Have you ever noticed that when we’re in vacation mode, we tend to automatically institute the teachings of “The One Thing“? We apply focus to the areas of work and life that matter most, we prioritize more tightly and our productivity goes through the roof as we work to get everything finalized before stepping away from our desks. Imagine what you could accomplish if every day was that focused.
You already have it in you, you just need the right habits to make every week equally productive. Here are some of our top tips for maintaining a vacation-focused level of productivity.
Distractors and productivity are like oil and water. The more distractions there are, the less productive we are. When we’re about to leave for vacation we’re laser-focused. All we see is the vacation light at the end of the tunnel. Our blinders are on, and we’re not letting emails, water cooler conversations or kitten videos distract us from getting things done, because the last thing we want is to worry about work while on vacation.
On a regular day, most of us allow distractions to sneak in and steal time from us. Take back that time by getting rid of everything that isn’t directly related to the work at hand. Let co-workers know you’re in the zone, only pull up the webpages you need, turn your phone off and disconnect from any other devices that may interrupt you. Do everything you can to de-distract yourself.
Prioritize and Push Away Non-essential Items of Business
When you’re down to the last day before a vacation, only the top priorities make it on your radar. All the non-essentials are recognized for what they are – black holes that suck up your time without any hope of getting back.
To combat those thieving black holes, start your week off by identifying your highest priority and list everything else after it in order of importance. Only when you’ve completed your top priority can you begin to deal with everything else. You’ll find that when you’ve identified and isolated your top priority for the week, focusing on it becomes easier.
Time Block the Big Stuff
After you’ve identified your top priority, the next step is to time block it so that it gets done in a timely fashion. Creating a time block will also help keep other non-essential items from creeping into your workday.
Parkinson’s Law states that things will take as long as the time we give them. In other words, how much time you allot for something tends to be how long it takes. If you don’t put a time limit on something, it can easily get stuck in an ongoing, everlasting vortex of counter-productivity.
Time blocking allows you to plot out your day so that each task is allotted a certain amount of time. The residual benefit of time blocking is that only One Thing goes in each time block. This helps you to focus and eliminate distractions.
Nothing is excluded from being time blocked, even your time off. This includes ending your workday at a specific time every day. Once that deadline is established, you’re in a better position to allot only as much time as necessary for job tasks because if you give yourself “X” amount of hours to get work done, that’s how long it will take you to get it done!
Have Short-term, Weekly Targets
When a vacation is right around the corner we have a very clear end goal that’s not far away. Long-term goals are vital for keeping your momentum going, but getting there requires a series of short-term goals that are met along the way. That’s why the 4-1-1 is so useful. Once you have a yearly goal laid out, you can create a monthly goal, which then leads to weekly goals. Your weekly goal may not be as fun-filled as a vacation, but it gives you a very distinct end result for you to reach.
Use the Focusing Question
To identify the weekly targets ask yourself the focusing question, “Based on my monthly goal, what’s the ONE Thing I can do this week such that by doing it everything will be easier or even unnecessary?” Once you have the answer make it the top priority in your time blocking.
Do you have any tips on how to keep that vacation-time focus? Don’t be shy, share them in the comments below!