When was the last time you were totally caught up? I can’t remember such a time. The list is always longer than the day. The pressing, non-negotiable items are addressed and the other stuff gets moved to another list or just falls off my radar at some point. Clearly, I’m not alone in this scene. Productivity research reveals 41% of items on to-do lists never get completed.
What if you could eliminate interruptions and distractions and focus on a task until it’s complete? It’s a simple concept that could be the ticket for change. It can be said that managing distractions is the new war on mediocrity. We need to retrain ourselves to work in focused spurts and then reward ourselves with time off.
“There is a lot of research that says we have a limited pool of cognitive resources,” says Allison Gabriel, an assistant professor of management at Virginia Commonwealth University. “When you are constantly draining your resources, you are not being as productive as you can be. If you get depleted, we see performance decline. You’re able to persist less and have trouble solving tasks.”
Recovery opportunities might range from breaks during the workday to scheduling weekend activities that divert you from the temptation to catch up on work. Getting enough sleep can go a long way toward managing stress and staying healthy as well.
The infographic below, published by Michael Hyatt, addresses statistics on the crazy way we work. Americans are working long hours and carrying a burden of stress that is not bearing good fruit. The average work week has increased to 50 hours a week, with many executives working 70 hours a week when you count the time checking email and working from home. Yet productivity studies show only a .3% gain in productivity from all these extra hours.
Considering the unremarkable benefit of all these extra hours, along with the fact that 71% of workers experience stress-related illnesses – it’s time to rethink the crazy way we work.