I get sidetracked all the time and it’s really hard for me to stay focused. My mind is going 100 mpm (miles per minute!) with all kinds of ideas, thoughts, silent prayers, you name it! I really have to make myself concentrate in order to not be all over the place.
Staying busy is my forte’, but being overwhelmed is definitely something I try to avoid. So, in order for me to not overdo it and be able to focus, I use these tips that I’ve learned from reading other articles:
- Block out time. When I have a project that requires my undivided attention, I block out a pocket of time to just work on that. My email program isn’t opened, I don’t take phone calls, and I’ll even let hubby know so that he doesn’t interrupt me while I’m concentrating to finish the task. And if it’s an ongoing or a long-term task, then I still block the time out, maybe a couple of hours, work on it and after that, put it away and move on to something else. This helps me feel quite productive.
- I take frequent breaks. Believe it or not, a 5-minute break to go to the kitchen or sit at the dining table helps break up the chaos in my mind and then I can go back and be more alert.
- Work on one thing at a time. I was notorious for working on tasks simultaneously but in doing that, I wasn’t able to devote my best to any task since I was dividing my time so much. It’s best to work on one project and then move to another one.
- I organize all my projects. I put all the parts to a project either in a folder or with my crafts, I put them in a bag. So, when I get ready to work on a project, everything I need is in that bag or folder. When you have to look for missing items, it takes up precious time and causes frustration. And each project has a place to live when I’m done. I don’t leave open tasks on my desk at the end of the day. I don’t like a cluttered space and I feel like working the next day when I come back to a clean desk.
- Eating better. Making sure I eat my breakfast and a light lunch has really changed me! I used to skip one or the other, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day! And, as long as I eat a light meal like a slice of toast and couple strips of bacon or link sausages, I get the energy and focus I need.
- Getting enough sleep. I’m a night owl! I have stayed up till 4 AM every night and I’d do it all the time if I had my way, but what good would I be the next day? So, I try to go to bed no later than midnight and then I’m ready to get up the next morning without dragging.
These are the tips I learned when I was researching time management and they may sound basic, but I wonder if we really follow them. Our lives are busier than ever and I think sometimes we forget these simple fundamentals because we’re just going and going like the Energizer bunny!
And before I made these changes, I used to feel like I was getting nothing done and you know what?, I wasn’t. Not really. I want my best work done and to feel proud of it whether it be that knitted hat or a PowerPoint presentation.