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.
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.
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.
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!