Tips to Help You Stay Focused

Written by Mary Lutz

Is this you: You sit down at your laptop or desk with goals set for the day.

You have 5 articles to write, 2 blogs to post, time set aside for social networking, 107 RSS feeds to read,94 emails in your inbox that need to be read and cleaned out, your personal blog needs to be updated, you need to work on your affiliate marketing, and 3 on-line tutorials need to be caught up!

You start working on that first article, need to do a little research on the subject so you start surfing the net for information. Next thing you know, 2 hours have gone by, and all you’ve done is MAYBE a little social networking or updated your personal blog.

No wait!!! That’s me I’m describing…today as a matter of fact! What happened???

The first thing I can tell you is that I didn’t start out with my goals written down…a ‘to do’ list!

And I had “Twhirl” open which is a great tool and I love it, but it can be very distracting.  When I found myself getting distracted, I did go and make that to do list. (I am trying to get ahead in my article writing because for the next couple of weeks I am going to be busy with the Chosen Youth Conference, so those are my first priority right now.) Once I made the to-do list, I was able to stay more focused on the tasks at hand and get the first 3 articles pumped out. What a great feeling that is!

But still yet, I found myself wandering away once in a while from the article itself, because an email would pop saying someone had commented on one of the ning sites I belong to, and I just HAD to go read it! C’mon now, I know you all do it too (wink-wink).  Or how about when one of the kids or the hubby comes in and needs something from you? How do you stay focused, or get re-focused on that article?  Here’s what I do:

  • Close the email program
  • Close your Twitter app
  • If the need of the family member can wait a few more minutes, kindly tell them you will help them in X number of minutes, or as soon as you get that article finished.
  • If the need of the family member can’t wait, obviously take care of the need, then when you go to finish the article, re-read all of what you’ve already written so you can get back on track.

Sometimes when I’m writing, like this very second, I will be focusing on my article but someone asks a question, like “When will dinner be ready?” I try kindly to answer their question, but stay focused on what I’m writing. That way it will take less time than if I were to get up, check dinner (which happens to be in the crock pot this time) and then try to come back where I left off, refocus and find that train of thought I had going before the question was asked.

My daughter just asked me what I was writing, and I told her “An article about family distractions!” She didn’t get the hint.

Earlier today I was describing to my son what I needed to do today as far as my on-line work.  I told him all the things mentioned above and said they were all jumbled up in my head (the sound I used to describe the jumbled mess sounded like a turkey gobbling…lol).  That’s when I realized I needed to make that to-do list. Usually I don’t have a ton of stuff to do in one day, so I can prioritize it in my head, but days like today, I have to write it down or I will forget something or not meet a goal.

Here are some steps to help you stay focused on your priorities:

  1. Make a to-do list
  2. Do not open email programs unless that is on your priority list
  3. Do not open other social networking tools like Twitter until your work is done and you’re ready to announce that article you just wrote.
  4. Try to find a nice, quiet space to get your work done.  If you have an office with a door, use it. (I do not have one in my house…yet.)
  5. Make crock pot dinners so you don’t have to stop every 5 minutes to stir.
  6. Reward yourself when your to-list is done by checking your email and Twittering!

I hope these tips help you stay focused on your daily goals and priorities.

Happy focusing!

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