You may as well face it. Your days of being able to complete a sentence or finish a task are over. Every time you start, you know your kids are going to magically know that you’re trying to do something. They’ll stop you with urgent and totally random questions. How can you get anything done without losing your mind? In this episode, learn my three best tricks to stay focused and actually get stuff done — without losing your mind.
Focus feels Impossible
I chose the topic for this episode on a day when I felt particularly unfocused.
This happens all the time to me.
I write a list of what I want to do. And I start working it. And then I get interrupted….again and again. UGH!!
When We Can’t Focus
On the day I chose this topic I felt so stressed from being unfocused. I was trying to go to the library and it took hours till I got out the door.
First I had to empty the dishwasher. Then eat. Then get my kids to eat.
Then I started doing bills. And I couldn’t seem to focus on actually leaving the house.
My brain wouldn’t let me do the few things I needed to do to actually get out of the house, like collect the library books, get my water bottle, put on some sunscreen or make-up, and go.
It’s really not that hard. Or at least it shouldn’t be that hard.
But I kept losing my focus on something as simple as getting out the door.
How do we create more focus?
How can you get anything done without focus?
It’s one of the pillars of productivity. If you can’t focus you flitter from one thing to the next, just like I was doing that day. It’s so frustrating because at the end of the day you’re exhausted with nothing to show for it.
Except perhaps a mess of half-done things.
➡️ Mail on the table when you started paying the bills.
➡️ The dishwasher half emptied and dishes in the sink because there was no place to put them.
How can we create more focus so we can get things done and not feel exhausted? Our poor brains just want to rest.
Like a butterfly moving from flower to flower. It just wants to find a pretty plant to land on and enjoy.
I have a few tips for you to help you with this.
Tip 1: Choose what to work on when your kids are around.
This one is a biggie.
It sounds very obvious once you know it, but till you know it, it’s not obvious.
There are things you can do more easily with your kids around and things you can do less easily with your kids around.
For example, if you need to write an article, do a spreadsheet, or code something for your job, you will lose your mind if you do them with kids constantly interrupting you.
You’ll be curt. Upset. In a bad mood.
Anyone who has ever done this is shaking their head in agreement with me right now. A lot of us dealt with this in 2020 and it wasn’t pretty.
I have my clients make a list of things they can do with their kids around and things that are better done without.
Tip #2: Trust you’re working on the right thing.
I learned this tip years ago from Leo Babauta of the popular blog, Zen Habits.
In his post he explained that the reason why we switch from working from one thing to the next is because we don’t have confidence that we’re working on the right thing.
Let’s say you’re doing a load of laundry and suddenly remember that you forgot to defrost meat for dinner.
You stop doing the laundry and run to the freezer. And then when you’re in the kitchen you notice that the counter is a mess so you start putting things away. And then you remember it’s your Mom’s birthday.
I know you do this, too. Don’t tell me I’m the only one!!
What Leo suggests is that the moment you’re tempted to shift to the next thing, you remind yourself that what you’re doing is important. And although the other things FEEL more important, remind yourself that the task you chose, you chose for a reason.
Be confident in the task you chose and know you’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing.
And just think how amazing you’ll feel when it’s actually done rather than just half done and you can get it out of your head.
Tip #3: Set a Timer
I know this tip is basic, but I wanted to remind you that a timer is your best friend.
When you have a timer going, the chances of you moving from one task to the next are almost none.
You’ll race against the timer, get it done and sometimes, you won’t even want to stop.
I use a timer a lot when I have to clean.
I’m very resistant to cleaning and when I set that timer, it gets me going and it goes off usually before I’m ready. I have the timer to thank for a lot of things getting cleaned in my home.
Even though it’s basic, it works like gangbusters, so don’t discount it just because it sounds simple.
What will you do?
Usually I advise you to pick one thing from the episode that you’ll start doing right away.
With this episode, I purposely kept things short and….focused!! You can do all three things right away, or you can choose just one.
Focus is so important for your confidence, your ability to be balanced, and for getting anything done in life.
Wishing you lot of balance and focus,