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The Power of Scheduling Focus Time

Focus is a funny thing.  It seems to take a different form with each of us, but whatever your specific type of focus looks like, I think we can all agree on one thing.  Within every single workday, we need some time, just to ourselves, to get some good and proper focus time in.

Research shows that most people need between 1 and 3 hours of uninterrupted focus time a day.  Depending on your work and attention style, this time can be completed in 1 block, or in 30-minute sections.  While there is a place for meetings, collaborative work and team communication, scheduled focus time is vital to get deep work done.

If you are wondering how, in this fast-paced world, you can achieve this type of utopia at work, look no further.  We are here to give you some awesome tips to help you set friendly boundaries, keep professional, stay on top of the day-to-day activity and also get that all-important focus time.

1.   Schedule Your Focus Time In

Did you know that Google Calendar actually gives you the opportunity to book yourself for an appointment?  You may feel a little silly doing it at first, but we are all for blocking out space in our Google Calendar each day.  By showing the team you are busy during that time, you are less likely to be disturbed.  That means that you will give yourself the chance to go deep and focus hard on the really important tasks on your list.

2.   Mute Your Notifications During Your Focus Time

We are pretty used to the pinging and buzzing that radiate from our phones and PCs every few minutes, but the truth is that they do take our focus, even if just for a second.  Florida State University research found that notifications can be just as distracting as calls or messages themselves.  Once we see the notification, our brains need to create a reminder for us.  Then, we need to keep remembering to follow up on what the notification was about.  This takes a toll throughout the day and can hinder deep concentration when we are working on something important or difficult that needs our full attention.

Since you are setting aside some time for serious focus, why not mute all your notifications for that time too?  You will be amazed at how much more you can concentrate on the task at hand, and how much less stress you will experience during that time block.  Just be sure to remember to turn them back on when you are done, or you may run into trouble later!

3.   Show Yourself As Busy

Another great feature that Google Calendar offers is the option to show yourself as busy.  If you feel a little bad scheduling a meeting with yourself, then this may be a good option for you.

You can show yourself as busy by scheduling an event in your Calendar.  Simply click to edit the event and select to show yourself as busy.  You will be marked as busy for however long your event (in this case, your focus time) lasts.

4.   Put Up a Do-Not-Disturb Sign

Do not disturb is a pretty universally understood request and one that should get you that well-needed focus time while working.

With this great option, if you schedule an appointment in Google Calendar, it will immediately sync with your phone and block calls and messages from coming through for the scheduled time.  We love this because the phone and PC are taken care of in one go.  Less effort, less stress, less to think about.

In the end, your work is your responsibility.  If you want to give it your all, taking time during each workday to focus completely on your most important and difficult tasks is a must.  Having focus time set aside will create healthy boundaries with colleagues, and send the signal that you mean business.  If you are a super social person who thrives on the constant buzz of communication, focus time is still important for you.  Focus hard during the blocked-out time, then jump right back into the comms when the time is up.  You may just find that your productivity shoots through the roof and your time spent collaborating is even more valuable.

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