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  • Writer's pictureRachel Pintarelli

Pulling Focus: The 'Most Important Task' Method

Today has been a day where keeping focus has been a CHALLENGE.

I found myself switching browser tabs, checking my phone 30 times, staring at my email Inbox and wondering why today has been "slow". The irony is...I have LOADS of project work to keep me moving and busy, plus a new client proposal. Today has in fact, NOT been slow, despite what my brain keeps trying to tell me.

I managed to get one project draft completed (yay!), but two hours later I am just NOW formulating this blog post and pushing myself to share it via social. Safe to say...this is not my normal pace of work.

So what gives?

Some days our heart and mind take over. The state of our world, of humanity, all of it...weighing on my otherwise optimistic and productive brain. But these are the moments I think "hey, maybe I am not the only one?". And that's when I set myself into action knowing I can support others with resources and words of wisdom.

I found this AMAZING article on ways train yourself to stay focused and wanted to summarize some of the biggest takeaways for me - which includes a pretty kick ass method for staying on task. I will implement some of this new knowledge tomorrow in the event my heart and mind feel lost again (though I'm hopeful). And in the meantime, it doesn't hurt to absorb the knowledge and share it with all of you.

The Method for Focus*

It’s fairly simple:

  1. Pick an MIT (Most Important Task). First thing in the morning, before you get on your phone or online, think about what you NEED TO DO (not would like to do...which I am guilty of!). What would make the biggest difference in your work today? What projects are on your plate? If you have several, just randomly choose one for now. You can get to the others later. Don’t waste your time in indecision, the point is to practice with one task. This one task you choose for today is your one Most Important Task (MIT).

  2. Do a 15-minute focus session. As soon as you start working for the day, clear all your browser tabs, phone apps, etc and anything you don’t need for your MIT for today. Start a timer for 15 minutes.

  3. Make Your Choice. For those 15 minutes, you can NOT switch to anything else (no checking email, messages, social media, doing other work tasks, cleaning your desk, etc.). There are two choice here...and only two (I love this by the way!). A) You should only work on your MIT, or...get ready... B) sit there and do nothing. Those are your only options. You will have an urge to switch, do not do it!

  4. Report to an accountability partner. If you don't already have one, finding an accountability partner is a HUGE help! And if that isn't an option, join a group that does weekly video check-ins where you get to share your challenges, successes and project visions. I belong to the Rise Above Noise "Rise Together" Membership Group and it has worked wonders (rolling enrollment). There is also a great public Facebook Group you can join too.

That’s it! I'll be giving this 15-minute focus session approach a try to see if I can tame my brain when things feel a little too topsy turvy. It is wonderful to feel like we are always on our game, but the reality is...we are human. It's important to present the truth and admit when we need a little help. And THIS seems to be a great way to get the head back in the game of productivity!

*Thanks to Leo Babauta for sharing this method!

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