In this day and age, distractions are imminent and are around every corner of an email or chat message. So, how do we stay focused when we are surrounded by distractions? No matter the distraction, it can be quite frustrating and cause us to be unproductive.
You see, life has this way of shoving different distractions, whether life events or small things, in front of you right when you need to hone in your focus. As my grandmother would say, “That’s just life, sugar – get used to it!”
Recently, I got engaged, which is not only bringing about a major life change but a monumental distraction (enter: wedding planning).
In the beginning, it was a struggle to think of anything more than the size of my centerpieces or which shade of beige I should go with. But, I realized that simply tuning those things out wasn’t helping. I needed to dust off the focus tricks and put them to work.
Here are a few things I do to keep the distractions at bay. Hopefully they will help you, too.
Make a List
Yup. This tried and true trick really does work. On a blank sheet of paper, write down every single task you can think of that needs accomplishing. Don’t worry about organizing them or separating by work or home stuff just yet. Focus on getting everything out of your head and onto the paper.
You should already sense a feeling of relief.
Now that you have a massive list, separate them by different categories, such as home, work, school activities, etc.
After you have your lists, focus on prioritizing. Find an alphabetical or numeric system that works for you and list priorities from most important to least important.
Turn It Off
Ok, maybe not actually “off,” but silence your devices! Each buzz or ding totally throws your brain off track.
Also, log out of any distracting social media pages. For many of us, visiting those sites are a habit – one we aren’t even conscious of. Logging out of these accounts will remind you to stay off of social media and focus!
Schedule time in your day to check these devices (more on scheduling later), and you will not only limit your distractions, but it can serve as a reward for marking things off your list.
This one is a gem, people! It’s my favorite trick and the one that really keeps me on task. Make a schedule for yourself!
Starting with your most important task, give yourself a time frame to work on this specific item and only that item. See the example below:
9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. – Client social strategy
11:15 a.m. – Noon – Client blog
When you schedule your time like this, you can see exactly where your efforts are going. Leave yourself some “grace” room. Unfortunately, in an agency setting, interruptions are inevitable. You also need some time to stretch your legs. Leave yourself about 15 minutes in between heavy tasks.
Distractions are everywhere. While difficult, eliminating our distractions allow us to better serve you as our client.