Choosing the Right Time for Focused Work

Are you choosing the wrong time of day for focused work?

In this series of posts and vidoes, we’ve been talking about interruptions and how to manage them. In my last video, I talked about when you are the source of your own interruptions – when you allow yourself to become distracted and get pulled away from the focused work you intended to do.

One of the reasons you might allow yourself to be interrupted or distracted is that you are simply choosing the wrong time to do your focused work.

Recently I was talking with one of my clients who expressed frustration with her inability to complete some larger projects for clients. We talked about blocking time to get those projects done, but it still wasn’t working for her.

When we explored the issue further, she told me that she often planned to do focused work at home in the evening. She would take work home, expecting to do it after her children had been put to bed, but she never seemed to get to it. Or she would try to work on it, but she just couldn’t concentrate – she was exhausted from the day. And then she would feel guilty that she didn’t work on it, and that feeling would bleed into the next day and make her more stressed.

We moved some things around in her schedule so that she would block time for focused work during the work day and give herself permission to take the evening off a few nights a week. The other nights, she responded to quick emails or worked on planning her work for the next day, instead of trying to work on larger projects that required more concentration.

Another client planned to do his most important projects first thing in the morning, before he did anything else. But after trying for several weeks, he was more behind than ever. He had blocked the first hour of every day to do focused work, and then scheduled client appointments after that, so if he didn’t get that focused work done in that first hour, it just wasn’t getting done.

In talking about the issue, it came to light that he just wasn’t a morning person. It took him a while to get going in the morning, so scheduling thinking work first thing in the morning just wasn’t working for him. It was too easy for him to be distracted by looking at his email, checking social media, etc., eating into his focused work time. We changed his focus time to early afternoon when he was full of energy and that plan was much more successful for him.

The bottom line is that what works for one person might not work for you. If you’re having trouble focusing on your most important projects, pay attention to the times of day when you have the most energy and concentrate the best. Experiment with blocking time at different times during the day to get that work done.

If you want to learn more about how I can help you create a schedule that helps you be the most productive you can be, please contact me.

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