mode, as other people control your attention as they can disrupt you at any moment.
In fact, every notification and alert that you don’t check opens a ‘loop’ in your mind that desperately wants to be closed. This is what’s called the ‘Zeigarnik Effect’. The psychological pull of closing this loop is simply too strong to resist (especially later on in the day when our willpower muscle becomes tired).
Not only did this habit make me more focused and productive, but it also helped me get less stressed and overwhelmed. The continuous psychological pull to check my smartphone after every notification I received was simply gone — and that gave enormous peace of mind.
It takes just 3 minutes to do, but it’ll have an enormous impact on your life. Try it for yourself!
At the bare minimum, make sure your alerts and notifications are off when you’re working on your most important tasks so that you can direct all of your focus and energy towards crushing it.
Now Do It
Knowing which habits destroy your productivity isn’t enough. Taking action upon what you know is the key to change.
Therefore, as an action point for this article, pick just 1 of these habits and resolve to remove them out of your life this week. This way, you’ll become much more focused, productive and, ultimately, successful.