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Minimise the Burden on your Brain Power

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Concentrate more, be interrupted less… and make stuff happen

When you are a manager or a director, you have a lot of responsibilities. In addition, your customers and your team want to speak to you throughout their working day.

This inevitably means that you may be disturbed more often than you would like. And, you must divide your focus on things you would rather give your full consideration to.

It can be a huge frustration. Many managers and directors feel this way. You are not alone!

It doesn’t mean you do not want to help or that you have not got time for your team. Of course, you still care! Your team will help you and your business ultimately succeed.

But every so often wouldn’t it be great to just be able to sit down and finish something without being side-tracked?

Appreciate this, the more matters you must switch between during the calendar day- and the more impromptu interruptions – the greater the weight on your brain.

It can lead to a feeling of total cognitive overload by the end of the working day.

You will recognise this as getting back home in a bit of a daze and feeling like you don’t have enough vitality for your family. It is a horrible feeling.

Fortunately, the past few years have given us all the productivity tools that we need.

There are five key areas to focus on:

This article will show you some solutions that many other managers and directors rely on.

They are all integrated into Microsoft 365, which means some of them work with other Microsoft 365 applications that you may utilise.

Not every tool mentioned here will be the right fit for you. Not everything will fit in with the way that you like to work, or the way that your business runs.

But if you can utilise a few of these tools to relieve your brain of some of its burden, that’s a fantastic start.


One of the game changing tools at your disposal is automation.

Automating tasks that take up a lot of your time or are repetitive can save you hours every week. And it can do the same across your entire business.

One of the best apps to help you get started is Power Automate.

This tool lets you automate many of your business functions, from reporting, data entry and processing forms and even to invoicing. It can, at the same time, make recommendations on the tasks you could automate to make your life easier and to make you even more productive.

All of us can use it. You create ‘flows’ using the simple low code drag and drop tools, along with pre-built connectors. It also connects with your other devices and applications and services within the Microsoft suite of tools. It can even monitor your social media accounts, posts, and form entries to capture and analyse trends within your data.

If you are not already using this tool, you’re potentially losing a lot of time on tasks that you do not personally need to be doing!

Another fantastic thing about Power Automate is its ability to obtain information from print and digital documents, so it makes things like processing paper invoices easier.

It is a tool that every business needs to look at. There will be several functions you can use.

Corbel IT Experts automation tip: Power Automate permits you to link together two applications using connectors. This means information can be synchronised from one application to another. Which will save you and your team having to enter data multiple times.

To find out more about Automation, be sure to take a look at our blog to learn all about how you can start automating in your business. Read here


I always find for me that one of the greatest ways to keep on track with what you should be focusing on is to plan each day well.

You are used to doing this already to some extent, but you can take your daily planning to the next level.

Begin each day or week by making a comprehensive to do list. Microsoft’s To Do application is a fantastic way to create a list and keep on top of it.

The added features really make this tool a must. It allows you to organise, track and prioritise your assignments each day. But that is not why it is so good.

Each task can be broken-down into stages, and you can even set up checklists to drill into details. And here is the fabulous part – you can delegate tasks to colleagues, send them reminders, and see what progress has been made.

That saves you time checking in with your team to see how they are getting on or chasing them on Microsoft Teams or by email.

Corbel IT Experts planning tip: When you are creating your plans each day, you will certainly notice some of your tasks could easily be finished by other people. Do not forget to delegate whatever you can, and if warranted, find experts you can outsource the things you cannot handle in-house. There are so many people out there waiting to do tasks for you on platforms such as Fiverr and Upwork.


Let us begin by looking at your calendar. Get your calendar right and that can eliminate numerous of your productivity challenges in one go.

Whoever you are meeting and whether it’s in real life or by a Microsoft Teams call, your calendar needs to be managed around how you personally work. In other words, let your calendar be a slave to you, not the other way round!

Microsoft Outlook offers lots of features that make scheduling easier.

For instance, you can use the Room Finder and Scheduling Assistant to aid you to organise the right attendees and find a meeting room. There is also an Auto Pick option that can work out the best time and date for everyone.

For virtual meetings, utilise Microsoft Teams. There are loads of useful tools built in to make your meetings extra productive (If you need some further advice on how to use Microsoft Teams make sure you check out our Quick Start Guide here)

One more great tool for overseeing your diary is Bookings. This allows you to share your schedule so people can book their own appointments with you, but in addition it also lets you amend the categories of meetings or appointments you hold most frequently. That means the application will automatically reserve the correct amount of time and arrange the best place (whether virtual or real) for each meeting.

Bookings will duplicate all the specifics across to your Outlook calendar too, so you are not forever changing between applications to see what is next.

Corbel IT Experts tip: In Bookings set scheduling guidelines so your whole day’s calendar is not open to other individuals. E.g. if you would rather meet in the mornings and concentrate on other work in the afternoons, you can only let people schedule morning meetings.

Corbel’s other IT Experts tip on scheduling: The first can help to eradicate constant interruptions from your team. If that is a challenge for you, then block out time every day where you are free to have a chat – ‘Ask Me Anything’ if you like. This could be just 15 minutes a day. It works best when it is an identical slot each day. You will need to be strong to push back on non-urgent disturbances outside your daily Ask Me Anything.

Our other professional scheduling advice could be a real game changer for you. Schedule time for important tasks that you want to finish without interruption in the same way you would plan time for a meeting. Block it out of your diary and make yourself unavailable. It is such a straightforward idea but an impactful one.


When your team know what they are meant to be doing, there is far less space for confusion. And when your team have a clear, well laid-out plan to understand, they are less prone to need to interrupt you to check details. It is all there for them to see.

Planner is an awesome tool for this (in some Microsoft 365 subscriptions its now being integrated into Teams and is called Tasks by Planner).

There are certainly lots of project planning applications available, and frankly, they mostly work in a comparable way. Planner is easy to use. When you are aiming to save time, that is important.

Planner enables you to create projects and incorporate all the people that need to be involved. You create plans, buckets, and tasks, and can allocate things to people where you need to. Any time you make a change to a plan, the right people are informed, and there is an in-built calendar that lets you see a due date overview.

The fabulous thing about Planner is that you can track your time and progress on each task or project. Reports will detail how much time was spent on each element, which allows you to plan better for future projects. It also saves you lots of time when it comes to compiling and creating your own reports, it is all done for you!

If you spend a lot of your time working on or managing projects, Microsoft Project might be a better solution.

This tool aids you to take things to the next level, allowing you to set up dynamic scheduling, centred on things like team members involved and the type of work required. With Microsoft Project, you can generate the dashboard that suits the project best and take a deeper look at each stage of the task.

You may need to pay more to access it.

Corbel IT Experts workflow tip: Get your team to take responsibility for their own projects, running their own workflow. This will assist relieve some of your burden and give them more accountability.


If you find it challenging to focus on tasks without being interrupted, Focus Assist is your friend.

It allows you to suppress all digital interruptions for a set amount of time.

You may have already used it in some capacity, but in Microsoft Windows 11 the feature has recently been modernised to make it even more useful.

In Windows 10, Focus Assist gave you the capability to minimise the notifications that would disturb you from the task at hand, but it needed to be switched on to work.

The amended version provides an integrated focus timer, which gives you greater control over how and when notifications should be muted.

There is also a brand new do not disturb feature in Focus Assist, as well as the ability to clean up your taskbar and simplify your start menu.

Corbel IT Experts professional focus tip: If there are notifications you really do not want to ignore, set up priority notifications under Do Not Disturb. That way you will never miss something important, or a personal message.

How we can help you more

Of course, there are numerous other applications and tools that you can use as part of, or in conjunction with your Microsoft 365 subscription. Here we have highlighted some of the tools that many people find useful.

Hopefully, you will complete this article and be eager to go, trying out applications to help reduce your own cognitive load, but also to increase the productivity of everyone in the business.

It is not always easy knowing where to begin, and which tools might be the best option for your specific business.

If we can offer you any help or advice, we would love to assist. Just give us a call 01473 241515 or email

Corbel Solutions based in Ipswich offer IT Support and services to local businesses in the Suffolk area including Cyber Security, Professional services, and Cloud Computing.

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