Why is it so hard for some people to get things done? We all have the same 24 hours in a day, right? As human beings, we are complex creatures. On one hand, our brains are beautiful and sophisticated things that can solve the world's most perplexing problems. On the other hand, however, our brains are naturally curious and want to explore every little thing that grabs our attention. Between social media notifications and text message dings, it’s no wonder we can’t focus!
Keep reading to learn how to (actually, seriously) focus!
Identify and prevent distractions
Once you know what the problem is, it is easier to find a solution. Is the noise from the television distracting? Do your kids make it impossible to accomplish anything in your home office?
If the television is distracting, turn it off or go to a place in the house where you can’t hear it. If your kids are interrupting you, find a way to have some kid-free work time. This can be tricky for stay-at-home moms, but it is not impossible and doesn’t have to be expensive. Coordinate playdates with other moms, get a big chunk of work done while your kids take a nap, ask your spouse for a kid-free afternoon to go work at Starbucks. Be creative!
Want to know a productivity-boosting secret? Turn off your cell phone while you’re working (there, I said it!). How many times have you complained that you “don’t have enough time” or that you “have so much to do” but you somehow spend two hours on Instagram? Cell phones are a huge distraction! I get it- your life is on our phones. But when it comes to preventing distractions and getting your work done, you have to step up and do what needs to be done.
We all have different distractions so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. What it comes down to is taking responsibility for yourself and pulling yourself away from those things that distract you from focusing on your work.
Now that you have your distractions out of the way, it’s time to focus! When you are focused you make fewer mistakes and waste less time. This leads to getting more done in less time. Who wouldn’t love that?
Know what you’re aiming for
What are you working towards? Maybe it’s a short-term goal like writing five blog posts by the end of the week. Or maybe it’s a more long-term goal like growing your side hustle to replace your current 9-5 income. Whatever it is you’re working toward, keep that in the front of your mind.
Know your body’s energy cycles
When possible, always try to work during the times of the day that you have the most energy. If you are a night owl, schedule your biggest chunk of work at night (maybe even after the kids go to bed). If you try to work when your body’s energy levels are low you will not be productive and end up wasting your time and energy.
Structure your day
If you do not have any structure to your day, you will end up aimlessly bouncing around your tasks. Instead of saying you will work from 9-3, break your day down into smaller chunks or time blocks with breaks. For example, schedule 9-10:30 to work on creating content, take a break from 10:30-11:00, schedule 11:00-12:30 to work on social media engagement, take a lunch break from 12:30-1:30, and so on. Your brain needs breaks and thrives when there is structure and order to your workday.
Have a plan for your work
Schedule only one thing to work on during each time block throughout your day.
Having a specific plan for your blocks of work time will help you stay focused and be more productive. Knowing how long a specific task takes you is crucial in planning out your time. Most people underestimate how long a task will take and tend to not schedule out enough time. Keep detailed notes of how long it takes you to complete a task once you are focused on it.
Our brains are wonderful and powerful things. Use these techniques to retrain your brain so you can harness its power to stop procrastinating and start focusing!