Are you someone who has challenges getting organized no matter how hard you try? This is the 3rd in a series of articles to provide simple tips to help you.
Do you start a task with every intent of staying focused only to find yourself quickly distracted? Here are some tricks to help you stay focused and get things done.
1) If you have a difficult task to work on, more than any other suggestion, I would recommend working on it during the time of day when you have the most energy. For me, that’s anytime between 7am and noon. I structure my day so that I attack the hardest tasks first thing in the morning. Everyone is different and has energy at different times. Plan each day so that you are working on tasks you find most difficult when you are most awake and easier tasks during lulls.
2) When you are dreading a task, I recommend using a timer to help you stay focused. Set your timer for 15 – 30 min and only work on that one task during that time period. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll get done once you get started, and how fast the time will go. My favorite timer is the Time Timer www.timetimer.com that helps you “see” how much time you have left.
3) To help keep yourself focused, remove distractions. Close the door to keep the kids and pets out if necessary. Turn off the phone and computer if you’re not using it. Clear off your desk to keep you from starting something else.
4) For some of us, low level background noise actually helps. Turn on some background music to drown out other distractions. Are you one of those people who get more work done at a coffee house with a low level of buzz? Use that to help you stay focused.
5) Block out times in your day to check email and return phone calls. Turn off your phone and email until those times. Maybe it’s once an hour or a couple of times a day. You’ll get more done if you aren’t constantly interrupted by someone else.
6) Save your energy to focus on the hard important tasks by scheduling the easy tasks at the same time each day and/or each week. For repetitive tasks, make them a habit so that it becomes a no-brainer to do them at the same time. Just like brushing your teeth is a habit that you do every morning and every night, opening your mail each evening can also become a habit. The more habits you put in place to deal with the repetitive easy stuff, the more energy you’ll have to deal with the real priorities in your life.