Thanks for joining me today. I’ve got a devotion running about empty busyness on Encouragement for Today. Is this something you struggle with? Do you ever feel like you just walk in circles? Figuratively or literally.
It really bugs me to waste time. As I get older, it bothers me more and more – probably because I’m increasingly aware of the reality of life. Time is a finite gift … we only get so much of it. Then there’s the kicker. We don’t know how much we get. So I’m kind of a fanatic for making the most of every minute God gives me.
But that doesn’t mean I always get it right. No … there are PLENTY of times I know I haven’t used my time wisely.
I’m not talking about those times when I’ve been interrupted by a legitimate need. As a mom of five teens and young adults, and as a wife of a work-at-home husband – I get interrupted a lot. But I’m talking about those times when I could get something done and I don’t. Usually it’s because I have trouble focusing and get easily distracted.
Probably for me, the biggest tip, other than having a God-ordained plan for the day as I mentioned in my devotion, is to mono-task. What? you say. How can that be efficient? Well, it is. Because it’s training my mind to focus on the task at hand and thereby increase productivity.
You might be surprised to learn that researchers are finding a constant diet of technology changes the wiring in the brain. Apparently, texting while surfing the Internet, while updating your status on Facebook in between tweeting your peeps is making it harder and harder to focus. Really? What a surprise.
The risk, they say, is that our brains can become more easily habituated to constantly switching tasks — and less able to sustain attention. In other words, when we really need to concentrate, we can’t!
Another study showed that 2.5% of people are actually super-multi-taskers and can somehow switch from task to task with ease. Interestingly, most people think they are in that 2.5%. I took a focus test on line and thought I aced it when I saw how high my results were. Then I looked closer and realized I was off the charts in the wrong way.
Increased exposure to electronic stimuli keeps the brain active even when not in front of a screen, thereby decreasing the brain’s ability to rest. The constant state of stimulation isn’t healthy for anyone. Our brains need rest like our bodies need sleep.
Could an inability to sustain focus be hindering your ability to manage your time wisely? If so, then it’s time to address this half-life of electronic mental stimulation, by balancing it with times of mental rest. We need less consumption of technology and more unplugged activities, like reading and getting in to nature.
The reality is most of us aren’t as productive as we think when there are multiple streams of information and interruptions entering our psyche. It’s much safer to assume we are in the majority, and function less effectively while multi-tasking. If we want to do our best work, we need a return to mono-tasking.
So what does this look like? For me, it means no music or TV in the background when I’m working at something that
requires focus. At times, it means shutting down my email so I’m less tempted to switch over and check it while trying to work at the computer. It also means there are times when I just take a mental break … and that doesn’t mean surfing the Internet or switching on Food Network. It means allowing my thoughts to wander, daydream or just enjoy watching the birds devour the seed I just put out for them.
What about you? Do you have trouble focusing? Do you have some advice? I’d love to hear your thoughts. And I’d love to give away a copy of my book, “I Used to Be So Organized.” So please leave a comment today and I’ll select someone at random to win a copy. Your comment doesn’t have to be a time management tip, just say “Hi” and you are entered. 🙂
Thanks for joining me today. May the Lord bless you.
In His Love,