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Maxims from Mike - Sustained focus yields maximum productivity.

Hello Leaders,

Welcome to Today. Today's Leadership and Personal Development tip deals with Focus.

Maxim: Sustained focus yields maximum productivity.

If you are a leader of an organization your role is to make sure the people work on the right things. You set the course. You provide the vision. If you are a manager your role is to make sure the people are working the right way. The course has been set and the vision given. You ensure the right resources and proper training are provided to enable the workers to arrive at the desired destination. You divide the work and measure their performance along the way. If you are a worker you make sure you take advantage of resources and training to get the job done.

Most workers want to be productive. The challenge is this notion of multitasking to get more work done. Early in my career I subscribed to this thought process. I thought if I could work on two things at the same time I would double my work and cut my time in half. I would be more productive. It would be even better if I could work on three things simultaneously. After all, I was working in the high tech industry in a fast paced environment. This (my multitasking) is good. Right? Wrong!

Studies have shown that while people think they are multitasking, they are really performing serial tasks. It is serial tasks because you are switching quickly from one task to another, according to Psychology Today. Remember the time you were on a conference call and checking email at the same time? Someone asked you a question but you were not fully engaged because you were reading or composing an email. What was your response? "Could you repeat the question?" "My phone was on mute. Ask your question again so I can make sure I respond properly." I'm sure you can think of several other examples.

The point is we are not wired to have multiple tasks operating simultaneously in our minds. While multitasking, efficiency is reduced by as much as 40 percent. This is because the brain needs time -- up to 15 minutes -- to refocus on a task after a distraction, according to an article from Harvard Business Review. As a young salesman working for a seasoned manager, I would tease him because he only did one thing at a time. I was young and energetic. I did several things at the same time. Although I was doing more, he was more productive. He understood the psychology. Doing a single task with sustained focus is far more productive than dividing your focus among many tasks. And the quality is far greater!

You want to achieve more success in your life. That's a statement, not a question. Put first things first and focus on it. Get it done, or dedicate a certain amount of time to work on it, before moving to the next task. Very productive people will set aside time to work on emails or make phone calls. They do not allow the distractions of pop up notifications. This allows them to focus on the critical tasks that have the highest priority and will yield the greatest results.

There are benefits to the right type of multitasking such as listening to classical music while working on a project. Or thinking about a solution to a project while raking leaves. These are complementary tasks. The former uses the music to soothe that will aid in concentration. The latter allows the mind to work creatively while performing physical labor. In both cases, the mind is still really focused on a single task, the main task.

Be more productive by focusing on the most important task for today. Then work on the second priority and so on. If you make this a practice, you will become more productive and more successful.

Are you ready for success? It's yours. Go get it. What is the single most important task that you need to do today? Focus on it and get it done! If you need help in this area, please contact me. Let me help bring out the best in you and/or your organization.

That's it for now. Until the next tip....

Mike Nwankwo

Founder & CEO

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