When you want to get more done in less time, you have to work strategically.
I am often asked how I am as productive as I am. People frequently assume I work a lot more than I do, or that I have a much bigger team than I have.
There are several factors that help me get more done in a week than most people do in an entire month but aside from keeping things simple, the absolute biggest influence is this...
Working in focus blocks and batching my work.
I have found that the key to leveraging them effectively is to create what I call your "conditions for focus".
A 2-hour focus block with the right conditions in place to stay laser focused from start to finish can result in getting a massive amount FINISHED.
But a 2-hour focus block without the right conditions in place can look like spending the 1st 30 minutes frustrated af trying to find everything you need coupled with so many distractions that you end up getting very little even started let alone finished during that time.
Here are a few conditions for focus to get better results from working in focus blocks.
1. Create a distraction free environment.
Turn off notifications, dings, and sounds on your phone and computer.
Putting your phone on airplane mode works great but if that isn't enough to keep you from reaching for it, plug it in to charge in another room.
Close the extra tabs and programs on your computer that you won't need.
Let anyone who has access to you and your space know you're going into a focus block and not to disturb you unless it's critical.
2. Prep your workspaces - physical and digital.
Clear out any clutter and distractions from your physical workspace and make whatever you need to work accessible - sticky notes, pens, planner, etc.
Get your coffee and water so you have less need to get up. If you plan to take a break in the middle of your focus block to eat, prep your food in advance. If you plan to take a movement break (which I highly recommend), have your sneakers or yoga mat ready to go.
Ensure you have the right sounds and smells that help you focus. For me, I use a soft noise machine and turn on my diffuser with lemon essential oils.
Prep your digital workspace in advance so you have all your files and links ready so you can start working right away instead of starting your focus block trying to find things. I do this as part of my planning for the day.
3. Play to your strengths.
I get that sometimes you need to fit a focus block in whenever you can, but as often as possible, schedule them strategically to be when you work at your very best. For example...
If you are sharpest and your most creative first thing in the morning, kicking off your day with a focus block dedicated to thought leadership content may be a great idea (that's what I do!).
If you know that you struggle to get things done in the afternoon, that wouldn't be the best time for a focus block... but if it's the only time you have, leverage it for something that requires less creativity and innovation.
There are many more things you can do to create your conditions for focus, but if you start by incorporating these 3 into what you already do today, it should help you optimize the time you are investing in your business.
When deciding what to focus on, look at something you can finish in the time that you have. If you are working on something bigger, break off a strategic piece that you are confident you can finish.
by Crista Grasso
Crista Grasso is the go-to strategic planning expert for leading global businesses and online entrepreneurs when they want to scale. Known as the "Business Optimizer", Crista has the ability to quickly cut through noise and focus on optimizing the core things that will make the biggest impact to scale a business simply and sustainably. She specializes in helping businesses gain clarity on the most important things that will drive maximum value for their clients and maximum profits for their business. She is the creator of the Lean Out Method, 90 Day Lean Out Planner, and host of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast.