I breakdown 5 optimal ways to focus and get things done when you have a million tasks fighting for attention in your head in today’s article.
I have a few personal projects in addition to my client projects plus my Muse passing across ideas of her own and insisting on being attended to ASAP.
With so many things going on inside my head, it can sometimes be difficult to focus and get things done.
Working from home doesn’t make things any easier either. There have been times I became so fed up of all the things fighting for attention in my head, I just stopped working altogether.
In this case, I usually went out to fritter away the day and get some mental quiet. Unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury of doing this often.
Over time, I have been able to work more effectively with a few adjustments here and there. I have outlined the 5 best ways to focus especially when working from home in this article.
I use these tips every week to manage my schedule with military precision otherwise I’d never get anything done.
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5 Ways to Focus and Work from Home Without Distractions
Focus Tip 1. Make a To-Do List
It sounds generic and basic but it works wonders. Every morning before the day starts, break out a sheet of paper and write down your priorities for the day then list them in order of importance.
I suggest starting with the simplest thing on the list then enlarge your screen and focus on only that task.
Instead of a sheet of paper, I have a cute notebook like this one handy. I also have a section for jotting down new ideas on the go.
Focus Tip 2. Get Emails Out of the Way
Have a quick look through your emails and respond or send out stuff that involves someone else providing a reasonable timeline when you will get back to them.
Afterward getting this out of the way, shut down your inbox and don’t open it again for a few hours.
Tim Ferriss elaborates on a method related to this in The 4-Hour Work Week. I spend one hour on emails in the morning then another hour or two in the evening. I achieve inbox zero quite effectively too.
Focus Tip 3. Don’t Multitask
The definition of multitasking indicates handling more than one thing at once. This sounds like an effective way to get through things quicker.
However, your focus is divided and you can’t service each task as it deserves. Instead, set a timeline for each task and power speed your way through it by eliminating all other distractions.
Focus Tip 4. Get an Idea Pad or Whatchamacallit
I call mine an idea pad. It’s a little black book where I write down all those ideas from the crazy lady, aka my muse, in my head fighting for attention.
I discovered when I leave it alone too long, I forgot something really important. Every time an idea pops into my head but I’m too busy to pay attention to it, I grab the idea pad.
I take a few minutes to write down 2 lines quickly. I then come back to it after a few days to flesh out the idea properly.
Focus Tip 5. Use Social Media Blocking Software
Are you obsessed with social media and can’t function without checking Facebook, Twitter, etc every few minutes?
This is a very serious problem for a lot of people. You will need to get some help to increases your willpower.
There are apps out there that will help block your access to the Internet as well as other distractions for a predetermined amount of time every day.
Some good ones I’ve come across for this sort of thing are:-
- Cold Turkey (free basic account. Compatible with Windows only at the moment)
- Self Control (only for Macs but free)
- Freedom (starts from $2.42/month)
- Focus (free but they appreciate a tip)
- StayFocusd (free Chrome extension)
There are many more apps that block access to social media and other distractions while working out there though; free and paid.
Engaging in all of the above will enable you to focus properly on your priorities and stick to a timeline, helping you to do more and achieve more every day until it becomes a habit.
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