Three Ways to Stay on Task Throughout the Day
Photo by Heather Chipps Photography | Styling by Amanda Day Rose
With so many distractions (hello, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, email, phone consultations, family, and iPhones!), it's a wonder any of us are able to stay on task and focused throughout the day. In this day and age it is not easy put all distractions aside, focus our attention, and get. stuff. done.
That's why I'm so hoping these three tips are going to help you as you move forward in your business and create a more productive routine!
Invest in a good planner...and really use it to it's advantage! Whether it's an old-fashioned paper planner (one of my all-time favorite things to do is write in my Simplified Planner!) or an electronic calendar, I highly recommend figuring out what works best for you and getting in the habit of using it! I write everything in my planner - especially during the busy seasons. Dates with my husband, phone consultations, project due dates, what's for dinner....jot it (or type it!) all down. And then really pay attention to those schedules and lists you've created for yourself. I have some friends who own a planner and when they open it up to check a date, there is nothing written in it. It baffles me how they even know which way is up, not to mention, what their schedule is that day! I encourage you to really use your planner to it's full potential. So if you get distracted on Instagram one day and then you see on your calendar that your supposed to be working on Mary Jane's branding project, you'll immediately get back on task!
Set aside some planning time every week. I like to do my planning on Sunday afternoons, but pick a time that you know is going to work best with your schedule, and you know you'll have a few moments of quiet to think. Use your planner to write down all the tasks you know need to get done during the week ahead, appointments you already have scheduled, meals, and any family events. Leave space each day for daily tasks you know will arise (for instance, I don't schedule anything before 9:30 because I know I need at least an hour each morning to check emails and respond to inquiries) and a "cushion" every few days for projects that take a little longer than expected and/or unexpected tasks that arise. Having this cushion helps me to feel more at east when something comes up unexpectedly that I hadn't anticipated!
Trust your scheduling judgement. Now that you have a schedule and it's written in stone (or paper...), it's time for you to trust yourself. Trust that you actually didn't put in a 3 hour buffer to scroll through Instagram feeds for a reason. Trust that you didn't build in time for the black hole that can be the internet for a reason. Trust that you were focused and organized when you created your schedule so that when you find yourself getting sucked into social media or procrastinating on a project, you'll know it's necessary to get back on task.
If you learn nothing today, I hope you learn that scheduling is key to staying on task. Make an appointment with yourself to finish XYZ project at Starbucks if you have to! Pencil time in to respond to emails, cook dinner, spend time with family, or schedule posts on social media. Make a schedule that is feasible for you and your day-to-day routine, write it down, and then trust that you made wise decisions to help you stay on task during your focused scheduling date.