Short attention spans seem to be the new normal these days as people are bombarded with all kinds of material, from breaking news stories that are not breaking at all to refreshing a Twitter timeline every thirty seconds to cycling the latest social media apps over and over in search of something that may or may not exist. There are far too many distractions around us and they seriously limit our productivity levels. This issue certainly occurs at philanthropic organizations as well, where it’s arguably the most important to stay on task and get as much done as possible, since most charities are running on limited resources. Here are three tips on how to encourage productivity at your philanthropy.
Limit screen time
Practice an exercise called 20/20/20; if a screen is necessary at work, eye strain is a real problem. The physical issues resulting from staring at a screen for too long certainly affect people negatively, thus one suggestion for curtailing these effects is the 20-20-20 rule. Take a break every 20 minutes and look at a fixed point around twenty feet from where you are, and look at this point for approximately 20 seconds. It re-calibrates the eyes and forces a bit of rest between tasks.
Set time limits
Silence the phone for small amounts of time, through willpower or through apps: there are certain apps that will lock a phone for a set period of time, or not allow opening apps that aren’t essential like text and calling for a certain period of time. Turning a smartphone into a “dumbphone” may not be the worst move for someone needing to concentrate. One another time-sensitive tactic may be to simply create a period of time where no electronics are allowed to be used, after dinner or before work, to guarantee a few hours of concentration on tasks that need to get done.
Turn off your phone
Simply turn off the phone. This option is a good one for extremists. Many other productivity articles do not bring up this point, but it’s certainly a valid one and can be useful for when you seriously need to focus. Turn any devices off, shut any device down, and work on the task until it is done. Go for a walk, recharge, and start over with a fresh mind and body. Maybe consider usage of a device as a prize at the end.
For philanthropies, there’s often a lot happening at once with limited resources. You need to focus on getting the word out about your organization, finding volunteers, fundraising, and filling out necessary paperwork. All of these tasks can seem overwhelming, but if you master productivity, doing everything becomes a bit easier.