Nowadays, many distractions and social obligations prevent us from having focus time. However, I can see that more and more employees long for such a time. They want to spend a few hours undisturbed and focused on a specific task.
Statistically, we get interrupted seven times per hour by a colleague, a notification from our phone, an email, or a meeting. Some people feel obligated to respond at the minute due to different reasons. Out of fear that colleagues will get angry at them for not replying faster, the boss could think they don't work, that they might miss out on something important or simply out of habit.
So, what can we do to bring more focus time into our daily schedules?
Here are a few things everybody can try out:
Set expectations with your colleagues, friends and family members. Share your expectations and needs and agree on how to contact each other. Agree on how to signal focus times and how to behave in exceptions.
2. Turn off distraction
Put your phone in a "do not disturb mode", close your email program, or install software which blocks distractions.
3. Stack your meetings
Schedule all your appointments in the morning/evening to have meetings-free times. The most inefficient days are when we constantly switch between 30 min breaks and meetings.
4. Schedule focus times
block focus times daily in your schedule. In that way, others will also see that you are unavailable.
5. Start small
Start with tiny slots (e.g. 1 hour or even less once per week) to focus on your work or a dedicated task. That will help you and your colleagues to get used to it. When you feel comfortable, increase the times.
Try out different methods, and explore your needs and what feels convenient. Start with small focus times- stop your notifications for a short time, agree with your colleagues to try having meetings only in the morning/afternoon, etc.
7. Break your habits
Set reminders, keep a chart of your progress, start with a colleague and remind each other, but most importantly, remember that habits take time to change.
I suggest picking one idea that seems the most convenient and doable for you and trying to build a habit of implementing it daily. When you feel comfortable enough, you can try something new until you feel satisfied with the results. You don't need to rush and try everything at once because this is doomed to fail. Take your time and see the magic happen!