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Say Goodbye To These 3 Focus Mistakes And Amplify Your Productivity

Written by: Alice Dartnell, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Alice Dartnell

As an entrepreneur or leader, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, there is no doubt that you are going to be busy! You are juggling multiple responsibilities, being pulled in multiple directions, there is a ping or ring every minute (and you’ve probably got two phones), and you are almost certainly feeling time pressed.

woman drinking coffee while working on laptop

I have no doubt that you understand the value of focus and its impact on your productivity and results. However, with the ever-increasing demands of business and life, plus our 24/7 society that is always plugged in, maintaining unwavering attention is becoming more and more challenging.

Let me help you.

3 common time management mistakes

In this article I am going to share with you three common mistakes you are probably making when it comes to your focus and productivity. And of course, I won’t leave you there. I’ll also share five of my expert tips on what to do instead to help your days feel in flow and focused.

Whether you're leading a startup, managing a global team, or expanding your business, this is going to help you maximise your focus and productivity.

1. Focusing on completing the most difficult tasks first

I get the logic behind this. If complete the most difficult task first thing in the day then it is done, and you don’t have it lingering over you throughout the rest of the day. But the problem with this is it assumes that you are at your cognitive best in the morning and that you can dive right in!

Mornings are often regarded as the time of day when our mental energy and focus are at their peak, but this is not necessarily true for everyone, and it will depend on the task too. It might also be ‘too much’ for you to dive right in at the deep end, and would actually be better for your confidence, mindset and self-belief to start with something easier. Plus, the bigger, more complex tasks often require more planning, so taking the time to do that before you start will be more beneficial.

2. Keep working on it until it is complete before you move on

Whilst I am not suggesting you leave tasks unfinished forever and bounce from task to task. However, we need to appreciate there are situations where persisting with a task until completion can actually be counterproductive. Why? Because of the Law of Diminishing Returns.

As you work on a task for an extended period, your productivity and focus declines over time. The longer you spend on a task without breaks or switching to other activities, the more likely you are to experience fatigue, decreased concentration, and diminished focus. Continuous focus on a single task without breaks can lead to mental fatigue and burnout.

3. Working from a to-do list

I am not against a to-do list by the way (I have lists galore!) as they can be a great approach to help with organisation and capturing tasks so you don’t forget them, but if you are working from it, then you’re seriously damaging your focus and productivity.

A to-do list typically outlines tasks without providing the necessary context, prioritisation or deadline. The problem with this is that it creates the illusion of a limitless capacity of your time and energy, which means we often add too much on the to-do list than we have time for. We’re fighting a losing battle if we task ourselves with more than we can physically handle, and this only adds to the sense of overwhelm and saps our focus and productivity!

Five expert productivity strategies

So now we know the common mistakes, let me share five expert strategies that are going to help you amplify your focus and productivity.

1. Think about your energy management as well as your time management

I am a firm believer that time management isn’t just about managing time but also about managing your energy. To boost your focus and productivity, you need to start working WITH yourself and your body, including the natural peaks and troughs of energy you go through throughout the day (this is called your Ultradian rhythm by the way). Look at when you’re at your most alert throughout the day and identify your most productive hours: Schedule your biggest tasks during these peak productivity hours.

2. Make “me time” a non-negotiable first thing in the morning

Remarkably, 71% of people check their phone within 10-minutes of waking up! STOP! You have to take control of your morning if you want to take control of your focus and productivity. Create a positive morning ritual that is going to create the mindset and energy your day deserves! Before you even jump into tasks and work-mode, make time for nurturing you and cultivating your energy – exercise, journalling and meditation have all been shown to have a profound positive impact on your health, energy management and productivity.

3. Work in short sharps bursts

The average person’s concentration will max out at 25 minutes. If you want to maintain a high level of focus and productivity throughout the day then you need to start working in smaller chunks, broken up with regular ‘brain breaks’. You’ll give your brain a chance to rest and process information. This will result in improved creativity, problem-solving abilities, and overall performance when you return to your tasks.

Also, by limiting the amount of time blocks you work in, you’re less likely to procrastinate and waste time.

4. Plan your day the night before

Imagine starting every day with a clear direction and knowing what you need to be doing and when. Too many of us make the mistake of rolling out of bed and into the day. Instead, adopt my strategy of “planning, prepping and packing the night before” (this is something I share in my signature online time management course). Before you go to bed, plan ahead and get ready for your tomorrow.

Plan your day ahead and check your schedule, prep anything that you can in advance (even if that is just the kid’s lunchboxes) and pack anything you need (even if you work from home). This will give you a sense of control, reducing stress, thus enabling you to go into your day with confidence and focus.

5. Set an intention before every task

And yes, I do mean before every task. Whether that is dipping into your inbox, posting something on social media, a big client meeting or a brainstorming session. It helps you establish a clear objective and purpose, directing your attention towards the specific outcome you want to achieve. By consciously setting an intention, you prime your mind to stay focused on the task, reducing distractions and enhancing concentration.

Whilst you can’t get more hours in your workday, you CAN improve your focus which means you can achieve more in those hours you have! Enhancing focus is a crucial skill for any entrepreneur striving for success. Implement these practical tips and cultivate a focused mindset and maximise your productivity!

Follow me on Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

Alice Dartnell Brainz Magazine

Alice Dartnell, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Alice Dartnell is a time management and energy management coach, trainer, speaker, and author, who is passionate about empowering people to create a life by design, not by default! Known as an expert in time management and energy management, Alice doesn’t teach time management in the traditional sense. Instead, she focuses on the importance of energy management and mindset as the way to improve time management. Alice believes that time management actually isn’t about managing time! Instead, it is about managing you, other people, your tasks and most importantly, your energy! She works with individuals on a 121 basis, as well as through programmes, workshops, and courses. Additionally, she delivers training to org



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