Time Management Crash Course - Lesson 4

Two Ninja moves to increase focus. 

Welcome to lesson 4 of our crash time management course. In this lesson we talk about two ways you can develop a laser-like focus. 

Please note: while I talk videos below using Outlook as my example, this could easily be applied to Gmail, Lotus Notes, or for pen and paper.

Video 1 (of 2) : Increase focus and turn off alerts

Video 2 (of 2): Increase focus by having the right documents in your calendar/task entries.

Homework from this lesson

1. Turn off the alerts on your Email Program.

2. Over the next week practice inserting documents that you want to work on into your calendar or tasks.

Lesson 4a: Text Summary

A ninja move to enhance your focus is to turn off your email alerts. Even the most focused individuals can quickly be led astray by the incessant ping-ping-ping of incoming emails - but if a person is already prone to distraction these incoming signals can really derail the whole day. 

Out of the box, the default settings on most email programs are set with all the bells and whistles on. We want to turn off these bells and whistles. Remember at a minimum when the email alert pops up it is a one-minute cost on your focus. Every time you look at the little pop-up that pops on the bottom of the screen it’s a one-minute cost of your attention. 

This is at a minimum now multiply this across the day with many many emails that you get. Now many people say hey I can’t do this - what if it’s the critically urgent and important email. If it is really something that you are concerned about then consider setting up an auto-responder that redirects all urgent matters to your phone. Since the software changes often please see this link on my site below for some suggestions. 

One final note - turning off notifications also means turning off all social media notifications coming to your email as well. Here’s how to turn off alerts to turn off alerts in Outlook. 

Level 4b: Text summary

I don’t know about you but I also like to have all my documents in one place when I’m ready to start work. Otherwise I’m prone to interrupting others or distracting myself. Here are a few methods to make this quick and easy. One way might be to insert additional email to your tasks or calendar that you need to action this is often a useful thing to do when further action or information is required to support the original task or calendar entry.

The video provides demonstrations of doing this in Outlook but it could be done in most email programs.

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.
Share this page:
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.