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    2 Ways To Stay Focused - Free Time Tracking Template

    John Melley - Friday, February 15, 2013

    In this post I cover 2 unique ways and a FREE Resource to help you stay focused while working.

    Ok, so today I must admit I struggled with maintaining my focus while in the studio. I had a number of distractions. We had a band come in and perform, The Dunwells (Killer band by the way. Check 'em out at www.thedunwells.com) and they brought in lunch.

    Then there was the herding of various people to voice scripts, the rush before a 3 day weekend and yaddah, yaddah....

    Ever have one of those days where hours seem to go by and toward the end of the day you look at the pile of work and it has grown?

    Yeah - today's been one of those days.

    Here are 2 techniques I use when trying to regain focus and/or crank through a lot of material.

    • The Mighty Egg Timer
    • Time Tracking
    First the Egg Timer (There's mine in the upper right)

    While I don't recommend you use it while recording, there are plenty of other activities where you can use it to enhance productivity, like editing, writing, checking email, research, time on social media, even phone calls.

    How do you use it? Set the timer for a period of time. I like to set it for 30 minutes. Some people like 20 minutes, others 40 minutes. I find 30 minutes works best for me.

    So I set it for 30 minutes and I GO. I write, edit, load spots, check email - whatever and I go at it for 30 minutes non-stop. When the bell goes off I stop.

    I take a 5 to 10 minute break and then I set it again for another 30 minutes and I go at it again. I kinda play "Beat The Clock" with myself and I do this consistently throughout the work day.

    I get an AMAZING amount accomplished.

    Here's The Trick

    The trick is that you can't do something else while you're working on a project during that 30 minute time block.

    For example, if you've set the timer for 30 minutes of editing - then spend the 30 minutes editing. Don't have the email open and when the little bubble pops up saying you've got a new message you stop and go check your email. NOOOOO!

    Shut off the email for the 30 minutes and focus on the editing.

    Set the timer again and use that block to check email.

    Multi-Tasking is... in a word... uh... bullshit. Many people might think they can check email and edit at the same time, but what they're really doing is stopping to check email. Then they go back to editing. That slows things down dramatically.

    Substitute any other 2 activities like texting and driving and you get the same result. Neither activity gets "done" very well and sometimes with tragic consequences.

    Next Item...

    Time Tracking - and FREE Resource

    Take a sheet of paper or create a spreadsheet with the day broken up into 15 minute segments down the left column.

    If you'd like a free PDF of my tracking sheet template that I use, just click here.

    Then in each 15 minute segment you write down what you did during those 15 minutes.

    You Have To Be BRUTALLY Honest

    To get the full benefit of this exercise you have to be BRUTALLY honest with yourself. If you find yourself hesitating to write down what you actually did during that block of time, that alone should tell you something.

    Two things will happen. You will get more accomplished in a shorter amount of time and you will start to see how much time you really spend on non-productive activities.

    Do this for a full week (2 weeks are even better) and you'll start to notice patterns of activity. You might even start to notice certain times of day are more or less productive than others. That helps you adjust your activities to best suit the most productive times of day for you.

    To Make It Work You Need To Be Discipline

    Yes, it may be tedious to do this and it will take some self discipline, but it will be well worth the effort.

    I find I need to do this exercise every few months to help me get refocused. It's a very powerful tool. If you haven't downloaded the template yet, take a moment and click here to do so.

    What Do You Do?

    These are a couple of my ideas. What do you do to maintain focus? I'd love to hear your thoughts and learn any tips you may have.

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