Overwhelmed? Scattered? Distracted? 3 Easy Ways to Put an End to It!

If you ever feel overwhelmed, scattered, distracted or like your to-do list will swallow you alive.

I have three simple techniques to help you put an end to it so you can focus and get stuff done!  

I would be lying if I didn’t share with you that as I write this piece, today is one of those days for me. I am fairly overwhelmed and slightly scattered. Thankfully I’ve made the firm decision to focus and avoid letting myself get distracted. (at least for a few hours)  

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”  – Mark Twain

How ever do we stay focused and tackle the 5,713 things on our to-do list? Yes! As entrepreneurs, freelancers, side hustlers, and all of us working towards achieving big things, our “to-do-lists” are usually so gigantic they may seem impossible to tackle.


The greatest problem here is that the list in and of itself can be a distraction! This diversion that is supposed to keep you organized can also quickly lead to overwhelm and leave you feeling scattered in an attempt to get “it” all done.

In the interest of helping us avoid distractions, maintaining focus and increasing productivity; I’m going to keep this short and sweet.  There are a lot of “tricks of the trade” to help with focus and productivity. Here are my three favorite and so far the ones I have found to be most effective to avoid the overwhelm and get stuff done.

#1

Write down the three most important tasks you must complete each day. Preferably the night before or first thing in the morning. When you know the main actions, you must focus on it’s easier to get right to it without allowing distractions to creep in.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Out of these three things pick either the hardest one or the easiest one to do first. By picking the hardest one first, you get it done and out of the way. And by choosing the easiest, you build momentum for the day.

 

 

#2

Use a “timed sessions” technique like the Pomodoro technique. This popular time management technique is also a productivity hack as over time this habit helps to increase focus. You break down your work day into “timed work intervals” with timed breaks in between. This technique also forces you to focus on one task at a time which in and of itself will help you get more done in less time. This technique is not only an excellent way to help stave off distractions, but also avoid burnout.

“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.” –  Steve Jobs  

One of my favorite tools that incorporate both #1 and #2 is The Mastery Journal by John Lee Dumas. This journal has been a game changer in my focus and productivity since I started using it.

#3

Say no to email and social media browsing and set specific times for those tasks. Turn off those notifications! How many times have you gone in to check one email or one response, just to find yourself in your inbox for twenty or thirty minutes? What? Never!… Yeah right

Ok, once again I admit this is one of my biggest culprits of “focus sabotage.” Just say no!  

By setting specific times to do your “correspondence,” you eliminate this little diversion from keeping you from your goal.  

“Focus is a matter of deciding what things you’re not going to do.” – John Carmack

One of my favorite tools to achieve #3 is the Self Control app it allows you to block specific sites for a set timed period. The other trick I use as mentioned in the previous post is to make sure my phone is either away from me, on airplane mode or turned off.

And there you have it! 3 simple tricks to get more done. 

There are a ton more ways to stay disciplined, keep your focused and complete your most important tasks. These are three I have found work for me on most days. I’m by far not a master at this, but as someone with significant ADHD and a former owner of Godzilla size “to-do” lists, I can vouch for these three techniques.

I believe just one of these is a game changer. If you are someone that struggles with being in overwhelm and “too-much-to-do,” I highly recommend starting with #1. Replace your daily “to-do” list with this technique and stick to it for at least two weeks. I promise you; it will make a huge difference in your productivity, your level of stress and very likely your bottom line.

Do you use specific techniques to maintain your focus and increase productivity? Let’s be productive together! What are your favorite tools, tips, and tricks to stay on track? I’d love to know, help a sista’ out and share them here!

 

Your Most Powerful Tool or Your Biggest Distraction?

Hint 😉 –  Most of us have it!

Today, our phones are one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal! We can do just about everything on our phones for both our business and personal needs. Of course from the obvious tasks like sales calls, follow ups and emails to paying bills. And now we can even accomplish a lot of our online marketing needs on these all too fabulous devices. As one of my besties would say about all these advances: “It’s Fantasmical” (fantastic and magical all at once). 

It is not, however, all hunky dory all the time! As much as this “fantasmical” tool is helpful, it can also be detrimental and contribute to our lack of focus. Of course, it’s not the phone itself, but everything we can access on it! How many times have you told yourself “just a quick check-in to…” only to find yourself still on that app 10-15 minutes later? I’m willing to bet you if you are honest is not that rare. I can tell you, for me, it’s much too often. And there’s more; it is easy for one app to lead to another and so forth. The cycle can be vicious!

Obviously, all this is not privy just to your mobile device; we have all the apps, social media, email notifications, pop-up ads, etc. coming to us via laptops and desktops. I’m focusing on phones because we have them on us all the time. Whereas even though our laptops are also “mobile,” we don’t typically have them on us and open all the time. And our phones/mobile devices can also post a distraction while we are working on our laptops and desktops. We can also go into how these marvelous devices take away from our ability to connect with each other in social situations, but we’ll digress from our focus here which is productivity.

This constant demand for our attention all leads to massive distraction and even worse, multi-tasking! Research now has shown that our brains can only focus on one particular thing at a time successfully. While we all may be able to switch from one task to another quickly, we are not truly multi-tasking, we are only diverting our attention from one part of the brain to another. This switching not only reduces our performance, but it also robs us of precious time and resources. Several studies even show a reduction on Iq and brain density stemming from multi-tasking!

Eek!

 

But let’s get down to business here.

Of course, there are a lot of benefits to staying focus. And the more we learn, we now realize that there are significant gains from focusing on one task at a time. Some of these benefits are increased productivity, completing challenging projects in less time, gain more time, have less stress, enjoy your daily tasks more and an overall happier existence.

So… What can we do to reduce distractions and multi-tasking? The first thing you can do is make the decision to do so.

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

The next thing is to stay committed to your decision! Ahh… So hard, right!?

“There’s always a way – if you’re committed.”

– Tony Robbins

Ok, you made the decision to make “focus” a priority, and you are committed to your success! Sweet! Since we are focusing on your mobile device as a distraction, we’ll start with just the phone. By keeping things simple and making only a few changes at once, you’ll be more likely to stick to it. Let’s look at three simple things you can do to stick to your commitment.

  • Easy! Put your phone on Airplane Mode, Do Not Disturb or you can always turn it off altogether when you are working on other tasks that do not require you to use your phone. 

 

  • This one is hard! Do not go for your phone first thing when you wake up. What you do first thing in the morning, helps set the tone for the rest of your day. When you go for that phone first thing and proceed to check email and/or your social media, you will disrupt your focus for the next several hours and possibly the remainder of the day. In addition to that, it will awaken other yucky things like stress hormones as you immediately go into “response” mode. And it will limit your ability to experience flow and to tackle your most important tasks first as opposed to everyone else’s.

 

  • Use it wisely, and it can actually save you time! Yes, it’s not all bad! Put that smart device to good use and make it work for you. One of the most excellent time-saving things you can use it for is meetings and collaboration. Save commuting time and schedule FaceTime, Google Hangouts or Skype calls from anywhere. The other is to use that calendar to work for you as opposed to against you and help you block out the times you need to be more productive at everything you set out to do.

Easy enough right? If we can accomplish our three most important tasks without interruptions each day, how much extra time and energy can we have? I’ll be writing a second part to this post with even more productivity hacks to help us achieve higher performance in less time.

There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness, and truth.

 -Leo Tolstoy 

Your turn! Are you implementing any of the tips above? Are they working for you? Do you have others you’d like to share? Let’s connect and let me know here!

 

The 2 P’s You Want to Avoid in Your Content Marketing Strategy

 

“Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.”

– Andrew Davis

I’m willing to guarantee that at least one of my major pet peeves also happens to be one of your prospects pet peeves! Much like the rest of us and very likely most of your prospects, I look at a lot of online content daily. Two things immediately turn me off: excessive pitching and pointless nonsense.  

Number one is pitching without value!

We all know at least one business who continually promotes, and never attempts to deliver any value before the ask. Of course, you want to promote your services and products but honey; we cannot get married before going on a few dates first. Look I get it, you are excited about what you have to offer, you know it can change lives, and you cannot wait to serve. I often see it from MLMs, and Direct Marketing folks mostly because they so believe in what they are selling. It’s easy for all of us to fall into this trend; we are passionate about what we do, and we want to share it.

But please with pretty on top, avoid this pitfall.

As I covered in my last blog post,  The 3 I’s Your Content Needs inform first, provide value, make it fun and engage your audience, and then, by all means, let them know how you can be of service to them. Aim at putting out 3-7 pieces of content before adding a pitch or promoting a product. Remember content can be across different platforms and styles. Don’t limit yourself, just educate and engage.

 

Number two is pointless, unproductive and useless information! 

Why would you take the time to put out content for your business that does not serve a purpose? It must serve a purpose! I see this a lot on live streams which are quickly becoming the hottest medium for content delivery. Yes, social media is all about being “social,” but when it comes to business, you still need to focus on giving your audience what they want at any given time. Is the objective to educate? Or is it to promote a particular product, launch, blog, event? Or is it to survey your prospects? Or is it to entertain? Just know what the purpose is and make sure it also provides value to your audience. Even if you are at the point of promotion, provide value.

An example of this is people popping in from a live event just to say hey! Are you “saying hello” from your live event? Great, give them a piece of useful information you are covering in the event and if there is still time for them to join you, tell them how or when the next event is. In reality, you are promoting the event, which is perfectly ok, just give us a reason to want to hear you, see you and eventually join you.

Do you have a pet peeve when it comes to the content you consume? Is it one of the above? Or do you have a juicy content marketing pet peeve I haven’t shared yet? Let’s be social share it with me here!

 

The 3 “I”s Your Content Marketing Needs

“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made in the internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”

–  Bill Gates

Surely this isn’t the first or last time you’ll hear it! If you are in business, consume information and do not live under a rock, chances are you’ve heard it before: “Content is King.”

It’s no surprise the famous and often overused phrase “Content is King” was born from the foreseeing wisdom of the one and only Bill Gates, as the title of an essay he wrote in 1996. Two decades later this dead-on little title that has become an industry staple is as accurate as ever. Yes, it’s a buzz phrase, and yes there is a reason for it, content is still very much king!

In today’s colossal marketplace, you not only need content to stand out, you need outstanding content that stands out! Let’s get down to business here; you must have a well thought out content marketing approach to attract, engage and retain clients. But Gina, you might ask, in a world already oversaturated with information (aka content) how do I stand out? Fear, not young Jedi, I’m going to dish three ingredients that will get you on the right track.

You already know we live in an incredibly noisy world and consumers are constantly bombarded with massive amounts of this so-called “King.” We are more thirsty for information than ever, but we are also more discerning and here is where the “standing out” part comes in. It is also where what I call “the Queen” comes in, and that is engagement! Engagement baby!!! While content is indeed king, what is a king without a queen? Engagement is your queen; engagement is what will trigger that desired result of turning readers into buyers and buyers into clients that love you and keep coming back.

There are three crucial ingredients to consistently engaging content. I call these the three I’s of your content marketing approach: Inform, Inspire, Interact.

Shall we dive into these three key I’s you need?

Inform – You may be saying, duh. By definition, in this context, content is simply information, yet I see so much “content” with so little substance. So much of it is focused on the platform it’s delivered or worse on a foreseeable pitch. That is not good information, that is just poor copywriting. Look, the reality is you are already either taking the time to put out the content or investing in a content specialist to do so; so do it right! Create valuable content that pushes your creativity that celebrates our intelligence, that honors the impact you want to have on your readers and that truly informs. Inform with real value, inform with true substance, inform with expression, inform in a way that will lead you to next “I.”

Inspire – Compel, entice, seduce, fascinate, aim at making us feel! Ultimately your goal is to influence your readers/viewers/listeners to take a specific action. Like it or not, we make decisions and take action based on emotions. Invoke those emotions. When you create content from a place of passion, expression and a pure desire to “inform,” you will inspire yourself and the rest of us in the process. When you inspire you will effortlessly invite the third “I.”

Interact – Aha, the Queen’s domain! Interaction creates engagement. You can write, talk, film, or whatever your preferred content method is until the cows come home if you don’t inspire enough to get your audience to interact with you, your chances of getting them as clients are quite slim. When you do your job of inspiring, you will invite interaction. And when you do, do not skimp on this crucial component; comment, respond, engage, ask! Interaction creates community, community generates engagement, engagement instills trust, and trust is what will keep them coming back.

In a nutshell, you need outstanding content that stands out! The good news, it’s not that hard. All you have to do is have a well thought out approach that informs with enough compelling value that inspires your audience and builds the desire to interact with you. Inform, inspire, interact!

What inspires you? Do tell! Let’s connect 😉 Photo credit: Alan Stenback Photography