What if you could grab 5-10 minutes of laser-focused attention here and there throughout the day? Would it help you be more effective? I think so. Micro-Focusing is something I’ve been using lately to try to grab a little bit more time each day that I might not be able to access otherwise. I got the idea from Steve Slaunwhite, who wrote about a similar concept called the 50-minute focus in his book The Wealthy Freelancer.
The idea is to grab little blocks of time, about 5-10 minutes whenever you can to focus on the important tasks you need to complete. It’s about the same amount of time it takes to grab a cup of coffee or run to the restroom. Everyone has it, and using it this way is a great way to successfully navigate life’s daily interruptions.
While nothing is better than being able to fully focus on your work for extended time periods, those blocks of time seem harder and harder to come by with all the daily distractions of client demands, email, phone and family responsibilities. And once your time is gone, it’s gone. It’s the most important non-renewable resource we have.
One day when I was faced with the inability to schedule a focused block of time, I elected to try micro-focusing and the results were great. To try micro-focusing, it’s it’s ideal have easy access to email and with web with a mobile phone or similar device. If that’s not possible, get in the habit of carrying a small pocket-sized notebook and pen with you everywhere. Although I’m a writer and web designer, here are some more generic examples of how you can use each 5-10 minute micro-focusing session to snatch little bits of time here and there throughout the day:
- Schedule or re-schedule a client meeting, or email yourself a reminder to do it
- Write down the three main points you want to deliver in your next presentation
- In your next micro-focus section, start brainstorming one of those three points
- Write down a list of administrative tasks you need to complete such as buy post-it notes, update bookkeeping, mail bills, etc.
- Tackle the ones you can complete in a few minutes during your next session
- Write down that killer idea the minute it hits – don’t depend on your memory. Write it down now.
- Read the article you bookmarked earlier in the day
- Return all phonecalls. If you catch someone live, tell them you only have a few minutes, otherwise leave a voicemail.
- Write or return emails that only take 2-3 minutes to create. Save the others for later.
You get the idea. What’s great about this practice is that doing it consistently tends to start opening up those larger time blocks. As you start completing more and more tasks, give yourself a reward. Take a walk around the block, watch something funny on YouTube, or just chill out and relax. Give Micro-Focusing a try and see if it helps you get more done.
You may also enjoy reading 5 Online Productivity Tools To Help You Work Smarter, Not Harder.