Career Magazine

How to Find the Right Time and Place to Focus on Your Project (VIDEO)

By Olgadegtyareva @olga_degtyareva
(click the image above to watch the video)
It’s a morning hour here, just after 7am. My family is still in bed, it is very quiet.

And this is exactly today’s topic: finding the time and place for you to focus on your overdue project, the one that is important to you but somehow you have never found the time to work on it and to make any progress. It might be a research paper that has been waiting to be written for months – this does not usually have a deadline and as the result you tend to procrastinate with it. Or it might be a project with a deadline but the deadline has already passed or is very near – so that just the thought of working on this project is daunting, and again as the result you are putting it off.

What you try to do instead is to get done all other “little” things thinking once you have them all done you finally work on that project. But the thing is that you are never done with them because there are so many of them and there are always more of them on your to-do list (such as answering e-mails, putting things in the post, doing administrative work). Or when you finally do get all those “little things” done you are just too tired and exhausted to focus on your important project.

Today I want to give you a tip on how to deal with it and invite you to become creative at finding time and place to focus on your project for an hour. I often say that an hour of complete focus on this project is what you need to make a noticeable or significant progress. And once you made this significant progress you’ve built a momentum for working on this project and it motivates you to do more. You’ll make even more progress and complete this project in no time.

Today we are focusing on helping you to find this time and place for you to create this hour of complete focus for working on your project. CLICK HERE to find out more…

I invite you to be creative, because it does not need to be your office or the working hours. If you are a PhD student it might be too crowded or too noisy in your office, and I know this, I’ve been through this myself – my office at that time was distracting. And now I work with PhD students and I see their offices, they are huge, with many people sharing the office space creating high levels of noise.

It may be that during your working hours your supervisor is expecting you to do certain things and you cannot find time to focus on that project. If you are higher on your career ladder, it might be that your other commitments and obligations, such as teaching and administrative stuff, keep you busy during the day. You might be thinking “I will catch up with work later in the day”, but then it is already time to go and pick up your children from nursery or from school.

It may be that you are not so busy during your working hours – and I have a couple of clients that I work with now privately, they are postdocs and they say they do have time during the day – but you are so used to what you usually do in the office (and this is NOT working on your important project) that you don’t seem to manage to break this habit of procrastinating with this project while you are in the office.

So it is good to look at other options – and it could be your home, a library or even a beach if the weather is good (if you are the type of person that can focus on work being on the beach). So I invite you now to think creatively about the place where you are going to focus on your project!

Speaking about the time: it does not need to be during your working hours. Personally I’ve done getting up at 2am and working until 3am to have an hour of complete focus going back to bed after that. Or these morning hours – 6am or 7am – are quite good for me because I know that no one will disturb me.

You know in your heart that there is such time in your day (or night) – so just pick it and dedicate an hour of complete focus to your project.

Now, what is a “complete focus”? It is when this hour comes, you are not checking your e-mails, you are not checking Facebook and you are not checking your text messages. Instead you go straight to working on your project, on your defined tasks. It is good to define the concrete tasks beforehand and I’ve shared with you my thoughts on this earlier where I talked about defining the concrete tasks to help you make progress with your project (Check out THIS VIDEO and THIS ARTICLE)

What happens is that within this hour you make certain progress that helps you to build a momentum which motivates you to do more. So I would recommend that you find such time and place that you can schedule this hour of complete focus over the whole week, from Mon to Fr or even from Mon to Sun. And within this week you might be even able to complete this project, depending on how big the project is, or make a significant progress with it.

Your Productivity for Scientists Assignment for this week:

Look at your week (when you plan your week ahead or do your Weekly Summit – it’s a productivity tool for planning your week) and be creative by noticing what you do throughout your day (and night) to find that one hour when you are going to focus on your important project. Then when this hour comes, turn up for this appointment with your thoughts gathered, knowing which files or programs you need to open, and focus on it completely. In a week’s time after doing this one hour of complete focus every day you’ll see some progress with this overdue project!

Share your thought below on how this worked for you. Also please share this article with your friends and colleagues who mentioned that they wanted to write that paper for months but have not managed to sit down and start writing and they don’t know how to start working on that project.

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