A few tips to help you stay focused and productive.
Those people who are distracted by squirrels tend to have fewer hours in the day than those who keep their mind focused. Every one of us has 24 hours in any one day. If you’re one of the squirrel chasers in the world, here are a few tips and tricks to make your life easier and help you get shit done.
WRITE A LIST - For everything that needs doing in your life and business. Grab some A3 and scribble EVERYTHING down. You can then build ‘urgent’, ‘soon’ and ‘some point’ lists. I love having a daily, weekly and monthly to do list so that I know what is happening in my life. I find that writing my daily list out the day before helps me mentally prepare for the following day.
BYE BYE BIG TASK - If you have one massive scary item on your mind/list, get it out of the way before you do anything else. If you need to phone HMRC, do your accounts, sack a member of staff or finish a client's scary project then get it out of the way first thing. Otherwise you’ll be spending the whole day worrying about it, you’ll get all the little jobs tied up and then convince yourself you no longer have the time and it’ll have to be left until tomorrow.
ACCOUNTABILITY - I’m pretty good at holding myself accountable. I know that if I don’t do my job then the ripple effect can affect not only me, but my business, my clients and ultimately their business and I’m not prepared to let that happen! If you struggle with not hitting goals or making your ideas a reality, I suggest you get an Accountability Buddy. Someone you trust who can hold your hand and kick you in the butt at the same time. I actually have a few. Hold monthly or weekly meetings (either face-to-face or virtually) and help each other stay on track.
BE REALISTIC - I know we all like to convince ourselves that we’re Superman or Superwoman but we’re not. We’re, unfortunately, human. Be realistic with yourself, your abilities and your timescales. You’re probably not going to write a 70,000 word book in a week. That “quick” email you need to send will probably take you longer than you think. Let's not forget the hour you blocked out for a meeting… make it two hours. The best way to be realistic is to know what you’re up against. I use a timer to time everything I do down to the last second. I challenge you to time all your tasks for a week. You’ll be amazed at how much time ‘little jobs’ take and you’ll also be able to see where you’re wasting time too. There is nothing quite as time consuming as “I’ll just check that FB notification” - 1 check, 6 link clicks, 9 YouTube videos about cats later and your deadline seems scarily close.
BE SELFISH - Time is something that none of us can get back. Once that second hand makes its move, there is no going back. It’s over. Being selfish with your time does not make you a selfish or horrible person. It makes you a self aware, strong minded and more focused person.
When the work is done, you can then focus on the… Oooo look, a squirrel.