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Action Tip

Digital fatigue: Focus on the essentials

Even though you’re exhausted at the end of the workday, you feel you haven’t made any progress on the most important tasks. Time to get off the merry-go-round and focus on the essentials: your goals and your added value.

Based on
A World without Email : Reimagining Work in an Age of Communication Overload de Cal Newport (Portfolio, mars 2021)

A World without Email : Reimagining Work in an Age of Communication Overload by Cal Newport 
(Portfolio, march 2021). 

1 / Work in sequential mode

Stopping and starting, and endlessly switching between tasks depending on the incoming flow has a detrimental effect on the quality of your work and performance. Take back control of your workflow. 

  • Set aside dedicated blocks of time. Devote time slots to different types of tasks depending on your energy levels. For example, block off the start of the morning for strategic thinking; the start of the afternoon for administrative tasks; and Friday afternoons for reports. 
  • Set a ratio. Make a note of the time you spend on different types of tasks over two to three weeks (apps such as Rescue Time will do this for you). You will be amazed at how little time is devoted to “real” work. Armed with these observations, try to establish a viable ratio between administrative tasks and value-added tasks. Adjust your timetable to meet this ratio little by little. 
  • Concentrate on one task at a time. Do you think you’re more efficient when you’re multitasking? In reality, the quality of your work drops noticeably as soon as you are interrupted or when you do several things at the same time. Force yourself to see one task through to the end: If you leave it hanging, it will continue occupy your thoughts and impairs the next task. 
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Florence Meyer
Published by Florence Meyer
Executive coach, change management expert, and author. Constantly on the lookout for the latest management and leadership trends.