5 Ways to Reduce the Drag Forces That Hold You Back
Imagine your brain is a computer. At the beginning of the day, you have 100% of computer memory available to use.
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But every time you add a task to your to-do list, a little bit of your computer memory goes toward that task.
If your brain is constantly filled with all of these secondary tasks, how much memory do you have left over to do meaningful work?
How can you expect to do your best work if you are constantly fighting mental drag?
Here’s how to fight the mental drag:
#1 Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time
Notice when your energy is at the highest and schedule the most important tasks for that period.
If you work best in the morning, block that period to work on important tasks and leave the rest for the afternoon.
#2 Never Check Email Before Noon
If I don’t check email at the beginning of the day, then I am able to spend the morning pursuing my own agenda rather than reacting to everybody else’s agenda.
If that‘s not an option for you, a challenge: Can you wait until 10 AM? Or maybe 9 AM?
The time doesn‘t matter.
You need to allow yourself some time during your morning where you can work on what is most important to you without letting the rest of the world dictate your mental state.
#3 Leave Your Phone in Another Room
It is much easier to do focused work when you don’t have any text messages, phone calls, or alerts interrupting your focus.
#4 Work in Full-Screen Mode
Nearly every application on my computer is in full-screen mode.
When I am working, I can’t see the time, the icons of other applications, or any other distractions on the screen.
It’s funny how big of a difference this makes.
If you can see an icon on your screen, then you will be reminded to click on it occasionally.
However, if you remove the visual cue then the urge to be distracted subsides in a few minutes.
#5 Remove All Tasks That Could Distract from Early Morning Focus
I love doing the most important thing first each day because the urgencies of the day have not crept in yet.
Choosing your clothes or what to eat for breakfast in advance will save energy in the morning that you can use instead to focus on your most meaningful work.
As Mark McGuinness said in Manage Your Day-to-Day:
"The single most important change you can make in your working habits is to switch to creative work first, reactive work second. This means blocking off a large chunk of time every day for creative work on your own priorities, with the phone and e-mail off."