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Work Mastery

Welcome to Work Mastery!

Welcome to Work Mastery!

The Focus Effect Program Home Page

KEY POINTS:

1. Busyness in the workplace is the expectation that employees put in at least eight hours of work each day - even if those eight hours are distracted and unproductive.

2. Work Mastery is learning how to use focus to become more productive and efficient in your workday, allowing you to become more present in your life outside of work.

3. In the coming module, you will learn how to work smarter, not harder or longer.

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“The performer who focuses the best wins the most.” - Chad Rempel

Welcome to Work Mastery!

There is the long-standing belief that a productive workday must last, at the very least, eight hours. The concept of the eight-hour workday started with the Industrial Revolution. Ford Motor Company advanced the idea in 1914, when the company scaled back its forty-eight-hour work week to curb accidents.

Because we’ve been doing this for so long, eight hours has become the minimally acceptable measure of work. If you hold a salaried management position and work forty hours a week, you are meeting the bare minimum expectations. The unspoken expectation is you should be the first one in the office every morning and the last one to leave every night. Otherwise, you’re seen as a slacker.

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I am a fan of hard work, and there are certainly times in our careers when extra demands require extra time, but it is not sustainable long term if we have any hope of living a balanced life. Many leaders of the newest and fastest-growing companies are far more focused on working smarter, not harder or longer. Balance and lifestyle have become important hallmarks of these companies.

This is where the focus effect comes into play.

When you eliminate distraction from your day, there is no need to be chained to a desk for endless hours. We have seen many examples of successful companies that have implemented five-, six-, and seven-hour workdays, with flexible hours and have shown far more daily productivity than the traditional eight-hour workday. Heck, some companies would be happy to go from ten- to twelve-hour workdays down to eight.

Distractions must be set aside during on-task time. When you are working, you are working. When you are not working, you are recovering and regenerating so you can do your best work again the next day.

When you give your tasks your undivided attention, you are able to produce higher quality work in less time. There is no logic to sitting at a desk for a designated amount of time if the work you are completing is not the best representation of your abilities.

So that’s the goal of this module - to give you the information and tools you need to work better, not harder. When you apply those skills in the workplace, you can begin to make changes that will improve every aspect of your life.

Today’s New Habit: Eliminate Distractions

The first habit I’d like you to work on in Work Mastery is to eliminate distractions.

Spend some time making a list of all the things that distract you during a typical workday such as email, social media, socializing, or surfing websites. You might get distracted by one, two, or all of these things.

Once you know what your biggest distractors are, you can come up with a plan as to how you will eliminate these distractions during work time.

We’ll check in next week to see how you’re doing on your list.



The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is not intended and should not be used in place of advice from your own physician or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you acknowledge that undertaking any new health, diet and/or exercise regime involves certain inherent risks, that you assume such risks, and that you release The Wells Group Inc. from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.

The Cost of Distraction

The Cost of Distraction

The Focus Effect Program Home Page

KEY POINTS:

1. Distraction in the workplace (both digital and other forms of distraction) are costing companies billions of dollars in lost opportunity and productivity, not to mention taking a toll on employees health and wellbeing.

2. By limiting work-related emails and communication to work hours, employees can be more engaged and focused when they are actually at work.

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Distractions are everywhere, especially in work environments where employees are doing the bulk of their jobs seated in front of computer screens. Just think about what you see when you walk around your own place of business. You see people reading nonwork-related articles online or scanning social media. You see them checking personal email accounts or visiting sites for their favourite stores to check out the deals of the day. You’ll see them working as well, but these distractions are often too much for them to resist when they have constant internet access.

Common sources of digital distraction include:

  • checking texts

  • checking emails

  • online shopping

  • social media

  • reading blogs

  • checking news sites

  • planning vacations online

  • paying bills online

Technology is not the only thing to blame. Other factors employees commonly waste time on are:

  • socializing with colleagues

  • unnecessary meetings

  • personal phone conversations

  • micromanagement

  • visiting the kitchen, water cooler, or break room

Here are some more interesting numbers to consider:

  • Three minutes—How frequently the average office worker is interrupted or distracted, according to the University of California, Irvine.

  • Twenty-three minutes—How long it takes to return to a task after being interrupted, according to the University of California, Irvine.

  • Eight—Average number of windows open on a worker’s computer at the same time, according to The Overflowing Brain: Information Overload and the Limits of Working Memory by Torkel Klingberg.

  • Thirty—Average number of times per hour an office worker checks their email inbox, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

For many companies, all this wasted time results in significant financial losses. According to research published by Basex, a knowledge economy research firm, information overload cost the US economy at least $997 billion per year in reduced productivity and innovation as of 2010.

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To be fair, this age of constantly being connected is not just an employee issue. Employers need to accept responsibility for their role in creating and perpetuating the problem. Imagine being out to dinner with the family for a birthday celebration on a Saturday night and getting an email from the boss about a problem you’ll need to address first thing Monday. Most likely, your mood, if not the whole evening, is now ruined. The truth is, managers have no right contacting an employee in the evening or on the weekend, unless it is an emergency, which—let’s be honest—it never is.

The reason so many companies are suffering is not a guessing game; it’s a simple math equation. They are losing money both from an operational standpoint as well as from the drain on employee benefits all this distraction causes. Stressed-out employees are often unhealthier employees. They use more sick days and experience frequent burnout, all of which impacts the bottom line. More importantly, it impacts their overall well-being.

When business leaders understand how distraction affects the workforce, they can make changes to improve everything from overall employee satisfaction to the company’s bottom line. For example, one simple idea is to implement an automatic notification policy on your servers that does not allow emails to be sent or received before 6:00 a.m., after 6:00 p.m., or on the weekend.

Employers and employees working together to monitor the overall effectiveness of everything from meetings to email communications or individual work can enable a widespread improvement in overall effectiveness and a simultaneous improvement in joy and wellness.

Today’s Habit: Eliminate Distractions

Have you determined what your biggest distractors are? This week, make a plan as to how you will eliminate these distractions during work time.

If email is a big distractor, turn off email notifications while you’re trying to get an important task done or during Power Work. If your biggest distractor is socializing with colleagues, close your office door or put on headphones to avoid the temptation. Make a strategy on how you can eliminate the distraction beside each distractor on your list.



The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is not intended and should not be used in place of advice from your own physician or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you acknowledge that undertaking any new health, diet and/or exercise regime involves certain inherent risks, that you assume such risks, and that you release The Wells Group Inc. from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.

Email Policies

Email Policies

The Focus Effect Program Home Page

KEY POINTS:

1. The average office worker checks their email thirty times per hour. This is one of the leading causes of distraction and inefficiency in the workplace.

2. Consider implementing email batching, tracking email time, avoiding email outside of work, making emails concise, and using the phone as strategies to combat the email-checking epidemic.

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Email is one of the worst culprits for distraction in the workplace. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the average number of times an office worker checks their email inbox is thirty times per hour. However, there are many practices you can put in place to curb email distraction. Here are a few tips you can try:

1) Batch your emails. To avoid the never-ending onslaught, you can batch your emails. Batching, a concept developed by Tim Ferriss, is setting aside a specific time to check emails and not allowing them to distract you otherwise. For example, you might set aside the last fifteen minutes of every hour to check emails. You might designate certain hours of the day when you check them. You turn off notifications and do not allow them to pull your attention away from the task at hand. There are many software programs that allow you to block email during certain times.

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2) Track your email time. If you’re not sure how much of your time email is stealing, track it. Start a journal to record how much time you actually spend on emails a day. Then take that time and break it into focused sections. Instead of spending two minutes here and thirty minutes there, set aside a specific ten or fifteen minutes at regular stages of the day to tackle them. Treat these sessions like sprints you do throughout the day.

3) No email outside of work. Try to disengage from email outside of business hours. You can set up an automated reply message explaining that messages received after 6:00 p.m. or before 6:00 a.m. Monday to Friday and during the weekends will be responded to on the next business day.

4) Get to the point. Instead of wasting people’s time, make your emails concise and to the point. Another communication option is Slack, a tool that allows you to create channels that include only the relevant people. When you do communicate using that venue, you don’t use a subject button. You don’t need to comb through a contacts list. Everyone will see whatever you post. It’s almost like texting - short, quick, and very effective. Slack also has a “do not disturb” option, blocking and saving messages outside of work hours.

5) Consider using the phone. In this digital age, we tend to see talking on the phone as an outdated practice, but there are times when it can be far more efficient than email, particularly if the topic requires a lot of back and forth. If you have an issue that would be better handled on the phone, schedule time to call the people to talk them through it. It will save everyone time in the long run.

Today’s New Habit: Do Not Disturb

During the past two weeks, you made a list of all of the possible distractions and a plan for how you can eliminate them during work time. The next step towards eliminating distractions is stopping the barrage of messages we constantly receive.

This week, try and eliminate distractions by implementing a “Do Not Disturb” protocol. During Power Work, silence your phone (or even better put it in another room), close any windows on your computer that aren’t essential to your work, and disable desktop notifications.

If you’re anxious about not being available to respond to people right away, remember that after Power Work you can turn on notifications again. Good luck!



The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is not intended and should not be used in place of advice from your own physician or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you acknowledge that undertaking any new health, diet and/or exercise regime involves certain inherent risks, that you assume such risks, and that you release The Wells Group Inc. from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.

Create the Space

Create the Space

The Focus Effect Program Home Page

KEY POINTS:

1. The old standard environment, which consisted of little more than a desk, a chair, and a phone, is just not helping people do their best work anymore.

2. In the last decade, there have been great advances in how companies use workspaces to inspire excellent work.

3. Make simple changes to improve productivity and set you up for success such as modular furniture, quiet spaces, and improved natural lighting.

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There are several ways you can alter the physical environment to change the way you work. You might not be able to change the state of your building, but you can make small changes to certain workspaces or rooms that make a big difference. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to completely change or replace your existing environment—you can work with what you have to create a space more conducive to improved focus. Here are some easy ways to improve your workspace:

1) Standing or walking desks. These are great if you are working on a project that doesn’t require you to be isolated. Employees can use those for phone calls or emails. Another option is bar stools at high tables. You can just lean on them and have a conversation.

2) Change of scenery. When possible and appropriate, try to get away from the desk. Hold walking meetings to enjoy a few minutes of fresh air outside. Even moving a meeting off site to a local coffee shop can get the blood flowing in a way sitting around a desk never can.

3) Meditation rooms. Some progressive companies offer meditation rooms with comfortable chairs and background music. Employees can come in to close their eyes and take a break in a very quiet place to work on mindfulness or meditation. If no such space exists, employees can create their own by putting on headphones, positioning their chairs so they are facing away from door, or finding a place in the building—maybe in a warehouse or meeting room—where they can go to disconnect.

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4) Power fuel. Make sure the vending machines in your break spaces offer some healthy options. The typical standard garbage you get in and around office buildings can literally make you sick. Think about what options you can provide so people get the nutrition they need for optimal performance. If possible, provide free healthy snacks to give employees incentives to make better food choices.

5) Natural light. Lighting also can play an important role in workspaces. Natural light is far better for people than fluorescent lighting. Simply introducing plants into an office environment improves physical and mental health.

6) Create your home office. I also encourage you to create a home office space that replicates some of these elements. With the growing opportunity for more and more people to work from home, it’s crucial to have an environment that inspires you to do amazing work. If you are a person who frequently works remotely, it can help to also have a road warrior kit you can take on the road. Equip yourself with high-quality headphones, perhaps a journal or other meditation device—anything you need to create an environment where you can focus fully on your tasks.

We need to make sure that whatever we are trying to accomplish, the environment reflects that. For example, if you must be on a phone call, then go into an office or a boardroom and close the door so you’re not disrupting everybody else around you. If you have to do some collaborative work, then get into a space where you can throw things up on the wall and be engaged with the people around you. It’s all about engineering your environment and using the power of ergonomics to make sure you can get your very best work done in the easiest possible way.

Today’s Habit: Do Not Disturb

How did last week’s “Do Not Disturb” habit go? Did you find it difficult? Maybe you got a sense of relief that you didn’t receive notifications for a brief period.

We’re going to continue with the same habit this week. During Power Work, turn off all notifications by silencing your phone, turning off desktop notifications, and closing all windows that aren’t necessary for your work.

Keep up the good work!



The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is not intended and should not be used in place of advice from your own physician or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you acknowledge that undertaking any new health, diet and/or exercise regime involves certain inherent risks, that you assume such risks, and that you release The Wells Group Inc. from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.

The Myth of Multitasking

The Myth of Multitasking

The Focus Effect Program Home Page

KEY POINTS:

1. Multitasking is common practice in today's world, however it goes against how our brains work. 

2. If we try to multitask, we end up shifting the blood flow between different parts of the brain, never giving the brain what it needs to get a single job done properly.

3. Make it a daily routine to carve out an hour each day to focus completely on your most important work.

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Imagine you are sitting on a bench engrossed in a book. I sit down beside you and interrupt you. We chat for a few minutes. When I leave, do you go back to the exact line where you left off? Not likely. You’ll go back two, three, or four paragraphs to reorient yourself and remind your brain where you are.

The same thing happens when you are on task and become distracted. Recent research shows it can take up to 23 minutes to get back into whatever you were doing.

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Anytime you are engaged in an activity, the brain becomes activated and neurons begin to fire. They create electricity, which moves through them and triggers the release of chemicals. This brain activation requires a great deal of energy. Although the brain makes up only 2 percent of the body’s weight, it uses 20 percent of the body’s energy.

We deliver that energy through blood flow, which gives us the oxygen and glucose the brain uses to concentrate, problem solve, and be creative. When we are doing a task, certain parts of the brain and specific neurons are activated. Blood flow goes to that location to supply it with oxygen and nutrients so it can work.

If we task-switch and jump back and forth between activities, different parts of the brain are activated. As a result, blood flow has to move from one location to another, and that takes time. You activate one part of the brain and deliver nutrients to it, and then you shut that part down and open up another. Therefore, multitasking is actually a highly inefficient process for the brain and can lead to a great deal of wasted time in the workplace.

Try and carve out time to do single tasking every day - especially during Power Work. During this time only focus on the most important task. Once that task is done, move on to the next most important task.

Today’s New Habit: Single Tasking

At this point, you should have strategies for how to eliminate your biggest distractors, and you should be turning off all notifications during your Power Work time. However, even if we turn off all of our notifications, we can still get side tracked by trying to do too many things at once. So the next habit is to learn how to single task.

This week try to single task during Power Work. Choose your most important task and do only that task until you have completed it. Once you have completed that task, you can move on to your second most important task.

We’ll check in to see how your’e doing next week.



The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is not intended and should not be used in place of advice from your own physician or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you acknowledge that undertaking any new health, diet and/or exercise regime involves certain inherent risks, that you assume such risks, and that you release The Wells Group Inc. from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.

Keys for the Workplace

Keys for the Workplace

The Focus Effect Program Home Page

KEY POINTS:

1. Here are four keys that are essential for success in the workplace.

2. Key 1: Avoid unnecessary meetings. Meeting for the sake of meeting is not a good use of time. Make your meetings efficient by only meeting when necessary, putting away phones, and getting right on task.

3. Key 2: Device-free work time. Putting phones in a basket or out of sight is an easy way to stay focused during meetings or group work.

4. Key 3: Communication. Communication is key when trying to implement change in the workspace.

5. Key 4: Walk the walk. If there is to be a cultural shift in the workspace, leaders need to lead by example.

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Here are four keys to make your workplace ultra-efficient, and improve everyone’s productivity, health, wellbeing, and happiness.

Key 1: Avoid unnecessary meetings

Meetings that bring people together to create things or to solve problems are wonderful, but everyone dislikes meeting for the sake of meeting. Meetings should be very specific. They should have a detailed agenda, a start, and a finish. They should include only people who absolutely must be there. And there’s no reason meetings must last the standard thirty or sixty minutes. Make them five or ten minutes if that’s all the time you really need. If you are in a meeting that’s been scheduled for thirty minutes and it ends early, don’t force everyone to stay and waste that time. Instead, use it to do something healthy, such as taking a walk.

Finally, push more meetings to the phone rather than forcing everyone to gather in person. I find it moves things along faster and cuts out much of the wasted time. If you are meeting in person, however, phones should be off. The less potential for distraction, the less potential for wasted time.

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Key 2: Device-free work time

You can begin to show your team how effective they can be without distractions simply by banning phones from meetings or group work scenarios. You can have people put their phones in a basket or they can leave them with a receptionist or assistant who can keep an eye on them in case of emergency. It adds structure to your meetings to acknowledge you are going to be more productive if you’re not on our phones.

Key 3: Communication

Talk to employees often about the benefits of these changes so they understand fully how they will improve many aspects of their lives both at and outside of work. Send out weekly emails about the benefits of focus and concentration, or hold lunch-and-learn sessions. Find your own creative way to communicate to the team.

The most successful companies are thinking about the overall health of the employee. They are not trying to wring every last ounce of energy out of everybody but enabling employees to think, be creative, problem solve, be agile, come up with solutions to difficult problems, or just get the job done so they can leave and recover, regenerate, have a life, and be part of the organization for many years to come.

Key 4: Walk the walk

For any organizational change to take, the leadership needs to model it. From healthy living to effective use of time, to email batching and efficient communication, employees will shift their approach based on what they see the bosses doing—even more than what the bosses say they should be doing. Everyone wants to succeed and prove they are capable. Help them do so by modelling the focus and efficiency that will create a culture of success, wellness, and productivity.

Today’s Habit: Single Tasking

We’re going to continue with the same habit as last week - single tasking.

Remember it’s all about focusing on your most important task and only your most important task. Once you accomplish that task, you can move on to your second most important task.

Next week we’ll be starting the final module - life mastery!

Start, Stop, Continue

NOW THAT YOU’VE COMPLETED THE MODULE, IS THERE A HABIT OR ROUTINE THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO START? IS THERE A HABIT OR ROUTINE THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO STOP? IS THERE A HABIT THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTINUE?

YOU CAN WRITE THESE DOWN ON YOUR OWN OR YOU CAN FILL OUT THIS FORM TO SEND US YOUR NOTES. THIS WILL HELPS US TO GIVE YOU SOME TIPS AND FEEDBACK ON HOW YOU’RE DOING.



The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is not intended and should not be used in place of advice from your own physician or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you acknowledge that undertaking any new health, diet and/or exercise regime involves certain inherent risks, that you assume such risks, and that you release The Wells Group Inc. from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.