Have you ever gotten out of bed and just had a feeling about the day? It’s a feeling that can’t be described, but in the back of your head somewhere you just know that today wasn’t going to be your day. You get yourself prepared to start working and realize that you just can’t seem to focus on anything. Noise fills your head and every thought of things you should be doing, things you could be doing, but mostly it’s the noise of things you actually want to do. Before you know it, you find yourself drifting off into daydreams, browsing pointless things on the web and being completely unproductive.
It’s an internal battle for focus that I am in daily. The battle never really stops, but it does subside for sometime. There are so many things I could do, that might be worth it. The distraction of a funny video on Facebook or getting lost in the beauty and gifs of tumblr are just a couple of enemies of focus that hold me in their clutches. How do I compete against that?
First, get serious.
Oftentimes, the very first time you lose the battle of focus sets the pattern for the entire day. If you lose one battle, then another, it could be an indication that today is not going to be in favor for your productivity. You have given the distractions too much power already. Blocking and resisting temptation is like a muscle and the more your practice it and work at it, the stronger it will become and the easier this first battle for focus and productivity will be to win. The very first temptation you have, you must resist!
Get past the starting point.
Getting started is the hardest part of the day because, for me at least, I begin thinking about all I have to do and how long it will take. Then I begin thinking of what I could do instead which then turns into what I wish I could be doing. With all this thinking, the clock has now flown by 30 minutes and I have done absolutely nothing.
The trick is to stop thinking, start doing. Once you get past the starting point, you begin to build up momentum and you actually want to keep going. Thinking about a thing has never gotten anything accomplished. Shake the distractions out of your head once you start thinking and say,”No! Get to work!” You’ll be surprised how well this can work.
Get other people involved.
If possible, I try creating tasks or goals that involve someone else. One thing I can’t stand to do more than procrastinate is to let someone down. For example, cooking dinner. I think about how much work goes into it. I have to take out the pots, pans and other dishes. I have to get out the ingredients going into the meal, cooking for 20 minutes or more, then there’s the mess to deal with. When thinking about those things, the idea of cooking doesn’t seem so great.
To power against that, one trick I do is to think of something that is stronger than the thought of not cooking, such as my family. I begin thinking that my husband has been working all day to buy food for me to just simply not cook; he’s gotta be hungry. I begin thinking about my children and how they could be at a public school if I didn’t home school them. I say to myself, “Dana Sibilsky, you know good and well they could be eating whatever mystery meat and slop they cook that the school system says is ‘fit to eat'”. If I don’t cook, what will they eat? Cereal? Frozen dinners? Absolutely not! I start cooking because then I am driven by motivation.
For you, perhaps the secret is to find something that empowers you. What drives you? What sets your heart on fire (besides pizza)? Find something that will empower you though the distractions and use that weapon to win the battle for focus each and everyday.