Learning to get focused and stay focused is an important skill if you want to progress toward your goals at a steady pace.
I don’t know about you, but I find few things more frustrating than getting to the end of my day and realizing that, if I’d just been more focused, I would have gotten more of the important things on my list done… and I would have built some forward momentum toward my goals.
Our modern-day world is full of distractions. There are those that are right at our fingertips, those we go out and find, and those that intrude and make demands on us. With so many distractions, it can feel like finding focus is a losing battle.
One of the first steps to become consistently better at staying focused is to deliberately reduce the distractions that are vying for your attention.
Start with an Assessment
Everyone is a little different. You have a different work environment than I do… a different set up… different habits… and different shiny objects that pull your attention away.
So, the first step is to do an audit of the things that typically distract you.
Think through your average day. How much distraction do you deal with? What are the primary sources?
Some of the common ones are social media, alerts on your smartphone, family members barging in to ask for help with any number of things, pets needing attention, and a house that needs tidying up…
That’s not an exhaustive list, but those tend to be the big players.
Make a personal list of your own biggest and most frequent distractions.
Give Them a Ranking
Next, pay attention for a few days to how much time each of your distractions is stealing from you.
Also consider how many times they’re interrupting you. Because it isn’t just about how much time each distraction occupies, but how often they pull you away from work.
Honestly, a series of five 10-minute distractions probably does more to damage your focus than a single distraction that takes up an hour of your time.
Put your distractions in order from most distracting to least distracting.
Now that you have a list, think about how you can address each one.
For example, if knowing there’s laundry to be folded eats at you while you work, make it a point to fold it the night before or first thing in the morning.
If you can’t resist social media, block two 15-minute chunks of time when you can indulge, and then stay off the platforms otherwise. If that’s too hard, install a site blocker on your browser, and cut yourself off from social media after you’ve spent an allotted amount of time.
If the kids ask you questions during the day, come up with a “do not disturb” signal. My kids are grown now, but I still wear a lime green wristband when I want to avoid interruptions from my family.
Finally, implement the solution to your worst distraction offender for a week. Then the next week, tackle the second one on your list, and then the third.
After a month, do another assessment and see what’s improved. If needed, make adjustments.
Getting a handle on your distractions is the first step toward building more focus into your day… and when that happens, you’ll get more done. And that feels good!
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Mark Your Calendar…
January 24: Join me next week for a real-time Facebook event. As a Digital Copywriter member, you can ask me your questions about productivity and time management. This hour-long, real-time Q&A session will take place in the Facebook Comments in the private Digital Copywriter Facebook Group. More information is available here.
February 1: Conducting a site audit for a new client is a great way to get your foot in the door for other work… But how do you land the site audit in the first place? In this live interview event, Pam Foster discusses three ways you can land more site audit projects with new clients. Join us!
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That’s all for now. Have a great weekend!