Still on a personal quest to minimizing chaos – I noticed I needed “samurai-ninja-like focus”. There are countless times, where my mind goes “Squuuirrrrellll!!” when something shiny or new catches my attention. My unreliable mental to-do list that I have drawn out in my head with stick people and magic smelly markers that I heavily relied on for years went poof into thin cranial air, regardless if it was important or not!
However, even with my eagerness to start tasks or DIY projects, I would start out strong and extremely motivated, having my supplies and tools, but not completing my work all the way through due to lack of focus. I don’t think I am absent-minded (or am I?) but I do get easily distracted and mentally detoured very often! I am sure there is an ICD-10 code for what is I am describing, but haven’t bothered to look it up, because of my lack of focus! I will never know! Oh well!
Since my lack of focus has got me in a heap of trouble with meeting personal and professional tasks and deadlines. I created an easy to follow simple to-do list and this time, using actual paper and writing utensils.
I got to work and created a to-do list, I wanted it to be a simple reliable template for day to day activities, while listing specific goals for myself. On the top of my list, I wrote down simple, realistic and reasonable personal goals that needed to be achieved for that particular day. I kept my to-do list and goals in my pocket or at arm’s reach at all times!
My daily to-do lists served as a constant reminder of where my attention needed to be at all times and what needed to be done in my current day or future. For every time, I completed a task on my list, with such burning charismatic enthusiasm, I plowed over it with a bright neon highlighter! WWWWoohhhhOOOO! Eventually, as I continued to make myself to-do lists, I got more tasks done and with that came a feeling of happy-accomplishment knowing I was meeting specific goals and completing tasks! By reviewing my list very often – everyday, it prevented me from falling into a deep rabbit hole of chaos!
Understandably, there were instances where I was challenged with circumstances that were beyond my control! Most definitely, I handled it with efficiency and within my capabilities. But my paper to-do list was a stable and constant reminder, I had a responsibility to return my focus back on my own personal goals and to-do list.
Here is a list of distractions to avoid:
The television: It is always great to Netflix and chill, but this is a dreadful distraction when you need to get work done.
- The solution: Make the tv remote inconvenient for yourself! Place it in another room, tucked away in a drawer where you can’t easily get to it. Maybe have your kid or spouse hide it from you!
Devices – tablets, ipod, laptops: Just like the television, we can invest a lot of time reading blogs, watching news or youtubing for hours on these devices!
- The solution: Switch them off, put them up in a closet, a box or in a drawer… out of reach in another room. This will allow you to practice the art of “Out of Sight, Out of Mind”. Between local and national news, these devices can wait.
Phones: Usually friends and family blow up our phones calling to talk, text and email.
- The solution: Silence the ringer; Turn on the Don’t Disturb option, Let all incoming calls, voicemails and texts wait until you get to a stopping point. If this helps, set an alarm for yourself for 45 mins or 1 hour to check on your phone.
- Set a favorite lists for people (ie husband, wife, kids, school, boss, daycare,doctor office) you want to receive calls from – just in case for emergencies!
Social media: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!
- The solution: Check on it at your in-between set breaks, (bathroom break, lunch break, morning and afternoon 15 minute break)! Always remember, social media is here to stay, there is not a large enough delete button to make disappear, there is no need to check it every 5 minutes!
Coffee breaks – As an avid coffee drinker, I love coffee. I am so guilty for making a quick run or some times twice a day to Starbucks for a caffeine fix.
- The solution: Stock up on coffee favorites like creamer, milk, filters, favorite coffee blend for the work day. Keep a fresh coffee pot running while working.
Something to smile about =:O)
Every evening review today’s list and goals…there is always something to smile about or to feel accomplished, regardless of how small! Following this, prepare for tomorrow’s goals and to-do list. Don’t be too eager to throw away your lists, keep them in folder, and review them every couple of days and weeks. It will serve as personal testaments of reaching personal goals regardless of size and taking on tasks from start to finish!
What are ways you stay focused on projects and work? Grab your favorite hot or cold beverage and share!