I admit I feel sure that I have a touch of ADHD…I never officially got tested but I do get distracted and lose focus easily. I get a lot of ideas all at once (like now when I am writing this and have an urge to look at shoes on Zappos) and I have to stop and refocus on the task at hand. The idea that I have ADD didn’t really even occur to me back when I was running my retail stores. Retail is totally an “ADD friendly” business – always having interruptions, people in and out, calls… actually it was a great place for someone like me. But …when I became a speaker and started working out of my home office I began to notice my little lack of concentration quirks.
Being a solopreneur and working out of my home office can have its challenges. I am my own boss, manager and motivator and I have discovered that I need structure and rituals in my day if I am going to be successful. Structure is something that I naturally resisted (ENFP) but through practice and the desire to succeed it has become my good friend.
So here are some of the things/rituals that I do stay focused and productive.
1. I plan my day the night before. I use to plan early in the morning, but I discovered that I am more productive if my mornings are free to work out. See #8
2. In my PM planning I begin with the top two or three must do’s (commitments) that no matter what, I will get them accomplished that day.
3. I include people in my daily plan…people that I need to reconnect with to keep the relationship alive, and people that I need to connect with because I am waiting on them either for information or as a follow-up.
4. I have an ongoing list of 3 projects (website redo, write book, create an online course, write a blog post) that I continually chip away.
5. When I am working at my desk I cut out all distractions. I turn off my email, and pings from social media.
6. I have discovered the site focusatwill.com and I set the timer for 90 minutes of classical music. It keeps me focused and I work faster and better when the music is on. I love it and I really focus.
7. I work at my desk writing or doing clerical work for 90 minutes at a time and then I take off 10 minutes and do something unrelated to work (throw in a load of clothes or empty the dishwasher) and then hit it for another 90. I learned this trick from Jim Loehr early in my speaking career. I read his book The Power of Full Engagement and it changed my life and how I look at time management. It’s well worth the read.
8. I discovered that exercise and dance have increased my energy levels and I am more productive when I hit the gym. Because I work alone I enjoy working out in classes with people who I greet and chat a bit before and after the class. It energizes me and I alternate between yoga classes, Zumba, a step class, and body- pump every day that I am in town. I go early in the morning and then again if possible at 5:30 in the afternoon. I cannot tell you how good I feel and how my energy level has advanced. I believe that the yoga/meditation has really played a huge role in my ability to focus.
9. Dr Phil once said you can’t claim it if you don’t name it. I try and do all my clerical work on Mondays (Money Mondays) and my creative writing on Thursdays (Text Thursdays). I like naming the days- it helps my stay on track…I have a VA and I have her doing all the follow-ups up “Follow-up Wednesday”.
10. Recently a friend told me about the Five Minute Journal, just five minutes a day made Tim Ferris happier , so I ordered one. I have been writing in it for almost a month and actually I enjoy it, and I am focusing on personal growth. It’s not hard to do and it actually takes me less than five minutes. It’s gratitude/affirmation/reflection journal. The question that gets me thinking and is actually making a difference is, “How could I have made today even better?”
So there you have it! Please comment and give us all your tips on staying focused and productive.