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Penny Power Ponders how to overcome overwhelm and digital distraction

This week I thought I would share a very common challenge, how to focus in a technology driven world when we have so much information coming at us. It is so hard to manage the multi-tasking needs of work and balance this with the need to concentrate. For those of us who own a small business It is not just the tech that we manage, it is also the variety of roles within the business we navigate.

I have always been proud of my ability to multi-task. I am a hard worker, and I cannot rest until my work is done. As I read this back I think ‘what a total idiot you are Penny, is this something you really should be proud of?”

For sure I get a massive amount of things achieved each day across our business, I work hard not to drop any balls, and at the end of the day I tick off all my tasks in Asana and close all the applications on my computer, and switch it off, satisfied, yet pretty exhausted. I imagine many of you are like me, we see technology as a means to get more things done, rather than a way to find more rest. It seems the more I do the more I have to do. Business is a running tap, it doesn’t stop, you must stop it flowing and drowning you. I know the feeling in my past of drowning, but how do we stop that tap?

Mono-tasking is what we should all do, focus on one task at a time, allowing deeper engagement and a higher quality output. My moment of writing my Ponderings is one of the few moments in my week when I shut off all noise and I spend time with just you. Two hours that I love in my week, when I really focus. I wonder what your choice of deep focus is?

My goal for the next 3 months is to overcome a sense of overwhelm and to focus. This means I need to have some boundaries set around my work, do I really need WhatsApp, email, Slack, LinkedIn, Asana, Word, Trello, XERO, PowerPoint and Excel open all at the same time? Attention is a finite resource, and accessing this resource is a skill and habit we all can unlock and improve.

So this week, you might like to join me in a few focus challenges

1. Only have one application open on your computer at any one time

2. Time block each task, challenge yourself to focus for at least 15 minutes on that task

3. Turn off notifications and put your phone in another room

4. When you gather your tasks up, perhaps during 3 allocated moments in the day, collected from your emails, Slack, Social media etc, flag them by type and by urgency, add them to your task tool, I use Asana.

5. Finally, realise that multi-tasking is not a clever skill, reframe that in your mind. Deep focus is the skill we all need to hone.

Let’s make technology our friend this week, let it be our friend, instead of feeling like a slave to it. Be courageous, let some things slip to another day, turn the tap off, and when you next turn it on, don’t put it on so fully.

Have a lovely week ahead, thank you for inspiring me to think this through, you have been my Coach today, and I am so grateful to you for listening.

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