10 Proven Tips to Get More Focused This Year

Honing your focus…

We all want it!

We all need it.

And it’s not always easy with the myriad of responsibilities in our daily lives.

Take me as example.

I love to be busy.I mean.THRIVE, LOVE, NEED to have lots of things to do.

So much so that my past younger self (pre kiddo) has been known to drown in projects. My older wiser self has learned how utterly imperative the fine art of balancing and focusing is.

It’s never too late for a refresher, even to veterans like me.

I recently dove back into the topic of getting and maintaining focus. Because as a solo entrepreneur (with a really cool team of fellow freelancers behind me), busy first-time mom, and all around type A personality, it’s too easy to fall into old habits. I’m not ashamed to admit that at times, I find myself talking more about the 80/20 rule than actually minding it. The difference now is that I can more easily recognize it and stop it.

So, here’s some tried and true tips for helping increase your focus this year. That could be on work, doing something for yourself (yes this should always be in your prio list) or with your family. Most of these have been ingrained in my brain and I keep them as top of mind.

Let’s Roll…Here Are Your Tips

Tip #1

Turn off email notifications. Check your email when you want to, not when it dings in your face

Tip #2

Speaking of email, if you do check it and you read a mail that literally will take you 30 seconds to respond. Respond immediately. You should never touch these sorts of things more than once.

Tip #3

Which actually leads to this super-important rule. Never ever ever ever ever look at your email in the morning. Make your task list for the next day the night before and back to #1 check your email on your own terms. Don’t let it distract you at 8am, it should never be the first thing (unless you need something from there to do your to-dos)

Tip #4

Schedule as many meetings / calls as possible for 1 day of the week. This maximizes your productivity when you have travel involved and keeps you project focused on the other workdays

Tip #5

And finally, I’ll round up my list with some new things. Because, well, you can in fact teach an old dog new tricks and these were helpful to me recently.

New Tricks

Tip #6

TURN OFF FACEBOOK CHAT (and notifications).

Some days I’m bombarded. By friends, family, clients, vendors (I love you all). As luck would have it, most of the time when I’m bombarded it lines up with being incredibly busy. So, I essentially fall off the grid.

For me, the better solution is to treat this like email, take a digital break and turn it off – and check it on my own terms. p.s. I still love you guys/gals 🙂

Tip #7

USE OUT OF OFFICE.

Because I balance being a entrepreneur with being a mom, I am thankful for the fact that I can have 2 mama days a week. What’s a mama day? On Wednesday & Thursday I take care of my 2-year-old boy instead of sending him off to daycare.

Consequently, that means my workdays are spread out the rest of the week, usually Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. The difficulty with this schedule is that my mama days off fall smack dab in the middle of a workweek.

What has helped set expectations (and reduce my guilt of not working on mama days so I can be more present for my son) is to always turn on an out of office email reply on those days. Oh and I added a line in my email signature that also shares my workdays.

Tip #8

MINIMIZE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS.

It’s easy to get bogged down with productivity tools while trying to maximize with productivity. But having your stuff essentially spread around these tools leads to even more inefficiency – its counter productive.

So, I cleaned up my arsenal.

What do I use now?

Trello for project management with clients, Any.do for my own small tasks list, and Google calendar for my calendars. For notes and clippings, I’ve consolidated everything now to Evernote. What did I use before? probably triple this and because I love to make random notes every time I have a thought, I won’t tell you how many notepad files I had to move into Evernote to get this all cleaned up. Oh physical notebooks, I won’t even start on my piles of those!

Tip #9

SCHEDULE IN DOWN TIME.

If you don’t schedule in your ME time who will? Get that in your calendar today.

It’s often the first thing we snooze or forget about when the going gets busy but it’s the one thing that will essentially keep us sharp. I’ve now got clear color coding on my google calendar showing all of the different categories of blocks, and made sure that downtime and me-time has a good chunk, too. Same with Family time – get that in also!

Tip #10

CATEGORIZE.

I’ve learned that having 500 to-dos (which is not uncommon for me) often can overwhelm me and I get stuck in the undone instead of just.. getting things done. What has helped me is to understand that this is an actual thing… it’s known as Zeigarnik Effect. Making categories helps as does using any.do.

What are your tips for keeping focused?

Who am I? 

I'm Gina Dunn, Brand Strategist and CEO of iGina - and my mission is to help entrepreneurs to define and build brands. Let's bring your brand to life!

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