Back when I was a computer programmer, my job included a lot of troubleshooting for clients. So, when something wasn’t working right, it was my job to (1) determine what the problem was and (2) fix it or find a work around and report it to development.
What does that mean? It means that was no shortage of options when it came to what to work on each day. Quite frankly, some days it was hard to stay focused because there were many important tasks I could be working on at any moment.
Now, fast forward a couple years, I’m an entrepreneur working from home. While I don’t get phone calls from clients with websites or software that’s not working, I still have a lot of important tasks I could be doing for my business at any one moment. And because I work from home, there are also a lot of personal things I could be doing.
And of course, at home, no one but me is going to notice if I’m watching TV, YouTube or doing something else instead of working on one of those important tasks (well, my husband might start to notice).
So, how do you stay focused to work on those important tasks?
Here are some things you can do or consider:
- Lists. You’ve taken the time to write down all the tasks that you need to do. Yes, it took some time that you could have used working, but it also saved you all that time and energy of worrying that you’re going to forget to do something. And when you remember something else, you have a spot to write it down so you don’t forget it (hint: it’s that same list, don’t start a new one!).
- Plan tomorrow at the end of today. When you don’t have to think about what the next thing is to do, because you already planned it out, it’s easier to jump into the next task. It’s another reason why creating your master or weekly list is so important.
- Clarity. You are clear on why the task is important to you, your business and your goals. You know that this task by itself might not be important, it is important to your larger goals.
- Minimize Distractions.
- Email / Phone – Close your email (yes, really do that!) and silence your phone. This way you have a solid period of time to work without distractions.
- Family – You’ve also let others in the house know you’re working and should not be disturbed for 1-hour (or whatever period of time you need) or until you open your office door. However, once the time is up, go engage with your family, play with your kids for a half hour or talk to your husband. Why do this? If your family knows that you’ll emerge from your office and be there for them, they’re more likely to leave you alone for a bit.
- Noise – If there is distracting noise (or distracting quiet – yes, I occasionally find silence very distracting), find some soothing music to play in the background. Pandora or Spotify are great for that.
- Just sit down and do it. Personally, this rarely works for me. I need to have one or more of the items above figured out before I can just sit down and do it. And I’m guessing, because you’re here, that you’re probably like me in this regard.
Anything else you do to stay focused on the task at hand? Share in the comments below!