I’ve been in a focus rut. Which is likely due to the recent uptick in life activity: extra work responsibilities, family needs, and tax season. But as I like to say, no excuses. So, this week I’m making a pact to get buzzing in my focus zone. And you know what, I know exactly what I need to do, deliberately and consistently. Here’s the scoop:
Mind Your To-Do List. I’m a huge list maker, and while I may have fallen off in the past, I’m back on the wagon with my simple and manageable method:
Grab a notebook that inspires you. I recently added this one to my arsenal.
Scribble today’s date at the top of a clean page
Write 5-7 items (any more can get overwhelming) to get done today.
Denote high priority items with an asterisk and handle those first.
Crafting small but mighty lists are pretty darn fulfilling when you see a column of check marks at the end of the day. Didn’t get handle everything on the list? No worries. Unfinished business carries over to the next day and get back at it.
Work it Out. Sometimes you gotta just sweat out your worries, distractions, and stressors with a scenic outdoor run, group fitness class (like boot camp) or a solo weightlifting session. My recent “focus fixers” have been yoga classes or deep stretching sessions, which relieve tension and slow my body down so that I can regain control of my thoughts. The best part? Stretching can be done anywhere, like in the living room before tackling your chore list or in the work cubicle before launching into a project or meeting. No fancy stretches necessary. Just a few simple poses like runners’ lunges, side stretches, and shoulder rolls do the trick.
Put the Phone Away. Addicted to your smart phone? Join the club. Those rings and dings that signal a new email or social media update don’t do focus any favors. To help, set an alarm for 30 minutes and silence your phone and place it at the other end of the room. I call these “jam sessions” and play chill music in the background or light a scented candle to keep stimulated. You’ll be surprised how productive you are when your attention span is not at the mercy of a handheld supercomputer.
Recharge Your Battery. As a busy professional, your schedule is packed with work, play, and everything in between. So many commitments with limited “off days” to recharge leaves me frazzled and disoriented. The best way to regain focus when feeling drained is to cut back on activities and carve out time to decompress while taking care of basic needs like nutrition and adequate sleep. Once you’ve lightened your schedule demands and regained energy, it’s easier to hone in on the challenges and tasks that await.
Change (or Neaten) Your Scenery. If my home’s a mess, it’s tough to get into the productivity zone. Your surroundings make a huge impact! I’ll do a swift clean up and instantly feel clear-headed with my newly organized space. Another option is to completely change your scenery. Head to a local coffee shop, bookstore, or library for a change of pace.