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Slowing Down to Get in the Zone
Guest articles > Slowing Down to get in the Zone
by: David Liu
Finding the time to get all your work done can be one of the hardest things to manage in life. This is the same for first-year college students, struggling office workers, or even freelance artists. Multi-tasking can mean anything from concentrating on multiple projects to doing too many things at the same time.
In a world of 30-second ads, YouTube, and micro-blogging, it has become clear that perhaps we’re doing too little too much of the time. The mindset as of late is to finish as quickly as possible, and this has had quite a long list of results. For one, it severely limits the attention spans of all that are involved.
There are habits that can be integrated with your daily routine, but to be truly productive, one may have to cut out the fluff and focus on what task is really at hand. Here are some helpful tips:
One stone, one bird
Buddhist monks practice the art of being mindful, which can be said to include knowing, training, and then freeing, the mind. In this respect, being mindful is more than simply understanding your surroundings or paying extra attention – in fact, it can mean the exact opposite.
Sometimes, it can help to pay less attention to the things that distract or take you away from your focus. Doing one thing at a time can not only guarantee that you can give it 100%, but also that you aren’t just on autopilot. Of course, not everyone has the luxury of being able to devote all their time and energy to just one thing.
If your life is busy, you have two options. Either head into all of it with the same fervor, and not slacking off – or prioritizing.
Pick favorites, and stick to them
Prioritizing isn’t the easiest thing to do, but it does not have to be hard, either. Think about your goals, and make sure you know what is more important. This is along the same lines as not multi-tasking, except you can still get through a good amount of work.
Know what takes more energy, and conserve your heavy work-ethic hours for the complicated parts of your day. Leave the relaxing busy work or mindless physical stuff like laundry for the end.
Spend as much time as you know you need on everything, and make sure you plan out your day before you start it – especially if you plan on being busy.
Plan on being busy
This is the hardest of the three, because it involves not only stepping away from everything, but also a detailed inspection of everything you’re stepping away from. Make sure you harness your goals by planning on getting everything done.
Buy a schedule calendar, or a date book, and make notes on how to improve your daily routine. Set reminders for yourself, or wake up 10 minutes early the morning of a busy day and take the time to take it all in. If you don’t make time for everything, then you won’t have it. And that brings us to multi-tasking the wrong way.
There are things you can work less on, and things you should double up the effort for. Don’t make the mistake of jumbling everything together, because not every television show deserves your undivided attention.
Having shorter attention spans can actually help multi-tasking, as it keeps perspectives fresh and constantly mobile. While there’s no realistic way yet to track the actual amount of time a person spends mulling over subjects (short of installing time tracking software into cell phones, or worse, into brains), there seems to at least be agreement that attention spans have taken a turn for the worst.
Multi-tasking is in reality the ability to concentrate on multiple activities at once, and can range from driving and talking on the phone to writing a paper while talking on the phone and chatting with your IM buddies. In reality, only the highly disciplined can truly work without restraints.
David Liu is a writer and comedian based in San Diego, California. He writes extensively for online resources that provide expert advice on purchasing and outsourcing for small business owners and entrepreneurs on categories such as time and attendance software and VoIP service. You can find him at http://ResourceNation.com.
Contributor: David Liu
Published here on: 20-Jun-10
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