Take a Closer Look Inside by Tropical Blizzard
In this busy world of ours, it is increasingly hard to stay focused and “on-task”. Even when under a severe deadline, I still have trouble, at times, keeping my mind on my work. So I thought I would share my ten best tips on how I stay focused.
#1: Look at every activity that you do, and ask yourself if it helps you accomplish your goal.
I am under a critical time crunch- does it help me to start a new project that’ll take six months to finish? No. So I don’t do it!
#2: Set yourself a smaller task to accomplish in 10 minutes- then work feverishly to finish it in five.
It’s amazing how a sense of accomplishment over a little goal can make a larger goal seem infinitely easier to obtain.
#3: Identify the worst distractions and then restrict or eliminate them.
Mine is my computer. I can sit down to do something that will only take 20 seconds, and look up to find an hour (or more) has passed. It’s usually even productive in the over all abstract- but not for my deadline, so I shut the whole thing down. Even the thought of that little pause waiting for the tech-widgets to boot back up is enough to keep me on track sometimes.
#4: Be Short-Sighted.
Look only at the next step- not ahead, or beside. If your projects are anything like mine, you’ll be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work to do. So don’t look anywhere but right in front of you at the very immediate next step. Then do it, and look at the next very next step. Rinse and Repeat.
When you have a minute- a coffee break maybe- think about the worst possible outcome that will happen if you don’t get your project done. Don’t go overboard, but a little healthy fear of failure is good in small doses. I can almost guarantee you’ll be spurred into work with the right motivation!
#6: Why are you doing this?
It’s not like some stranger says, “Hey, you! Come do this insanely complicated project by tomorrow morning.” Nope- you likely volunteered. Do you remember why? You probably had a good reason then, and it can help you focus now.
#7: Think of the Glory.
So after thinking about the negatives in number 5, and your initial motivations in number 6… consider the positives. Not just realistically, “Gee, I’d really like to impress my boss/craft team/accountant/spouse…” Really dream BIG. Ticker tape parades, the cover of a national magazine, statue in Times Square, the works- but only if you finish this!
#8: Let go of the excuses.
My mother used to say that if it didn’t involve blood, flood, or fire, it wasn’t critically important. I’ve found she’s right. So whatever you’re holding up as your reason to not finish your goal… if it’s not critically important with the above caveats, then it’s not a good reason.
#9: Be honest.
We all play head games. It’s too hot to work, it’s too cold to work, my chair isn’t comfy, I can’t get anything done in only five minutes… What ever it is, be honest with yourself. When it comes right down to it, you’re the only one keeping you from accomplishing your goal.
Which leads us to number ten…
#10: Just do it.
Put your head down and just work. The only person stopping you is you. If you just start, your subconscious that really does love what you do will overwhelm that pesky conscious mind that prevents you from doing it. Once you start, you’ll accomplish your goal very nearly in spite of yourself!
Other people will tell you to turn the radio off, hire a babysitter, or get up an hour early… but none of it works long term. The babysitter eventually leaves, you do have to sleep sometime, and while the radio does have terrible commercials- that’s what playlists are for! Focus is really only a state of mind, after all. As much as I’d love to be able to switch my focus on and off, my mind isn’t that orderly. I have to work at it, and I’m sure quite a few other people do too.
So I’ve shared what I’ve found to be the secrets to staying focused. Do you agree? What helps you to stay focused?
I need to reread this as soon as I’m not getting “Mommed” to death. Seems like lately I do a lot of getting patterns and reading books but very little actually done.
I try to tell myself that activities like that are skills I’m learning for a rainy day. Sometimes I actually believe it… Being Mommed to death is something that happens so often I made a rule. At least once a day the interruption/demand for my undivided attention must be of a non critical nature. So now about half the time, it’s an insistent little munchkin who interrupts to tell me they love me, with butterfly kisses and hugs!
I’ve found that certain things help at times, and distract at others. I’ve gotten to know my moods and the task at hand, so at times I’ll put on fast music, slow music, no music, or white noise. I was diagnosed ADD as a young teen but my parents decided that instead of medication (since mine is comparatively mild) I needed to develop self-control.
One of my big issues is trying to get it perfect, and never getting it done. My mom used to tell me, “An ounce of finished is worth a pound of perfect.”
Oh yes… Perfect perfect but never done. I know that one only too well. Haven’t found a cure for that one- it plagues me still!
I have quite the eclectic mix of music to work to myself. Anything from Bach and Motzart to Beyonce and Three Doors Down. Or absolute silence, where even the rasp of the file is too loud. All those people that never work to music are a mystery to me though… 🙂
Great advice. If I only could stick to it. I get easily distracted.
Luckily, I’m not on a schedule, so I guess I don’t care. My saving grace; I’m retired, i.e. I’m on permanent vacation! yea!
Difficult tasks I breakdown into smaller tasks that are easier to accomplish, like you advise. Well done!
ah~ha moment ! A girl named Amy makes silver pendents that say ‘enjoy life’ very lovely and clever..i juat ordered and received one for my grandaughter..and on the back had engraved “just do it”..karma? maybe~~I think I was meant to read your post on gail’s ponder…which lead me to this~~very well said and i shared this with my fb friends..a very ‘good’ read..and wonderful Etsy and website! <3~jane