5 Ways to Get Focused and Get Things Done

5 Ways to Get Focused and Get Things Done

“Success demands singleness of purpose.” ~Vincent Lombardi

Some days I’m totally on top of things, focused and centered and productive. I love those days–I get things done and when the day is over, I feel accomplished and positive.

Then there are the days when I’m scattered and randomly jumping from task to task without any real focus. Those days are less enjoyable, and even though I “get a lot done,” I don’t actually feel like I’ve accomplished much–and I often find myself feeling guilty. That doesn’t feel good.

It feels good to get things done, to be intentionally focused on not only what needs to be done, but also on what I want to do. It feels good to accomplish what I set out to accomplish, to meet my daily goals–which always lead toward the more long-term goals. And feeling good and accomplishing my goals is a sure-fire way to bring more positive things into my life.

So how do we find focus when we have one of those scattered days?

One Step at a Timer

I don’t know about you, but I tend to multi-task nearly all the time. However, on those scattered days, I feel the need to stop and focus on only one task at a time. Maybe that’s because when I’m feeling scattered, I’m far more easily distracted.

I find that setting a timer for a specific amount of time and forcing myself to focus on a single task makes a big difference. Even five minutes can be enough to shake off that scattered feeling and get back into a focused mindset.

Clear the Clutter to Clear Your Mind

The feeling of being scattered goes right along with a cluttered work area or home. When I’m feeling that way, sometimes just clearing off my desk or tidying up around the house is enough to help me change my mind.

When our living and working spaces our cluttered, we’re bound to feel mentally cluttered too. Even just clearing off a single table top or shining your kitchen sink can make all the difference in the world.

Just Do It Already

A lot of times, when I’m feeling unfocused, I procrastinate or distract myself with busy work. Then, I find myself staying up late into the night to meet my deadlines or finish up my projects. (I’ll admit, sometimes the late nights are a direct result of just plain being busy–but other times, they could be avoided!)

So, when I feel myself procrastinating, just forcing myself to BEGIN doing the task is enough to get me back on track. Even if I’m not feeling it when I get started, I eventually find my groove and keep on keeping on.

Take a Break

Ok, I realize this sounds counter-intuitive, but hear me out. If you’re anything like me, sometimes the fact that you have things to do can cause you to become paralyzed, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed. So, while taking a break may seem like it would slow your productivity, the opposite is actually true–at least for me.

If I find myself feeling frustrated or unfocused, a fifteen minute break away from my desk can sometimes be all I need to develop a fresh perspective. Sometimes it’s just doing a mindless activity like watching a little TV or walking around the block, and other times it’s talking with one of my family member or friends. And sometimes, it’s just about being still and quiet and not thinking about anything at all.

The point is that if I take a quick break, I come back refreshed and ready to get things done–while if I skip the break, I might waste even more time by remaining unfocused.

Plan Ahead

This might seem obvious. But if you’re anything like me, planning may not come naturally to you. What I find effective is to sit down at the end of my work day and look at what I’ve got going on for the next day. I’ll check my calendar for appointments, check my list of assignments and tasks and then I set up a priority list for the next day.

I decide what MUST be done, then what I would like to get done. I set up a really basic plan of attack for the next day, and then I make a point of sticking to it as much as possible. Of course, things come up and priorities change–but having a basic plan for the day can still mean the difference between being focused and being scattered. You might be surprised how significantly a simple plan can change your perspective and increase your focus.

So, how about you? What do you do to get back on track when you find yourself losing focus or feeling scattered? Tell me in the comments!

How to Find Your Happy Place Even When Life Sucks

How to Find Your Happy Place Even When Life Sucks

Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in the negative things, especially when you forget be intentional. This is especially true when you’re faced with situations that trigger negative emotions like sadness, anger or fear.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m dealing with certain stressful situations, I sometimes let myself feel the pressure. This of course affects my mood, which in turn affects my entire vibration–and then causes me to think and feel negatively, thus attracting negativity into my life.

I know I’m not alone here–everyone has, at one time or another, found themselves feeling a negative emotion, and everyone understands the mental and physical effects doing so can have on a person.

We understand that by the universal law of attraction, we are drawing toward us what we are “putting out there,” but in our grief or anger or fear, we can’t bring ourselves to pull out of that negative place.

Why Do We Do This?

We do this because we want to do it. Some part of us wants to feel sad or angry or scared, and so we accept and embrace those feelings. Maybe we feel like we need to feel negative emotions, or that we’re supposed to feel negative emotions in certain situations. Or maybe some part of us likes to feel that way.

But even though it sometimes feels like our emotions are in control of us, rather than the other way around, the truth is that we have a choice. We can decide how we want to feel, and we can intentionally change the vibration we’re sending out into the universe from a negative one to a positive one.


How Do We Do THAT?

Awareness and Intentional Thought

First, we must become aware of our thoughts and of the words we speak, and we must mentally ‘cancel’ any negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. This process feels a little artificial when you first begin it, but after a little practice, it becomes second nature.

So, if you’re in a stressful situation and find yourself feeling negative emotions, STOP. Say to yourself, “I now cancel that thought and replace it with this affirmation of my true desire.” And then say what you really want. You can do this out loud or in your head.

A little tip from me to you: If you’re not alone, you might want to stick to saying it in your head. Wouldn’t want anyone thinking you’re crazy, now would you? 😉

But seriously, even though it may feel forced at first, you can still use this technique to your advantage. Sometimes all you need is a mental interruption to change the flow of thoughts–and this works perfectly in that respect. And once it becomes second nature, you’ll find it working on a whole new level. 

Find Your Happy Place

Get happy by focusing on or thinking about things that can make you feel happiness and love. For example, parents might snuggle with their children or look at old photos of them. Artists might paint or sculpt, and writers might write. Just about anyone could benefit from getting a little exercise or otherwise changing the scene. Or maybe a certain movie or book or song always cheers you up.

You might come up with a whole list of thoughts, people and things that always make you feel happy, loved, satisfied or simply amazing. Do it however it feels right for you, but definitely do it.

But What If We Don’t Know What Makes Us Happy?

What Works for Me

When I am feeling negatively, I have a few different go-to happy places. Number one is simply spending time with my kids. They are all three such sources of joy for me, and I consider being their mother an honor and a privilege.

I can also reach out to my husband and my friends, as well as some supportive extended family members.

And, as you probably know, I’m a writer, and I feel absolutely grateful that I am able to make a living doing what I love. That’s why sometimes, all I need to do to find my happy place is to simply focus on my work for awhile. Because I love what I do, if I can bring myself to focus on it, I always have a reason to smile, and often find myself doing so unconsciously while I’m working.

What Works for You?

Maybe for you, it’s not about your work or your relationships, but it’s about your hobbies or outside interests. If that’s the case, then that’s what you need to focus on when you’re feeling negatively.

So, if you love to play Wii Tennis, get to playing. And if you enjoy sewing or hiking or meditation or watching reruns of True Blood–get to doing some of that. It doesn’t much matter what brings you to happy as long as you know how to get there.

Where’s your happy place? Do you know how to get there? Tell me in the comments!

The Single Best Way to Cure Procrastination

The Single Best Way to Cure Procrastination

Did you ever have one of those days when you’ve got like fifty-bazillion things to do and yet all you seem to get done is updating your Facebook status and maybe a shower, if you’re lucky?

I’ve been there. Who hasn’t?

From the outside, it might just look like you’re procrastinating, but in reality, it feels a little more like being paralyzed, am I right?

Well, here’s a tip that might just help you to move past that whole “feeling so overwhelmed that I can’t do a single thing” issue. I hope you’re sitting down for this one, because it is seriously going to blow your mind.

Ready?

Just do SOMETHING. Pick one thing on your list, even something tiny and easy, and start doing it. Don’t stop until you’re finished. Maybe this is something small–like, I don’t know, a blog post. Or maybe it’s something bigger, like finally organizing your kitchen cabinets. It doesn’t matter what it is. Just do one thing.

When you’re done, look at what you’ve done and pat yourself on the back. You have just ended the vicious cycle of procrastination and paralyisis, and you are on your way to getting back on the productive horse.

Who knew it could be so easy?

And, once you’ve got your juices flowing, do one more thing. And so on.

I know, this all sounds positively basic and simple–but every now and then, we all need someone to tell us, as Nike once did, to Just Do It.

So, enough procrastination. Enough paralysis. Just do SOMETHING. Are you with me?

What are your best tips for avoiding procrastination and paralysis when you’ve got a fifty-bazillion things to do? Tell me in the comments!

 

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