This is the third and final round of the Your Year of Stunning Success series.
Now, onto the third and final shift that will help you knock all your aims for this year out of the park. Without it, your systems and your schedule will be marginally effective. With it, you’ll have near superhuman productivity. (And who doesn’t want that?!)
Does this sound familiar?
Before I tell you how to get that superhuman quality, tell me if this scenario rings any bells:
You’re working on a new sales page for your website, and you’re done with the first paragraph.
You say to yourself. “Okay, time for a break.” You hop over to Facebook and chat with a few friends and watch a quick YouTube video.
You return to your writing. But suddenly – your phone goes off. Oh, it’s that blogger whose attention you’ve been trying to nab! You quickly return her tweet before putting your phone down.
Now you’re back to the page, and… ugh. You really don’t want to do this. What was that thing you just saw on that one guy’s page last week again?
The cycle continues. Nothing is really getting done; there’s just a lot of distractions.
Can you relate?
The Biggest Problem with Distractions
Yes, you’re busy. And sure, your brain is capable of jumping from one thing to the next, minute-to-minute (especially if you’re a woman). But even if you’re spending just 5 minutes here and there – moments of distraction add up.
Not only do little bits of distractions add up, also consider the time it takes to really refocus on the task at hand. The distraction time PLUS the moments it takes you to refocus can turn into hours hours over the course of the week. Yes, hours. Yikes!
I’ll be honest: focus tends to be one of my biggest struggles. But when it comes to getting big things done, focus is absolutely essential. Tweet that!
If you notice that you’re skipping from task to task but not getting anything really done, it’s time to focus. And I’m here to help you do just that.
5 Simple Tips for Better Focus
Tip #1: Stick to your schedule
Setting a schedule is only effective if you stick to it. When you commit to doing a certain task, you need to stay with it either for the duration of the time slot you’ve created, or until it’s complete.
For example, if you’ve set aside time to write a blog post this afternoon, don’t skip out in the middle of writing the blog post to check your email or hop on social media.
When I do this, it makes a tremendous difference in how much I get done, and how quickly. It also helps my work stay cohesive!
Tip #2: Have the courage to put your own needs first
Do you get distracted by client emails, colleagues asking for help, or friends on Facebook? The drive to make everyone around you happy might be at the root of your focus struggle.
Start noticing when you get distracted and what is pulling your attention away from the task at hand. Is it your family? Your pets? Your inbox?
If something comes up while you’re working, check in to see if you really need to jump up and take care of it right now.
Sure, your dog needs to be let out, but she can wait a few minutes? Your clients are probably wonderful people, but they shouldn’t expect you to reply instantly. Can you wait an hour? Or until morning?
If you have trouble not responding to those requests, this next tip is a MUST for you.
Tip #3: Turn off ALL alerts and notifications
You heard me. Switch ‘em off: your phone, email, Facebook, Twitter, chat windows, and all those computer pings that pop up when you’re working. Close everything but the application, page, or window you need to pay attention to. Yes, turn it all off.
In fact, pause and do this right now. Turn them all off. Oh, wait, maybe you should focus and finish reading this post first. Well, either way — read the post and turn off those notifications on your computer and your phone in whatever order you think is best. Just be sure to do both.
Tip #4: Don’t let a challenge drive your mind elsewhere
It’s easy to get frustrated when we’re trying to push ourselves. For example, the tougher the blog post I’m writing, the more times I catch myself checking Facebook or my email, wandering into the kitchen aimlessly, or sometimes I’ll even do laundry. (Crazy, I know.)
The reason why our minds want to run from the task at hand happens is simple. Challenges can be uncomfortable. Next time you get distracted when you’re in the middle of something, notice if you’re uncomfortable and looking for relief.
Just because it’s uncomfortable doesn’t mean you need to run from it. In fact, the more you can work through the creative discomfort, the further you’ll be able to push yourself in business.
Tip #5: Gently force yourself to focus
My favorite method for dealing with my unfocused tendencies is to leave my computer behind and walk to a local coffee shop with pen and paper. I’ll write a blog post, a sales page, or an email analog style, the type it up when I get home.
When I’m at the coffee shop with only pen and paper, there are hardly any distractions and there’s no laundry to be done or email to check. The best part is that whatever I’m working on gets finished ridiculously quickly every time.
That’s the superhuman productivity I promised. Focusing makes it happen.
Where Will You Start?
Now it’s your turn. Tell me…
What easily distracts you from getting the important things done?
Are there any specific tasks you always have trouble starting or completing?
What steps do you take when you need to bring back that laser focus?
Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear about it and learn from you and your experiences.