As entrepreneurs, we have deadlines all the time. These deadlines are often coming from outside sources. It can be tough to get everything done that is needed. Before writing this post, I’ve been hustling on a deadline for my current 9-5 job and discovered these tips helpful. I also asked you how you focus when there are so many distractions pulling at your attention. These distractions can come in the form of a phone call, an alert that pops up on your phone, browsing on social media to avoid the work you should be doing, or even your energetic kids craving your attention.
Let’s get into the juicy tips to help you be productive even in the midst of life’s crazy challenges.
- Do you work best in a place that is quite? Or is the silence even more of a distraction for you? Simply changing your scenery can help bring focus to the task at hand. Schedule a time to work at the coffee shop down the street, or hike into a remote location (if wifi/phone access is not needed), or rent a hotel room for a day. Growing up, one of my favorite places to get deep work done was the floor in the laundry room. It was a great spot to hid away where other people didn’t go often. Think outside the box!
Get Fresh Air
- Venturing outside for some fresh air, or a short walk, can do wonders for resetting your focus. This could look like a 10-minute walk down the street, or sitting on a park bench to let your mind focus on the present moment.
Silence the Tech
- Our techie devices can be so distraction when we are trying to focus. Your phone gets a notification, your email informs you that “You have mail”, and your tablet is asking for updates. Daily we are bombarded with the expectation to stay connected and respond quickly. However, this impedes our ability to get into a state of flow. Flow is when you are in a heighten state of productivity to focus on the task at hand. You are completely in the present moment of that challenge you are solving. When I get to a state of flow, I can be unaware of anything accept what I’m doing. I get into a hyper-focused mindset which allows me to work quickly and efficiently.
Create Mini Deadlines for Yourself
- When you are working toward accomplishing a task quickly, but it has many pieces, it’s important to break that project down into bite-sized to-do’s. If you write out a list before you dive into the project, it will allow you stay focused and will allow you to move quickly down the list. If you have to stop after accomplishing each piece of the task, that leaves room for distractions to creep in. If you don’t leave those cracks in your work flow, you’re less likely to break out of your focused mindset.
Write Out All of the Steps
- Penciling in your action items relates closely to the last point. If you keep the to-do’s in your head, you’re likely to forget one, or more of the pieces need to successfully meet the deadline. I like to organize my tasks by each day of the week. Or if I only have a certain number of hours to complete the items, I break the to-dos out by each hour. Getting each step on paper allows the task to broken out into manageable.
Get some brain food
- When I’m distracted, or even when I’m super focused, I can forget to eat. My productivity slowly starts to decrease and I start to loose momentum. If you don’t let yourself get to the point of being super hungry, you can avoid feeling like you need to eat everything in sight. Setting a reminder to eat can help keep your productivity at a steady level.
- If you’re waiting for motivation to magically appear, it won’t happen. You have to use self-control and take action. As you start to gain momentum, the motivation to keep going often comes.
You can push through the struggle to get focused and create an environment that allows you to meet your deadlines, whether those deadlines are your own, or they are put on you by your boss. Maybe you’re not sure what focusing methods work for you yet. That’s ok, keep experimenting. Allow yourself the freedom to change methods that aren’t working. It’s worth your time!
Question: How do you keep yourself focused? What do you need to change so that you can achieve flow in your work?