So now that you know how to address your distractions as they happen, let’s talk about how to start your day off focused from the get-go! There are a bunch of little tips and tricks I use to ensure that I start my day off right, and continue to stay focused on my most important tasks as the day goes on.
Find Your Peak Productivity Time
Staying focused has a lot to do with maintaining a regular schedule. If you’re a creative entrepreneur or someone who works at home, sticking to a schedule can be difficult. The trick is to schedule your time around your natural productivity cycles.
Think about it…Are you a morning person? Early afternoon? Late afternoon? Night? While some people bounce right out of bed in the morning, others might drag until noon (or until three gallons of coffee—whichever comes first).
To figure out your ideal schedule, start by blocking out the time(s) of day when you’re most creative. That creative time is for working. Next, block out your downtime. By “downtime” I mean the times during your workday that you’re least creative, and therefore least productive. That distracted downtime should be used to check your email—or even to take a break and check your social media sites like Facebook.
You can actually allow yourself some distraction time. As long as that time is scheduled—and not cutting into your creative time! If you find yourself getting too distracted, set a kitchen timer for 15 minutes. When time’s up, it’s time to shift your focus to a new activity.
The key to a productive morning is a little planning ahead. For me, the key to this process is to start the night before. But you can do it all first thing in the morning, if you like. Choose whichever time(s) fit best within your productivity cycles. (These can good “downtime” activities, too!)
Mind Dump: Take a few minutes to write down everything that pops in your mind. This can be personal items, work-related To Do’s, or even totally random thoughts and ideas. Clearing my mind allows me to excel during my creative time. So I get more work done—and I work more intensely and more efficiently.
Prioritize: Create a daily To Do list. (This daily list should integrate with your weekly and monthly business goals.) Once you’ve written everything down, pick 3 to 5 high-priority list items that you must get done. Number each one from highest priority to lowest.
Be sure your list also contains a handful of To Do items you’d like to get done, too. (These may be items from your Mind Dump activity.) If you find that your To Do list for the day is quite long, mark all the little tasks that take small amounts of time and sprinkle in these tasks when you need to shift gears for a bit, or when you feel your downtime coming on. This way, you’re sure to meet and even exceed your goals.
Post Your List: Always stick your To Do list in a visible place, so you see it first thing in the morning, and all during your productive day. A visible list helps you stay focused on what you need to get done, instead of being distracted and always looking for time fillers!
Here’s a fun tip…
Always include something fun or easy on your daily To Do list. This could even be something already included in your morning routine; for example: “Brush Teeth.” It may sound silly, but it’s a good way to check something off your To Do list right away, making you feel more productive right from the get-go!
What do YOU do to start your day focused or to maintain your focus throughout the day? Share your focusing tips by leaving a comment below!