Are you easily distracted? Do you have trouble completing projects and staying on track? Is focus one of your primary concerns when embarking on new ventures in life? Do you find yourself frustrated on how to stay focused in a world where there are so many distractions and on top of that how do you stay focused long enough to accomplish your goals?
Whether it’s checking email, texting, talking on the phone, playing games, watching television, or simply daydreaming, distractions and interruptions are everywhere. And how you manage these distractions is your key to staying focused, being productive, and getting things done.
Even if you consider yourself to be the boss at managing time, and you prioritize and schedule your life down to the second, if you don’t eliminate or minimize distractions, all of your planning and scheduling won’t do you much good. In addition to managing your time, you also have to manage your attention.
So what are some tips that I personally use to manage distractions and stay focused?
#1 Designate Productivity Hours
Figure out when you are most productive and can get the most done for your day.
- What makes the best sense for you?
- Are you a morning person or a night owl?
- What are your daily obligations and activities?
- Do you need to conduct meetings or phone calls during normal business hours?
Block out time for specific tasks and priorities during your productive time. For me, I work uninterrupted every weekday from 10 AM to 2 PM. All of my other tasks and priorities are scheduled around this time.
But from 10 to 2, I am working on my business; writing articles, recording these videos. This specific time slot works for me because I am home alone and can really focus on my business activities. It’s before my kids get out of school or I have to pick them up from activities.
Because of my family responsibilities, it’s hard for me to block out time for these business activities after two. To be honest, it can get frustrating for everyone around me as well. Do you know how hard it is to make a house of teenagers be quiet so that I can record any videos?
#2 Disconnect from Television and Social Media
I personally watch television about once a week. I usually use this time to disconnect from working and to binge watch all of the shows I have DVR’d throughout the week. Frankly, I enjoy memes and funny stories as much as the next person, I also know it’s easy to check out a news story, video, photo or message someone has tagged you in and then once you’re done you click on something else. Before you know it, you spent hours scrolling the net.
Or maybe you spend hours playing games. I’ve played Candy Crush. And for a while, I was addicted to FarmVille, until one day I was out on dinner with my husband and I called home to have one of my kids log onto my computer to keep my crops from spoiling. I knew then that I had to give it up.
While it may be unrealistic to totally disconnect yourself from the world for long periods of time, you shouldn’t have a problem doing so for certain periods of your day.
#3 Streamline where and how you keep track of your to-do list
Are you all over the place? Do you have parts of your schedule and to-list on sticky notes, on the back of bills or unopened envelopes? Or maybe in your phone calendar and on your laptop?
You usually spend more time looking for what you have to do than actually doing it!
I used to be like this, which is why I created The Daily Action Journal. It’s a one stop shop for everything I need to do and accomplish in a given day.
There are tons of products in the marketplace that help you schedule your time, but my journal helps you manage your time and to take action. Get things done, and track your progress, all in one place.
#4 Don’t accept unscheduled phone calls
Yes, you read that right! I do not accept unscheduled phone calls, especially during my productivity hours where I don’t accept any calls at all. People expect you to have your phone and to be available at all times. So essentially, I don’t answer the phone unless I am truly available. I let all of my calls go to voicemail for me to check later and prioritize who I need to call back and when.
Of course, I’m trained to identify the school’s number and my husband and children. But even my husband and children know not to call me during my productivity hours, so if I see their names pop up on my screen, I know it’s important.
#5 Take a break
Come up for air. Have you ever attended a workshop or conference where they gave you “bio” breaks? I use this concept in my daily life.
Every day I take two or three sets of 5-10-minute breaks. This allows me to regroup and refocus between tasks and projects, stretch my legs, take a few deep breaths, grab a bite to eat, check voice mails and skim my text and email messages.
I’m a mother and entrepreneur, I can’t realistically disconnect or fall off the grid without checking in. But I limit my breaks to 10 minutes and then I’m back at it.
Time – most wanted but worse used
So, life is all about time and time is something that you cannot get back. You have to guard and use your time wisely. The minutes and hours you spend distracted can not only affect your performance and productivity, but it can affect the trajectory of your entire life.
While it’s easy to blame technology, social media, other people, and other things for distracting you and throwing you off track, you are ultimately in control of your time and attention.
Whatever you choose to spend your time on and focus on day-to-day, be sure you are making choices that reflect and support your goals and priorities.
Take something from what you read today and apply it to your life. Start working on bringing positive changes to your life today. If you enjoyed and learned something meaningful, please be sure to like it and comment below, and share it with others who have trouble focusing and staying on track.
Also, let me know if there is a specific topic you would like for me to cover. I love getting your feedback and suggestions.
Remember, with the right Balance, Support, Determination and Action, every dream is possible. Your Dream is possible!
I would love to hear from you. Comment below to let me know how you put these strategies to use in your life.
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