Who else has trouble focusing?
I know I can’t be the only one out there!
Two years ago I left my job to work full-time on my business. While at work I would tell myself “Man, I wish I were home so I could focus on my website. I know I would get so much done.” Fast forward to 4 weeks later of being 9-5 free and I was producing just as much content, doing just as much research, and making a fraction of the money as I was when I had my full-time job.
#fail #fail #fail
I knew something had to give. Luckily I was able to identify the problem. I just wasn’t being productive. Productivity is defined as the effectiveness of effort. How many phone calls are you taking while researching? How often are you pausing work to daydream? How many times do you stop to check Instagram, Facebook, or email? All these small habits are affecting your productivity.
It always amazes me what we can complete the night before something is due when we’ve had months to work on the project. What if we could be as productive as we are the night before a deadline every single day?
I believe you can make that happen with a few easy changes. I’ve been able to drastically improve my productivity and finally go to bed at night feeling like I got shit done. Check out these 8 easy tips that will help you focus like a pro.
Have you ever made a long to-do list in the morning only to find that you didn’t finish even one thing by the end of the day? It’s the worst. The disappointment alone in ourselves is enough to kill the motivation. My challenge to you is to get real. To-Do lists are awesome, but you shouldn’t put pressure on yourself to get too much done. I like to make a list and then choose just two things that, if completed, will make me feel like my day was a success!
I also use the SCRUM management method. SCRUM is a project management methodology often used by software companies to complete their projects. Sometimes there are tasks that we don’t complete but we make a large dent in it. SCRUM helps you visualize your progress and see where your tasks are in the pipeline. Is it in progress? Is it stalled? Is it waiting for something? Get more realistic about what you can accomplish in a day and measure your progress. This will encourage you to keep going and serve as progress markers as you work to complete your tasks.
What do you hate to do? Common advice is to do what you hate first. My advice is to not do it at all! Instead, find someone else that enjoys your crappy projects. There are a ton of freelancing websites where you can find reasonably priced help for the most tedious work. (Upwork, PeoplebytheHour, Fiverr) It takes me forever to make a decent looking graphics on Canva. Instead of wasting my time, I just outsource the work. Same with blogs. I HATE editing my blog posts so I have a friend who looks over each one for grammar, flow, and spelling errors. This gives me more time to focus on the parts of my business that actually make me money and saves so much stress!
Choose Your Environment
This is basic but so important. You’d be surprised how many people can’t focus in absolute silence. So cater to your preferences. If you need a quiet room, then arrange your work around quiet hours in your home or coworking space. If you need a little background noise, then find a favorite coffee shop or put on some tunes. Certain music can also help with focus. Do an experiment to see what helps and what works for you.
Checking social media every few minutes is totally killing your vibe. Research shows that switching between tasks actually slows you down and causes you to make more mistakes. Instead, use tools to keep the distractions out. Install a plugin on your web browser to block certain websites that you know are the culprit. Also, try turning your cell phone completely off instead of putting it on vibrate. I do this and just take my client calls from my laptop. Google Voice is th BOMB!
Apply The Pressure
Are you the type of person that does their best work at the last minute? After a certain age, these final paper deadlines are hard to come by so create artificial ones. Hire an editor or VA that will keep you accountable to a deadline. When you’re working on someone else’s time there is more accountability around getting your tasks done. Find an accountability partner. Our Grind Groups are a great place to get accountability! Heck, I even know a guy who goes to the coffee shop without his laptop plug and powers through as much work as his battery life will allow. Cray right? You don’t have to go too extreme but if you know pressure works for you then embrace it.
Give Yourself A Break
Breaks are an awesome motivation for getting things done. I love the Pomodoro Method. The Pomodoro Method is a time management method that uses a timer to break down work into intervals of focus and rest. I use it to work in 45-minute increments and then set my timer for a 10-minute break where I surf social media (my vice). As soon as my timer goes off then I’m back at it again! You don’t have to schedule your day down to the minute. You can achieve the same idea by breaking your day into big chunks that involve work time and fun activities.
Take Care of Yourself
For years I battled brain fog and the constant urge to nap. The culprit to my sluggishness lay in my crappy diet and lack of exercise. Once I got a Nuribullet and started going for a daily walk, my productivity improved drastically. Research has also shown that exercising in the morning can greatly improve your productivity. Exercise energizes rather than exhausts you! So put on those sweatpants, go get some fresh air and a yucky green drink. You can thank me later.
Utilize Your Creative Hours
Identify your creative hours. Some people are super productive in the middle of the night while others work better first thing in the morning. Whenever those times are for you, designate those your creative hours. Complete work that takes the most of your creative brain power during these times. At all other work hours complete maintenance tasks such as spreadsheets, emails, and phone calls.
And if you’re looking for accountability during those early morning hours to really elevate your ability to get things done, check out The Six of 7 Grind Groups! Learn More about the accountability program HERE!