Not too long ago, I set up a reminder for an event that my boss would be attending. When the day of the event came we received the reminder about three hours before the start time. I was shocked – I am usually much better at reminding him than this. We got everything taken care of and in the aftermath I started to evaluate what went wrong. Where had my focus been hiding the day before?
We've all had the kinds of days where we seem to float from one incomplete project to another. We start the morning with enthusiasm and then pepper our days with trips to Facebook and Twitter. Hey, nothing wrong with it – we're human beings and the shiny things on the internet can interfere with what we're trying to get accomplished.
If you feel like you're spending too much time being distracted and not enough time being focused on what you have on your to do list, try these four things to see if they help you to tick off the things on your list.
- Sleep More, Eat Less. Try going to bed thirty minutes earlier every night to increase the chance that you'll reach the deepest sleep and wake up feeling rested. If you're looking at the clock to see if it's time to go home so you can catch a cat nap that is going to be your focus for the day. Eat less at lunch because once your belly is full the productivity level will slowly go down. I'm not suggesting you skip lunch but if you chow down on that turkey dinner, we all know what is going to happen.
- Change Your Environment. Clean up the clutter on your desk or grab a notepad (yes people still use paper) and camp out somewhere for the day. Sometimes getting out of the norm will inspire you to get down and get some things done.
- Stop Multitasking. Believe it or not, we cannot multitask. The human brain is not built like a computer and lacks the ability to focus attention on two or more things that once. Create daily tasks lists to keep track of all the things you need to get done in your day. Use the timer system to be sure you don't get lost on the internet – for example, I'm going to spend thirty minutes commenting on blogs and then move on to the next task.
- Throw Yourself a Bone. Remember to reward yourself along the way as you get things accomplished. Not only is it good for your soul to take a moment to pat yourself on the back and say job well done, it's also an important part of keeping yourself motivated to go on to the next project.