Dealing with focus-killing clutter

Friday July 31 2020

Experts say one of the things that kill focus

Experts say one of the things that kill focus is trying to handle many tasks at the same time. Focusing on one task helps one achieve more. Photo/Webmed 


The secret to getting more done is clearing off your workspace. Michael Hyatt, a renowned leadership mentor, shared that sometimes looking at all the tasks or things one needs to do kills one’s focus. Did you know having so much clutter kills your focus? Clutter, according to the Oxford Primary Dictionary is defined as a lot of things left around untidily or making a place untidy or messy. What are you hoarding that is making your mind untidy and messy standing in the way of your day to day tasks? Hyatt recommends that to get more done in less time, you will need to clear off your work space.
According to The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey and Jim Huling, one should focus their attention and effort on the things that are wildly important.

Focusing on less
The book also highlights the importance of focusing on less so as to achieve more thus the same is true for focus killing clutter. It presents so many false important tasks that are actually not that important.
Juliana Kayaga, a human resource practitioner, shares that there are two kinds of focus killing clutter; minute tasks that derail you from big roles and environmental distractions that derail you from focusing on your work such as social media addiction.

Kayaga says: “In this lock down, the number of distractions from work focus have increased. They include housework, family, TV, social media overload and an increased number of colleagues who may not still be working like you.”
She notes that one needs to acquire high efficiency within minimal time and one of the things that could be helpful is by noting the time you are most productive and mentally alert as well as the time that is most unlikely to get interrupted out of the 24-hour span.
“Cordon off this time for the core, important and urgent tasks. I have seen my days sometimes starting at 3am to allow me to work and when the day is packed up, I have already covered my critical deliverables for the day,” Kayaga adds.

She also recommends a routine as it can help to manage all the different needs currently of the employee, and other roles one has to take on such as mother, wife, house chores and personal wellness that are being delivered in the same space. She notes that once this structure has been established, it can be able to allow you have uninterrupted time within which you can deliver on your tasks.

Identifying what’s important
The human resource practitioner notes that it is key to note one’s deliverables, assess what is core output in one’s role. This she explains further by noting that once the deliverables are assessed, identify what is important and urgent for you on the day to day to deliver your weekly and monthly target. Then start with those.
“Many times people are stuck in the trap of starting with the small ones, get some things ticked off the to-do list. This is a trap. By the time you get to your core tasks, your brain is tired and during this lockdown with so many distractions, most likely even the time you had is used up,” Kayaga says.