You know what I mean. It’s that cluster of annoying little tasks that take anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes each. If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you encounter a swarm of pesky little tasks each week that need attention: accepting a Zoom invite, scanning a document, signing off on a purchase order etc.

COREageous Entrepreneur subscriber, Terese from Boston, complained, “They (the pesky little tasks) are like gnats whizzing around my head throughout the day. I have to stop what I’m doing and swat at them. Today, I counted nine gnats that took a huge bite out of my productivity. How can I control the gnats?”

Terese makes a good point – research shows that when you shift your attention from one task to another, thoughts about the first task persist and intrude while performing the second task. It’s called “attention residue.” It can take several minutes to regain focus on the first task after the switch and, because it is not a clean transition of focus, mistakes can result. If gnats bug you intermittently throughout the day, the attention residue they leave behind can gobble up a couple hours of your prime time.

A COREageous solution:  You’ve heard of “nap time,” so how about “gnat time?” Just as you would carve out a block of time for a nap, carve out a time to swat gnats in one fell swoop. Here are four ways to do so:

  • Reduce the swarm of gnats by delegating or saying “no” to as many gnats as possible.
  • Corral your gnats, list them, and set aside a block of time a day (or once a week if they are not time-sensitive) to swat at them one at a time.
  • Schedule your gnat times at low energy times of day. Preserve your prime time mental energy slots for deep work.
  • Share your calendar with your staff so they know when not to send gnats your way.

Accounting for your time may “gnat” be your thing. Yet it is a COREageous skill for getting things done, done well and on time. I can help. Contact me at [email protected]

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