Paul Wherly

Workload management: 6 ways to stop majoring in the minor!

major in the minorTony Robbins has a saying “most people major in the minor”. What he means is that most people focus in the small things and avoid getting the major tasks done. Does this sound like you? Are minor tasks taking you all day? Do you look at your watch or the clock at 5.30pm and wonder where the day has gone?

If you find yourself spending all day to compose an email, or get a report across to a colleague, then chances are that you’re getting very, very distracted in the workplace. Ultimately this will have a very negative implication upon your job.

If you find yourself starting  lots of projects that take too long or don’t get finished at all then you need to stop majoring in the minor and start taking your career back!

1. Kill your internet.

Your mind will be blown at how much more productive you are at a computer with no internet connection. I know everyone is responsible for marketing these days with the onset of social media, but not to the detriment of your career.

Ban research. Not all research but you know the kind I mean,  “research” that transforms into a search for the most awesome uses for rubber bands, the next chain email that you want to forward to a friend. No twitter, email, phone, or any other element that sucks up  your time.  By all means research online just gather your research materials, and when it’s time analyse the data and start doing your job, cut the internet off.  Your boss and your career will thank you for it.

2. Clear the clutter and take a weight off of your mind

The brain works in fascinating ways, and it’s time to make it work for you.

The more stuff you can see, the more your brain can latch onto it and create an “urgent matter” in your brain – notice how easy it is to get distracted by trivial things when you are doing something important? So clear the mess off your desk, and get rid of excess files from your desktop, delete the distracting photos… delete… delete… delete.

If you find that you open hundreds of folders on your desktop and stack things up in order to get more done, then stop it right now. You’re trying to get to it quickly, but it’s harder to put those items away once you’re done. You’ll be tweaking things and not getting anything done at all.

Reduce your visual clutter and enjoy the results.

3. Start with the small things.

You’ve heard of chunking? Maybe you’ve heard of the guy that ate a plane? It took him 18 months. Do you know how he did it? He dismantled the plane and ate it a tiny piece at a time. It’s easy to get distracted and feel overwhelmed, like you want to quit altogether when you work for a long time on a solitary task.

That takes a lot of focus and brain power to maintain, so chunk the task down into manageable steps. Check you’re not re-inventing the wheel and limit yourself to the amount of time you will spend on the task.

If you’re having problems staying focused because the work is monotonous, put on some soft music (not talking) and work in 20 minute batches.

4. Don’t multitask.

If you’re chasing down three projects at once, you’re hurting yourself. Especially if those projects require a broad set of skills and you’re losing your ability to niche down and specialize. Devote your time and energy to doing just one task, and if you can use one skill at a time (like writing), even better. This helps you get into the zone and become hyper- productive.

5. Take a break.

Your attention has peaks and troughs. You want to create a smooth, uninterrupted ocean of productivity so you need to remember to take frequent breaks. Walk to the watercooler and grab a drink of water, walk to lunch, walk about and get your energy going again. Don’t let yourself burn out on a single task!

If you find yourself taking too many breaks you’re becoming distracted again so start scheduling them in your diary!

6. Work fast.

Work fast to get into the productive zone, or the flow. Once your there it becomes so much easier to manage your workload and get things done.

Set time limits. Your mind will help you channel the energy you have into the task if you guide it to how long something should take. If you tell yourself something will take an hour… guess how long it will take? An hour. But what if it was a 30 minute task? That’s 30 minutes wasted. Tell yourself how long a task will take and be realistic. Then stick to the mini-deadline. You’ll find yourself far more productive because of it!

When you focus on the things that matter you’ll find yourself much more productive in the work place and that can only boost your career.


What are your favourite tips for getting into the zone? Please do share with us by adding comments below.

Till next time 🙂

Shelley Fishel

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