Four Practices to Help You Sustainably Achieve Your Top Priorities

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Today’s work environment challenges our ability to focus without distraction on cognitively demanding tasks. Fragmented workdays and constant demands for our attention, often puts people in a reactive mode that takes attention away from the work that matters. As a result, productivity, wellbeing and the ability to innovate suffer.

FOCUSWRX provides a science-based system of habits that focus Energy, Time and Attention on what matters most.

Do Less - Achieve More

Productivity is not about clearing your inbox. It’s about being deliberate on achieving what matters most. To do that you need to be in control of how you invest your energy.

FOCUSWRX is a system for working with Energy, Priorities, Time and Attention that promotes sustainable high-performance and wellbeing. The system is simple; you embed four practices into your daily work:

  • Understand how to achieve your priorities
  • Optimise your energy use for what matters most
  • Deliberately plan optimal time for your priorities
  • Seek optimal work conditions

Grow your impact

It is not enough to know your priorities; you also need to understand how to achieve them. Far too often, our priorities are too abstract to be actionable. You realise impact when investing energy, time and attention in doing the right things.

Clarify your top business priorities

Understanding your priorities is your starting point. Investing your energy right is investing it in achieving your top priorities. Sounds obvious, but does the way you spend your time, energy and attention reflect your top priorities? For many, it doesn’t. 

Not all priorities are of equal importance. Your top priorities should be what helps you make a meaningful impact. Reflect on your priorities; what creates value for you, your team and the customers you serve? Decide on your 1-3 top priorities.

Specify the work activities

What do you need to do to achieve your top priorities – what are the work activities? Does it require further planning, time to prepare, consulting a colleague, meeting a client, or just time to get things done? List the work activities. 

Being specific enables you to create a plan that makes you more productive.

Identify the most effective way of working

Your ability to be effective improves when you know which work conditions are required to best complete the work activity.

FOCUSWRX provides a simple model that categorises knowledge work into five work modes.

The model describes the optimal type of attention and level of energy for working in each mode. 

You can use the model to categorise each work activity by the work mode that most effectively will help you complete the activity.

  • Focus: When you need to concentrate.
  • Repetitive: Activities you have done many times before or routine work.
  • Collaboration: Meetings.
  • Reactive: Emails, calls, chat, instant messages.
  • Recharge: Recover to increase energy.

Improve wellbeing

Managing your energy level and investing it in doing the right things promotes wellbeing.

Optimise your energy use

Ever find yourself struggling to complete a vital work activity late in the workday after back-to-back meetings or even worse, in the evening?

Your most important work activities will likely require a lot of brainpower and the ability to think clearly. Brain intensive work needs a lot of energy; hence if you are low on energy, your effectiveness is inhibited.

Understand your energy pattern and usage

Think of your energy pattern as the typical way your energy level is throughout the day. A regular pattern for most people is to have high energy in the morning that decreases during the day. The amount of energy required to complete a work activity varies based on the type of work.  Understanding your energy pattern will, therefore, enable you to optimise your energy use and increase your efficiency, by shifting the timing of your work activities.

Energy is a fluffy concept. We can feel when we are high or low on energy, but how do you make it objectively measurable and therefore easier to manage?

The FOCUSWRX application uses stress and energy data from Garmin wearables and work activity data from your calendar, to provide on-going insights on your energy use, presented in an easy to use, personal dashboard.

Optimising for what matters most

Remember not to confuse efficiency with productivity. You do not have an infinite amount of energy. Spending it on the right things is what makes you productive.

How do you know what has the most significant impact on increasing your energy for when you want to complete your most important work?

FOCUSWRX provides insights that help you identify the behaviour change that will have the most significant impact. As you practice the behaviour change, you can measure the effect it is having while receiving on-going insights into your energy usage and pattern.

You can read more about the Time and Attention practices here. The article can be accessed by a free membership to the Be At Your Best Community.