3 Steps to Finishing Tasks Like a Marathon Runner

For all you professional multitaskers with short attention spans, here are three easy ways you can slow down to speed up your approach to success.

1. Minimize distractions. Newsflash: Your type-A brain is underperforming by trying to overperform. Too many business professionals feel they need to be doing at least three things at once—eating lunch and checking email while on a conference call—to feel productive. Don’t be a sucker for distractions. Staying focused on one task makes you more productive. So shut your instant messaging and Facebook. You are just making your workday longer than needed. Check them a few times a day. Same goes for email. Don’t stop what you’re doing every 43 seconds to see if you’ve got a new message.

2. Control your day. Most of us have a list of more than 20 things we need to get done. Instead of looking at the daunting list every day and feeling overwhelmed, write down three things you will realistically accomplish in a day and complete those three tasks. Being overly ambitious just leaves you feeling defeated. Stress is often caused by the overwhelming feeling of incompletion, and our thoughts tend to be fear-based: “I won’t be able to finish this” or “my manager will find out I don’t know what I’m doing.” Creating realistic goals makes you more productive overall.
3. Find 10 minutes. Even in your busiest day, taking 10 minutes to relax—for instance, to step outside, listen to music or eat your lunch–will actually help you be more productive for the rest of the day. By actively choosing to take a break, you will feel more in control. Another option: Download this 10-minute body-scan meditation to your MP3 player or smartphone for a short mental break.

Just like a marathon runner, you need to pace yourself to win at your professional career.

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