Productivity

lack of focus

Choose What You Focus On Wisely

maintain focus

Life can be very stressful for any number of reasons. Some of them are self-inflicted, while others are out of your control.

Regardless of why life is stressful for you, you need to be able to block it out when it’s time to get to work, otherwise you’re going to be pulled away from the projects you need to do in order to make money.

One type of burden that has appeared much more often recently is now known as “doom-scrolling,” which refers to the act of continuously scrolling through bad news even though it has a negative impact on you mentally.

You might go to just check the top headlines on any news site, and just continuously scroll through looking at all the bad news you can, which ends up making you more stressed and upset.

This is one of the more self-inflicted burdens. Much like being addicted to social media, people have found themselves addicted to reading the most upsetting headlines constantly, which just ends up being bad for them.

If this type of behavior is inhibiting you from working well, you need to tune out from the news for a little while and focus on work, especially during hours that you should be working.

There are tons of burdens which are either out of your control or only partially in your control, such as marriage problems and concerns with friends, which can also negatively affect you in work.

You have to understand that there is a time to work on these problems, which is outside of work. If your job stresses productivity as most jobs do, you’re not going to fare very well if you’re constantly distracted by problems outside of work.

Wait until you’re on your own time to deal with these types of issues. There are a few different reasons as to why these types of issues should be dealt with on your own time.

For one, they can make you stressed out and have you on edge, which can negatively affect your work performance in many ways.

You can end up being more intimidating to clients and co-workers if the perceive you to be stressed out, and you can also end up working much slower if you’re distracted, leading you to have much worse performance.

If you’re getting poor performance reviews and losing clients due to being stressed out, you’re going to be adding on more stress to what you already have, due to the financial problems that come along with lower bonuses and less clients at work. It is difficult, but you have to leave the problems you have at home behind when you go to work.

Remember that you choose what you focus on so choose wisely. These decisions can have a significant impact on the direction of your life so learn to make wise decisions.

One way to do this is to study decision making and there is a great book that can help you do just that. It is called Mental Models and I have done a quick review of the book below.

Mental Models Book Review

how to stay focused

If you’re like most people, you can often make decisions based on the wrong input. The information that you get can fools you into thinking that you must handle something when it doesn’t need to be handled at the moment.

In the book, Mental Models, the author shares valuable lessons ranging from how to make better decisions to how to approach those decisions. Readers will also learn how to handle problem solving when the need arises.

The book opens with a chapter on decision making. The first part teaches readers the importance of focusing on the things that are important, rather than things that are urgent.

When something is important, this is what your true priority is. The author explains that important things are what will help you to achieve your goals. These are necessities and require action, but they won’t come across as urgent things to deal with.

You’ll discover that urgent matters can sometimes masquerade as important but aren’t. These are things that you think you must take care of right away but it’s not true. Usually, these urgent matters come up as a result of other people acting like the matter is urgent.

Or you can prioritize a matter as urgent when you want to put off doing something else – something you should be doing. The author shares the “Eisenhower Matrix” with readers.

This is a system that divides tasks into important and unimportant. Then it takes those tasks and further divides them according to what’s urgent and what’s not. The system teaches you what you need to do right now, what tasks you should plan to do, what someone else can handle and what you can ignore completely.

Another chapter shares with readers the importance of being able to correctly see. This part talks about using the brain’s second system. This system is where slow and deliberate choices are made, unlike in system one of the brain, which often makes decisions without thinking things through.

You’ll learn how to know if your perspective is correct when you’re solving problems. This same area of the book also shares how you can understand your own issues or faults and how you can learn to check those.

An interesting chapter in the book focuses on avoiding things and how doing this can actually help you to succeed. The information shared in this chapter goes against the most common advice you might have heard.

For example, one directive is on avoiding to-do lists. Another part tells readers to avoid dealing with direct goals. While this advice is contrary to some popular advice, the information in the book is solid and can help you learn to improve your decision making.

If you want to become a powerful decision maker, his book is a great place to start. Check out Mental Models here.

As you can appreciate, all of this decision making and maintaining focus can take a lot of self-discipline and a positive attitude. If you don’t have this, you will probably struggle to maintain any focus and creativity, so it is well worth your while to adopt the correct mindset; I know this may sound a little cliched, but it does really work.

If you want to develop more self-discipline, click on the featured resource below to get a free report, The Power Of Self-Discipline; download, read it and take action 😊

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Maintain Focus

Master Time Management Techniques To Help Maintain Focus

Time Management

Time and stress are always closely tied together. Most of your stress will likely come from you being worried about not finishing your work on time, and that same stress will likely delay you even further, which ends up becoming a vicious cycle that leaves you stressed out and without much work done.

It can be frustrating for you, your co-workers, and your clients. To avoid all of this, you need to master some proper time management skills in order to give yourself enough time to get your projects done easily, and to avoid a scenario in which you’re overly stressed out.

When you’re stressed out because you don’t feel like you have enough time to complete a project, the logical thing to do would be to get to work. However, that rarely ends up being the case.

Chances are, if you’re stressed out about work, you’ll find ways to distract yourself so that you feel better in the mere short term, while in the long term you’re going to be making things much worse for yourself.

There are all kinds of excuses that you’ll see yourself come up with. You might claim that you’re distracting yourself to be more creative for a bit or to get yourself feeling better so that you can then work more efficiently.

Even if that’s true, chances are high that you’re going to be spending more time than you’re saving, leading to you having even less time to actually complete your project. With time management skills, you can avoid this situation altogether, because it’s difficult to get out of once you’re in it.

Plan

Time Management Tips

First, you can carefully plan out your project’s schedule and how long it’s going to take you to do it. Don’t cut corners at this stage – you need to be completely honest. If you claim that a part of your work will only take 30 minutes, because that’s the fastest you can do it, don’t count on that.

If there’s a chance it’ll take you two hours, budget for that to take you two hours. If you end up taking less time, that’s great. However, if you do take up that much time, you’ll have already accounted for it, so you won’t be playing catch-up.

You need to also cut out any time distractions to see how much of your time is being spent on things that aren’t work. You’d be surprised how quickly time can fly when you’re watching shows online or scrolling through social media. That time could be better spent getting ahead in your work or catching up if that’s what you need to do.

And it’s not just time distractions that you need to be aware of! There are so many things that will try to divide your attention and stop you from staying focused and being creative.

It takes a lot of discipline to try to ignore these distractions, but you do need to try to set boundaries. The question is “How?”

Set Strong Boundaries For Dealing With Interruptions

Time Management Techniques

No matter how hard you may try to avoid it, you’re going to be put in situations where you’re working and getting constantly interrupted. It can happen in many places, whether it be at work with other co-workers, somewhere with friends, or at home with your family.

It can be frustrating, or it can take you off track, so you need to learn how to deal with these interruptions properly so that you keep up with your work while also being civil with others.

For example, let’s say that you’re working at home writing up some documents on your laptop. Your kids might come in and start talking to you or make loud noises in the background again and again.

What you shouldn’t do is get mad at them, but rather you should tell them to be quiet during certain times of the day or interact with them every so often so that they’re less prone to interrupting you later on.

The situation with your family can depend on age as well. Toddlers won’t understand very easily that you need to focus on work, so try and patiently work with them to not come in so often, or try and play with them a bit more when you can so that they feel like they’re seeing you enough.

With older kids they can be a bit more understanding, so you should be able to explain it to them, and with teens they probably want to be in their own rooms anyway. When it comes to coworkers, you don’t want to seem like a complete stick in the mud, but you also have to be able to focus on the work you’re there to do.

Ask them nicely to talk later when you’re not working, and if that doesn’t work, get a little sterner. They of all people should hopefully understand that you need work, and if they’re still preventing you from doing your work, you might have to take the problem to someone above you instead of dealing with it personally.

Finally, you have friends that can be distracting. They might badger you into going out and hanging out with them, or prod you about working too much, but you should be able to tell them that you have to work, and you’ll just have to organize some time to hang out later.

It’s a difficult balancing act, but you should be able to still enjoy the time you have with your friends and family without sacrificing your work.

As you can appreciate, all of this can take a lot of self-discipline and a positive attitude. If you don’t have this, you will probably struggle to manage your time and distractions, so it is well worth your while to adopt the correct mindset; I know this may sound a little cliched but it does really work.

If you want to develop self-discipline, click on the featured resource below to get a free report, The Power Of Self-Discipline; download, read it and take action 😊

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energize

How To Energize Your Life

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Do you struggle to make it through the day? Do you constantly feel tired and worn out? If you do, you will know that it can be incredibly frustrating to have no energy.

The simple fact is that you must have energy to enjoy and profit from anything you do in life.

Some people seem to have an abundance of energy to do anything, while others struggle with every little task they face. There are ways to increase your personal energy and become a vibrant and successful person.

It’s been said that we’re living right now in the worst energy crisis of all time – the crisis of personal energy. We’re more stressed and pulled in more directions than we’ve ever been and the fast pace we’re expected to meet is depleting our energy levels at an alarming rate.

Managing your personal energy has never been more critical. Doctors say that the number one complaint of their patients is, “I have no energy.”

There can be a number of reasons that a persona may be suffering from lack of energy, but most of the time it has nothing whatsoever to do with a medical condition, but you should at least get checked out first to rule this out.

Chronic fatigue is often linked to circumstances such as a difficult or abusive relationship, lack of passion or being a caregiver to a parent or child.

Rather than deal with lack of energy by prescribing drugs, doctors are now more likely to suggest some tools that will help to restore energy levels and help the person enjoy their lives more and this is a good move; drugs are not the answer as they tend to just treat the symptoms and not the real underlying cause.

Here are some tools designed specially to increase your personal energy levels:

  • Do what you’re passionate about. Passion is one of the greatest energy restorers available. You may not be passionate about everything you do, but find something that makes you happy.
  • Take care of yourself. Give yourself breaks when needed. Most people today think they have to keep going long after their energy levels are depleted. Taking care of yourself will help to keep your energy levels high.
  • Know your emotions. Your thoughts drive your emotions and some emotions can wear us out. When you think positive thoughts, you’re naturally going to have positive emotions and that is a natural energy booster.
  • Let your values determine your lifestyle. If you don’t live according to your values and react and perform out of guilt and shame, your energy will wane rapidly.
  • Take responsibility for your life. You, and only you, can make the choices that determine whether you will be successful or always floundering just on the precipice of success. Make wise choices when it comes to your wellbeing.

To enjoy a happy and vibrant energy level and shift from lack of energy to an abundance of energy, you must tap into the powers that only you hold – to love yourself enough to take care of yourself.

Keeping energy levels high all the time may not always be feasible so how do you get your replenish energy levels quickly? Let’s look at that now…

How To Recover Your Energy Quickly

how to energize yourself

Restoring your energy after it feels depleted doesn’t require magic.

Sometimes, a hot cup of herbal tea will do the job. Other times, it may take some rest to bring your body from feeling like you have nothing left to the point where you feel vitality and inner strength again.

There are some strategies involved in giving your body what it needs to recover its strength and rebound to a point of well-being. They are:

  • It may sound counter-productive but moving can actually help you connect with your body. Movements such as stretching, yoga movements and poses and a walk can help restore your energy. Moving is especially helpful when you’ve spent hours at a desk or focusing on something intensive.
  • Your body should tell you when it needs rest. Rather than pushing yourself to go on until you fall down, get the rest you need. Your body will appreciate it and your energy will be restored.
  • When you’re still and go within yourself, you experience a new energy that you didn’t have before. Try to find quiet spaces and times during the day to just be still and meditate about peaceful and restful things.
  • Guard your time. Everyone has the same amount of time, but how we use it varies from person to person. Some give it away without thinking, while others always schedule time to take care of themselves. Watch how you spend your time and guard it carefully.
  • Take some time to feel your breath as you take one after the other. Inhale and exhale until your entire body feels the power and life that it’s providing your body and mind.
  • Make the world a better place. It may be as a parent, teacher, manager or friend, but take some time in your busy life to appreciate your experiences for what they are. They will all teach you something and help you grow.
  • Take care of your body. Through diet, exercise and other ways, nourish your body so that your choices can help your energy restore itself.
  • Take part in what inspires you. Your desires usually indicate what your passion is, and your passion can ignite your energy. The truth is in what you’re thinking of most of the time and what you are excited about.

Rather than do things and be around people who drain you, stay away from that and nourish the things and people who make you feel alive and more energetic.

If you’re exhausted from a day’s work, treat yourself kindly, get rest and feel compassion for yourself.

Another benefit of having good energy levels is that you will become more productive so let’s now take a look at managing your energy levels and increasing your productivity.

How To Effectively Manage Your Energy And Increase Productivity

energize your life

More and more, people are realizing the importance of managing your energy level rather than you time to increase productivity. There are many things and tasks that can zap your energy levels and make you much less productive than you could be.

You may also experience low energy levels during certain times of the day and should either take a break during those times or schedule non-important tasks.

If you find that certain people, tasks or times of the day are taking a toll on your energy, it’s time to assess what those problems are and do something about them. It’s about managing your energy effectively rather than your time.

Energy levels are different from person to person. If you’re a morning person who is at the top of their game at the first crack of dawn, you should schedule the more difficult, mind-boggling tasks at that time. Others, who are night owls, should plan their schedules the opposite.

Some other ways to effectively manage you energy to get more done include:

  • Delegate – Some people have difficulty with delegating tasks to others. If the kids can help fold towels or there’s a good writer in your business that could develop a sales page – delegate those tasks to them. You’ll be saving the energy you would have spent on something that can clearly be completed by someone else.
  • Track your tasks – There are some great online tools (such as Google Tasks) that can help you track where your time and energy is being spent. You can break the larger tasks into smaller increments; do the most difficult ones when your energy level is high and mundane tasks when your energy level is lowest.
  • Get rid of distractions – Distractions can be huge energy-drainers. If you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and other social media sites, you may find yourself wondering where the time has gone after you’ve spent an hour on one of these sites. Disconnect to save your energy and get more done. Stop alerts and hide the sites until you have some relaxing time to devote to them.
  • Refresher breaks – Some of us can spend hours at our work desks without looking up or moving around. At the end of one of these sessions, you’ll notice that your energy is drained and you don’t have much left for anyone or anything else. The remedy is to take refresher breaks – get up and stretch and move around for a few minutes. Your productivity will likely increase.

Getting in sync with your natural energy rhythms can help in so many areas of your life. Work, personal life and health are just a few of the ways that managing your energy can make you a happier and more productive person.

By the way, if you want a convenient, downloadable version of this post, click on the featured resource below; download, read it and take action 🙂

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Stay Motivated

Using Time Blocking To Stay Motivated

Time Blocking

We are all guilty of suffering from a lack of motivation in our lives!

Am I right? Of course I am. This is just human nature and with all the distractions of modern living, it can be harder than ever to remain motivated and focused.

What happens when we push our brain to keep thinking, focusing and creating hour after hour? It shuts down. It goes on strike. It says “I’m outa here, buddy”.

This is especially true when we keep requiring it to focus on the same task for hours at a time.

Neuroscience now tells us that changing tasks regularly, taking consistent breaks and blocking out our time keeps our brain more engaged when it is working so that we actually get more done in less time.

So, let’s look at blocking time.

This is not a new concept. But it’s one we don’t use often enough to maintain our enthusiasm and focus, not to mention our mental and emotional health.

Blocking time is a way to schedule your work hours in a way that sets up a dedicated time to a particular task. And then, when that time is up, you switch to a new task.

But why you may ask, is this important to performance and productivity?

  • Keeps your brain from getting bored (aka, low motivation)
  • Mentally prepares you for the tasks ahead
  • Lowers stress because you see work getting done
  • Ensures no multitasking occurs
  • Improves self-confidence in your ability to succeed

So, how should you go about blocking your time? Usually, it’s recommended to work in 2–3-hour work chunks at a time, while allowing a short 5–10-minute break every 30-45 minutes.

  1. Decide how you will block your time. There are many ways to do this, including various apps and email calendars. Google Calendar is a great way to get started because it’s easy to use and readily available.
  2. Chose the date and time for your task. Remember to keep it to 2-3 hrs if possible
  3. Decide where you will complete the task.
  4. Include any details you need to remember before performing the task in the memo area. This will make it faster to get started when you get to that time block. No searching for the sticky note you wrote the directions on.
  5. Set reminders so you know when it’s time to switch tasks. You can get a reminder via email, pop-up or app notifications.

If 2-3 hours seems a long time to focus on a particular task, then you can use smaller chunks.

The Pomodoro technique uses time chunks of only 25 minutes, each followed by a 5-minute break. After 4 of these chunks, you should take a 15-minute break.

If you a little more information about the Pomodoro technique, you can read this blog post

Using time blocks keeps your motivation high for all the reasons stated above, and also because it allows you to use several of your skill sets each day. It breaks up the monotony of doing the same task all day long.

When working on tasks, you should also schedule breaks you’re your routine.

Why, you ask? Well, let’s look at a scientific reason now…

3 Reasons Science Tells Us To Take Breaks

Stay Motivated

Too busy to take a break? That’s a common thought in our fast-paced world.

We are a society with consistently too many things on our collective plate.

But science tells us that we need to make taking regular breaks a priority to maintain inspiration and productivity.

Advances in neuroscience have proven that we need breaks as well as focused work time, as some cultures have known and practiced for millennia.

Why We Need To Take Breaks

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There are a number of reasons why it is important to take scheduled breaks, and we will cover just 3 of them in this article.

It makes perfect sense to stop every now and again as if we don’t, we will get tired and lose focus.

This causes us to become frustrated and becomes a negative feedback loop, so it is important to take a break.

Let’s look at 3 big reasons to stop…

Make Connections And Retain Information

Motivation

Our brain has two modes of operation. The focus mode, which is where we spend most of our day, concentrating on tasks and challenges as they arise.

The other mode is just as important, though often underappreciated – the diffuse mode. This is the state of daydreaming or letting our mind wander. You may have experienced the benefits of this mode when you are doing something mundane on autopilot.

For example, you may have an ah-ha moment about a solution to a problem that you’ve been trying to solve while you are driving someplace familiar or taking a shower. This diffuse mode is when most of our insights and out-of-the-box thinking happens.

Re-Evaluate Our Goals

Mindset

When we stay focused on a task or problem constantly, we can easily become caught up in all the little details instead of questioning if we are completing the right tasks in the best order and way.

The devil may be in the details, but we need breaks to gain perspective on how our work is advancing and if there are more productive or effective ways to reach the same or even better results.

Stepping out of work mode for even just a few minutes is enough time to help us re-evaluate our goals and the way we are going about achieving them.

Keep Us Engaged And Motivated

Time Blocking

Our brains weren’t meant to stay in focused mode all the time, even though we think they should sometimes.

Neuroscientists have found that taking short breaks on a regular basis is a more effective way to work, even though that might seem counterintuitive.

Breaks give our brains a rest from constant focus so that they can “regroup” if you will. When we take breaks throughout the day when working on tasks that take a lot of concentration or take a longer period of time to complete, we actually are more productive and motivated when we are working on the task than if we worked straight through.

As you probably already know, having a strong mindset is critical to any attempt to plan and stay focused, so click on the featured resource below to get a free report on how to develop a strong mindset. Download, it read and take action 😊

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How To Be More Efficient

How To Be More Efficient

How To Be More Efficient

You hear all the time that you or your company needs to be more efficient. But do you know how to accomplish that?

And with more people working at home, efficiency and productivity are the name of the game at the moment.

There are many distractions around you, both in the workplace and especially at home so you really need to stay focused to remain efficient and get your tasks done.

Efficiency seems like a word that is thrown at as the end-all be-all answer to problems within an organization.

However, without a proper plan, the likely result will be confusion and chaos, and this could potentially have the opposite effect! So, you need to plan out how you and/or your employees can become more efficient

The following ‘efficiency hacks’ can help you when you are given the initiative to be more efficient.

Learning

How To Be More Efficient At Work

Always be on the lookout for how to improve your job or your teams’ jobs.

This often requires learning new skills. The more you learn, the easier it will be to find alternative methods that work better.

As an entrepreneur, you should always be looking to increase your skills, especially your marketing skills.

Anyone who wants to be successful in life should be constantly learning.

Organization

How To Be More Productive

If your office environment is cluttered and there is no sense of organization, it can impact the productivity of the entire group.

There are professionals who can assess your current situation and make recommendations on how to improve the environment.

This can include such aspects as desk clutter, filing, and even ergonomic issues and proper placement of fixtures or furniture.

Automation

How To Be More Productive At Home

When you find ways to automate, this frees up your staff to work on more important tasks.

Mundane tasks that eat away the time of your staff are the best candidates for automation. It is possible to go overboard with automation which can cause slowdowns when the automation processes fail.

There are many types of software that can automate tasks and this is useful to a business and invaluable to an entrepreneur (particularly a solopreneur)

Try to determine the best tasks to automate without overdoing it.

Delegate

How To Be More Efficient

If you are micromanaging the work of your team, you won’t have time to handle your own tasks.

Your team won’t respect the fact that you are doing tasks that they should be doing. You hired them for a reason. Let them get their jobs done. It’s okay for them to come to you when they get stuck.

But you should guide them rather than simply doing everything for them.

Outsource

How To Be More Efficient At Work

With corporate cutbacks, delegating may not be easy to accomplish.

Companies are expecting their employees to do more with less. But managers still need to get their work done. In such cases, it may be worthwhile to consider outsourcing some of the tasks of your team.

The benefits of outsourcing are that it does not increase the company’s headcount. And as a solopreneur, you can outsource content and product creation and then you can concentrate on the marketing.

If you want to know more about outsourcing, you can download a really useful free report here.

Time Management

How To Be More Productive

If you and your team are not managing your time efficiently, you are going to find it hard to move the company forward.

The team will constantly be missing deadlines and playing catch up. This makes the group look bad and causes undue stress on the team.

The likely result will be high turnover at times when team members are needed the most.

If you are working from home, especially if you are an entrepreneur, you can employ the Pomodoro technique. If you want to know about this, check out this post here.

Time Management And Efficiency Go Hand-In-Hand

How To Be More Productive At Home

If you want to know the best time management system available, the answer is, choose one. This may seem like a cop-out to you. But it’s like a gym membership. What is the most expensive gym membership available? The one you never use.

Time management systems are going to have similar traits from one to the next. Whether one is better than the other is largely dependent on who is trying to get you to use theirs. If you find a time management system, give it a shot and see if it is right for you.

The key is to find one. That is going to be one of the main components of increasing your efficiency. If you read about a particular system, implement it for a couple of months and see how it goes.

But and this is crucial, keep going. The worst time management system is not having one. You will be spinning your wheels if you go this route.

Time management is going to take discipline and habit, especially if you haven’t been doing it. You need to get started, and you continue using it. If you are one that believes habits form in 28 days, then use your system for 28 days.

Just make sure you have something in place that allows you to evaluate that system. Hopefully, you will be experiencing higher productivity during that period.

Don’t get discouraged if you stop using your system. Maybe it isn’t the right one for you. Find another one. Ask colleagues and friends for suggestions. Just make sure you “get back on the horse.”

Once your time management system is habitual and useful, there will be no stopping your progress.

When you discover a time management system that works for you, become an advocate. You can help others and, in the process, help yourself. If you and your team are operating more efficiently through the use of proper time management, your company becomes a bit more efficient as a result.

Who knows, your team may become the model for the company. Stranger things have happened.

One outcome that is highly likely is your team will get recognition. You will get your tasks done faster and will be able to take on more than you were able to before.

You and your team will prove to your management that you are capable of taking on bigger and better tasks. It’s all possible with the help of time management.

Want to learn more about increasing efficiency and productivity? Then check out the featured resource below to grab a free report; download, read it and take action 😊

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overwhelmed

Are You Overwhelmed And Lacking Focus?

lack of focus

If you’re a creative type, then you’ve likely encountered a situation where you have a ton of ideas and you keep thinking up new ones, only to eventually get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of them to the degree that you never put any of them into practice. A lack of focus can be a creativity killer!

This isn’t uncommon at all. Many people who let their creativity run unchecked can get overwhelmed when it’s time to sit down and focus. One of the solutions you can try is only allowing yourself a certain amount of time to just be wholly creative.

When your time’s up, you should break for a bit before looking over your ideas with focus and intent and select one of those ideas to actually develop and work on. You can go back to your other ideas later on, but for the time being, pick one and work with it to completion.

This allows you to actually make some progress and have something that’s tangible, instead of just having a collection of ideas. Ideas are certainly valuable, but if they’re never implemented and brought to fruition, they become worthless.

Even if the idea you choose doesn’t end up working out, at least you’re getting some practical application out of it, so that you’re not spending all your time just being creative.

The human mind often gets dazed and confused when being presented with too many options. It’s like when you can’t decide what you want at a restaurant, when you’re looking at a really long menu with so many choices.

You can easily evaluate and pick among ten or so items, but when you’re dealing with 30 or 40, you’ll start to quickly lose focus and not be able to make a good choice. It’s important that whatever idea you select to work on, it should be seen through to completion if possible.

If you just work on it a little bit and leave it unfinished, then it’s no better than never starting to begin with. The whole point of focusing on one of your ideas is to actually have something to show for it in the end.

If you have a half-completed project to show, then you really don’t have much at all. Don’t worry that doing this will stifle your creativity.

You’ll be able to get back to creativity as soon as you finish the project you’re working on. In fact, the break from brainstorming is like cleansing your palate – you may even come up with better ideas after a longer break filled with work.

The thing is that you need to stay focused on whatever it is you are trying to achieve and if you don’t, you’ll simply become frustrated.

Apart from overwhelm, having a poor attention will also affect the way you focus and how productive and creative you are so you definitely need to work on your attention span and that can be a major undertaking in todays modern world where everything is vying for your time and attention!

However, sometimes a poor attention span may actually become a benefit so is not always negative.

Intrigued? Let’s look a little deeper…

A Poor Attention Span Can Be A Benefit!

overwhelm

Like I said in the previous couple of paragraphs, if you have a short attention span, you’ve probably always considered it to be one of your drawbacks. It makes it difficult for you to focus and it makes working long shifts at work a real pain.

However, it does have its benefits, though they’re mostly going to help you in the long run, not in the short term. A short attention span can help you come up with greater creative ideas over time, allowing you to return to them when you have the time to dedicate to it.

Those who are more easily distracted have been shown to be more creative in a number of studies. The problem is, you’re likely not being paid to be creative all the time. You need to have time to be creative, but most of your time is likely spent doing physical work or work that’s bringing ideas to life instead of making new ideas.

In those times, a short attention span can be detrimental, because it disrupts your focus while you’re trying to actually create something that embodies the ideas you’ve come up with previously.

The workaround here is to have a system set up for quickly logging your ideas that pop into your mind so that you can return to them later, and spend time focusing on the task at hand in the present.

You could use something as simple as a little notepad with a pen. Anytime you’re working and get pulled off track by an idea, quickly jot it down and you can return to it later when you have time.

You’d be surprised at how much you continue to be distracted by ideas just because you don’t want to forget them. Once you know they’re written down and can be returned to later on, you can return to focusing on what you’re doing.

It’s beneficial to have all of these little ideas stored away, because at some point you might try to brainstorm something to work on, and you might not have anything coming to mind. Then, you can reference your notebook and use one of those little sparks of imagination to fuel a whole new project that you might’ve otherwise forgotten.

By keeping tabs on your overactive imagination like this, you retain all of those smaller sparks of creativity that can blossom into wonderful, big projects – while still working diligently to bring existing ideas to fruition.

Your subconscious mind is very powerful, and you are using this technique of jotting things down on the fly to tap into that subconscious and some of the ideas you note down could really inspire you so give it a go and see what appears!

Having any kind of focus requires a lot of self-discipline and even if you adopt the jotting technique above you will need to be disciplined to go back and do something with the ideas.

If you want to learn more about how to develop self-discipline, click on the featured resource below for a free report; download, read it and take action 😊

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Working At Home

Are You More Efficient Working From Home?

Work At Home

Working at home gives people the flexibility to be at home, while still being able to collect a paycheck. But, does working at home automatically make you get more done?

Many people dream of being able to stumble out of bed and begin their workday. They argue that since they don’t have the commute, they can start right away and essentially work during the time others would be using to commute.

The argument is that it’s less stressful not to have that commute hanging over them.

Being able to spend more time with your family is another benefit people associate with working from home. You can be home when your kids come home from school. You’ll be able to go their afterschool activities such as sports games.

People who work at home learn that it has unintended challenges associated with it. For instance, while it’s nice to be around your family, are they letting you get your work done? Are you spending too much time with your family that is taking away from your responsibilities to your job?

You need to work with your family to set up boundaries. This means you should dedicate a space like an office that you use to work. When you are in the office, your family needs to understand that interruptions are off limits, unless it’s an emergency.

You will also need to handle interruptions by neighbors that may visit. While many of your neighbors will be commuting to work, there are more people working from home today.

This increases the chances that some of your neighbors are working from home as well. It’s tempting when you see them outside, to see what they are up to, etc. It’s okay to do this once in a while, but don’t let it interrupt your job.

Job burnout can happen just as easily when working from home as it does when you commute to the office. In fact, companies may expect more of you when you work at home and your time is going to be more scrutinized.

You may end up working more hours even when you factor in the lack of commuting. Your boss may be inclined to call you up after work hours and ask you to handle some tasks.

If they do this to all employees, then you may not be able to do much to change that. However, if they are singling you out because you work at home and they believe this gives them permission to call upon you, this may be something you need to handle.

So, as you can see, there are some disadvantages to working from home too. However, if you are working from home, it pays to stick to a routine and be organized and the following tips may help.

9 Tips To Help You Stay Organized

Work From Home

Being organized should be a way of life and second nature to you.

That way it’s a habit rather than a chore. Of course it takes time and effort to create the habit in the first place but once you’ve achieved it you want to stay that way.

These nine tips will help you to stay organized every day with very little effort or fuss.

Check In

Start your day by checking your schedule and your to do list.

It may be that you’ve thought of something you need to add.

Prioritize your to do list so that you tackle the important items first.

Plan

As well as your to do list you should plan your day.

Include calls, meetings, chores and goals. You can use pen and paper, a planner (a bullet journal is ideal) or a planning app.

Don’t forget to include scheduled breaks. Make sure to include time for friends and family.

The F.A.R. Rules

The F.A.R. Rules are essential for helping you to stay organized. They apply equally to your personal life as your business.

 File it – if it’s important and needs to be kept (either in paper or electronic form) then file it immediately.

Act on it – if something needs to have action taken for example, paying a bill or making a call, then do it immediately. Then either file or recycle it.

Recycle it – whether it’s junk mail or papers and items you’ve finished with, recycle it immediately once it’s no longer needed.

These rules applies to emails as well as paperwork. By following them you can keep your inbox under control.

Digital Aids

At times technology can be a distraction but there are some items that can help you become and stay productive.

However, choose your devices and solutions with care so that you don’t create more of a problem for yourself.

You may decide that an app to monitor your health and fitness would be a good idea to keep you on track with your goals.

There are also menu planning apps, scheduling, time and project management, as well as household organization apps.

Track

To be successful with your organization skills you need to track and monitor your progress. What’s working and what’s not?

Be prepared to make changes and adjustments to how you do things.

Just because one method of organizing your closet doesn’t work for you it doesn’t mean that another won’t.

Trash It

Don’t keep things for the sake of it.

If it’s not useful or necessary, then throw it out. If you are keeping it then remember to put it away.

That way you keep your surroundings free from clutter and distractions.

Identify

Keep a track of what works for you and keep on doing it.

If something hasn’t been successful then identify what needs to be changed and do it that way the following day.

5 Minute Review

Just like you started your day, end your day with a five minute review.

Celebrate your accomplishments and cross off everything you’ve achieved from your to do list. Remove any inessential or unimportant tasks that are still remaining.

Whatever is left should be added to the next day’s list.

To Do List

Create your to do list for the following day. Include any important tasks that you didn’t complete that day and only important items that need to be done.

Try and limit your list to 10 items or less so that you don’t feel overwhelmed or end the day with a list of unaccomplished items.

Becoming and staying organized doesn’t happen overnight and it does require regular effort. However, you can stay on track by following these nine tips. You can be organized every day with a little planning, time and effort.

If you want more strategies to become more productive check out the featured resource below for a free report; download, read it and take action 🙂

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Concentration

5 Ways To Boost Your Concentration Skills

Concentration Skills

Do you lack focus and/or the ability to concentrate for extended periods of time? If you are like the vast majority of human beings, I’m sure that you answered, “Yes!”

A Microsoft study found that, on average, humans have an 8-second concentration span. And that number is probably shrinking as we speak because we’ve got used to everything being fleeting and prompt.

The modern world with the vast bank of knowledge via the Internet and 24-hour news stations, plus social media networks have made us a race of people that want everything NOW!

This lack of patience plays havoc with our ability to maintain concentration and focus on tasks for more than a very short period of time before our minds wander, and add FOMO (or the Fear Of Missing Out) into the mix and it’s a wonder that we can maintain any concentration at all!!

But no matter how much you try to shrug it off, there really is no substitute for paying attention. No matter what your environment is, your ability to get things done depends on your ability to pay attention.

Being able to concentrate can skyrocket your productivity which can be a real boon for your business (if you are a business owner) or can make you a really viable candidate for that promotion or bonus if you work for a company as it will make you stand out from your colleagues.

So, how do we even begin to develop our skills of concentration?

Well, the good news is that you can learn to focus more and focus better. All you need is to alter your mindset, take charge and apply these 5 simple tips to boost your attention span and become a master of concentration and productivity.

Prioritize Your Tasks

Improving Concentration Skills

You’re at work; you have deadlines, meetings, projects, tasks – all things that need to get done within the span of a few hours. What to do? You make a list, of course.

Many successful people swear by their lists because it has everything on it, from the most important to the things that can wait until later.

Another great tip? Write your list the night before so you’re not bombarded with many things at the start of the day. This is like stretching before a workout – it doesn’t take a lot of time, but you can’t start without it.

Many of the world’s most successful people swear by making their to do lists the night before because they can hit the ground running first thing in the morning and they will already know what their number one priority for the day is going to be.

Why not try it for yourself and see what difference it can make to your day.

Take Scheduled Breaks

Productivity

Francesco Cirillo, owner of the Cirillo Consulting firm in Berlin, devised an ingenious system that manages time by breaking it down into intervals.

For example, once you’ve started on a task, set the timer to, say, 30 minutes.

During that time, focus completely on that task. Once the timer rings, you take a 10-minute break to get some coffee or just walk around your desk for some quick exercise. Then, every 4 30-minute work intervals, you can take a longer break of 20-30 minutes.

The way this technique works is that you have to refrain from picking up your phone to check your email or social media every 5 minutes.

If you want to know more about this type of system of breaking tasks down, take a look at this post here which explains a technique known as the Pomodoro technique.

Research has proven that it takes us nearly 25 minutes to get back to our original task once we’ve been distracted, which means you’re spending the entire day just on trying to regain your focus but not really achieving it.

A smart way to avoid this when it comes to your phone is to put it on silent or stick it in a drawer to ward off temptation. An even better way to do this is to carve out half an hour at the start of the day, or in the afternoon, to get all that out of your system so that you’re not constantly thinking about it.

Declutter

Concentration

While it may seem pretty straightforward to everyone that working in a calm, organized environment boosts concentration and, hence, productivity, it may not be as easy as it sounds.

Even if your choices are limited or can’t get away with changing too much of your workspace, you can do wonders with a few add-ons here and there.

But all you need are a few basic items:

  • a desk organizer to store away whatever you’re not working on at the moment
  • a plant or two because it’s been proven that being surrounded by nature peak concentration levels and extend your attention span
  • a good source of lighting
  • a calming piece of artwork or photo
  • soft background music or sounds of nature to put you in the mood to concentrate

Stay Healthy

Concentration Skills

Most people don’t make the connection between eating right and having strong concentration and memory skills.

Studies show that foods high in trans fats and processed sugars have a negative effect on your cognitive abilities.

Enjoying a balanced diet rich in minerals and vitamins, on the other hand, boosts energy levels and gives you the mental stamina you need to concentrate on the task at hand.

Water is also very important to prevent dehydration. Staying hydrated throughout the day prevents your mind from slowing down. Exercising regularly also boosts cognitive powers and mental stamina.

Play Games

Improving Concentration Skills

There has been extensive research that shows just how much how solving crossword puzzles, problem-solving exercises and other types of mental games can improve cognitive abilities, reasoning, memory and attention spans.

It also boosts your skill and speed on tasks which have to do with memory and reasoning.

So, take a few minutes out of your day to challenge the grey matter to boost your ability to concentrate. And they can be fun too.

Want to learn more about productivity? Then, download the featured free report below, read it and take action 😊

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waste time

5 Ways You Waste Time Every Day

time management

Do you find yourself at the end of a day wondering just what you have managed to accomplish? Are you wasting valuable time each day?

If the answer is yes, check out the most common five ways you waste time every day. Be honest, do you find yourself doing any of them?

I’m sure you will be guilty of at least one of them as modern life is so full of things that can distract us from getting things done.

Many of us spend so much time being ‘busy’ but end up with nothing to show for it. Did you get your tasks for today done? No?

If that sounds a bit like you then this post will hopefully help you to become more productive each and every day by becoming aware of these distractions and time sinks and managing to avoid them to get stuff done.

You’ll also find some handy time management strategies in here too.

They can help you become more efficient and productive and be able to get the most out of your day.

Are you ready? Let’s get started…

5 Of The Biggest Timewasters Of Your Day

waste your time

Even if you’re one of the more dedicated and organized people out there, you still waste time. Whether you work from home or in the office, we’re all guilty of getting distracted and losing focus.

It may not be deliberate, and you probably don’t even realize you’re doing it until it’s too late.

Here are five ways you waste time every day. See if you can relate.

1.   Social Media/Emails/Texts

waste time

This is the big one and I can pretty much guarantee that everyone reading this post is or has been guilty of this one!

It’s become a vital part of our lives. But the world won’t stop turning if you don’t look at your social media for 15 minutes.

Another big distraction is hearing that too familiar ‘ding’ that comes with a new email or text message. It prevents you from finishing the task at hand because you keep looking at your phone every five minutes.

Picture this scenario: you’re in the middle of work when your phone beeps. You reach for your phone to see your incoming message. So, you go from message to email to Facebook to Instagram. Then, when you’re done, you notice that 20 minutes have gone by.

Research shows that each time you get distracted, even for a couple of minutes, your brain needs more than 20 minutes to refocus. Imagine how much wasted time that amounts to at the end of the day!

The Fix: Avoid randomly checking social media, emails, or texts. Instead, set up a certain time during your day for doing just that. In the meantime, turn off any notifications or mute your phone.

2.  Organizing And Preparing

time management

You’re probably wondering: how is this a time-waster?

But too often we fall down the rabbit hole of ‘organizing’ our day. Sometimes, we take too far that we actually run out of time to do any of the things on our list.

The Fix: Find an online planner and to-do-list. Then, pick one day out of the week where you plan out the whole seven days in advance.

Schedule in work-related projects, meetings, and deadlines. You can also include a workout schedule and get-togethers with friends.

3.   Multitasking

waste your time

Multitasking: another thing that we do to trick ourselves into believing we’re being productive. Yet, the sad truth is, multitasking wastes a ton of time.

It’s counter-productive when your attention is divided among several tasks at once. In other words, it’s just another form of distraction.

The Fix: It’s simple. Just put all your attention and focus on one task at a time. When you’re done, move on to the next task, and so on.

4. Checking The News

waste time

In this day and age, it seems something is happening in the news every five minutes. So, it’s easy to use the news as an excuse for procrastination. After all, we all want to be in the loop when it comes to politics, sports, and local news.

The Fix: Force yourself to stay away from checking news updates every half hour. You can use sheer self-discipline, or you can use a site blocker.

One great example is the Stay Focused Chrome app. It helps you ‘hide’ certain websites for, say, 45 minutes. Then, tell the app you want to spend 20 minutes on the so-and-so website. After the 20 minutes are done, the app will block you again until your next break.

5.  Errands And Chores

time management

The problem isn’t with the errands or chores themselves; it’s when you do them. Running errands during rush hour is one of the biggest time wasters ever!

Doing chores is another. You might be sitting at your desk, working away when you notice a dusty shelf or a cluttered drawer. So, you do the responsible thing and start dusting and decluttering.

You tell yourself that it’ll only take five minutes. Then, when you’re done cleaning the entire room/office, the day is over! And you still haven’t finished what you’re initially working on.

The Fix: Plan your errands ahead when you know there’ll be less traffic. Also, try to do your shopping when you know the stores won’t be as crowded and they’re in their least peak hours.

As for chores, set up one or two days during the week when you do all the dusting, cleaning, and decluttering. This way, even if you see catches your attention, you can push back in your mind and wait until ‘chore day’ rolls around.

A Final Note

We all get the same amount of time each day: 86,2400 seconds, 1,440 minutes, or 24 hours. It’s up to you to figure out how you’re going to spend that time. Sadly, many of us spend our days doing things that don’t really add any value to our lives—or anyone else’s for that matter.

The good news is you can train yourself to focus more and have fewer distractions. Make a conscious effort to add purpose and value to your life and follow through. You’ll soon notice you’re getting more done during your day than ever before!

OK, there are 5 ways you are wasting time every day. If you want to learn more time management strategies to make you more productive, then click on the featured resource below to download a free report that you can read at your leisure. Download, read it and take action 🙂

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procrastination

How To Beat Procrastination And Get Writing

procrastination definitionThe American author, Joseph Heller, once said, “Every writer I know has trouble writing.”

And he’s not the only one who has alluded to the difficulty of writing.

Stephen King’s quote, “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” – reinforces the same point.

Writing is hard work. It just is.

Even if you’re a good writer with a flair for the art, the act of putting pen to paper (or keyboard to screen) is almost always met with some internal resistance.

In fact, Steven Pressfield, wrote an entire book on it and called it ‘The War of Art’.

And it really is a war.

The anticipation of writing has struck fear in many a budding writer’s heart and caused them to procrastinate into eternity.

The road to publishing success is littered with the dusty skeletons of many wannabe writers who abandoned their writing halfway… and even more who never got started.

All due to procrastination.

Many fledgling writers often feel that they lack self-discipline and are inveterate procrastinators. While this may be true to some extent, it’s important to note that even the pros face similar challenges. You’re not alone.

The key to overcoming procrastination and getting your writing done will come down to you applying a few simple techniques.

1.   Make It A Habit

procrastination meaning

The importance of a daily routine cannot be overstated. You have to make writing a habit.

What does that mean?

It means you have to spend some time writing every single day. You should also aim to make it the same time daily.

For example, sitting down at the same desk at the same place, every single day at 9 AM to write.

By establishing a routine, you’ll make it easier on yourself when it comes to compliance. Your mind will be less resistant to the activity since it’s a habit.

But should you write on weekends?

Only you can answer this question. If you face immense resistance within yourself before you can write, that means the procrastination force is strong with you – and not in a good way.

It would be wise to write on weekends too, but for a shorter duration so that inertia/resistance never gets a chance to build up, and you also have more time to rest. Even 20-30 minutes of writing will do.

It’s the habit you’re focusing on. An object in motion stays in motion. An object at rest stays at rest – and procrastinates while at rest.

2.  Write In Blocks

procrastination overcome

How much you can write and how long you can write will depend on your typing/writing speed and your writing ‘stamina’. An experienced writer may be able to write for 4 hours at a go without any breaks.

A beginner writer may feel mentally drained and about to lose his/her soul after an hour. They lack writing stamina, but this can be built up gradually. Ideally, you should aim to work in 2-hour blocks.

For example, you may write from 9-11 AM and take a break for an hour and write again from 12-2 PM. In this way, you’d get 4 hours of writing done.

Depending on your writing stamina, initially you may wish to go with 30-minute writing sprints, followed by a 15-minute break and then another 30 minutes and so on. You could use a Pomodoro timer to help you.

There’s no right or wrong answer here. As long as you’re striving to build your writing stamina, you’re on the ‘write’ track. Pun fully intended.

3.  Batch Similar Tasks Together

procrastination how to overcome

Planning, researching, outlining, writing and editing are 5 DIFFERENT tasks. Never try to do them all at the same time. This will not only tire you out but is also very time-consuming and unproductive.

Batching your tasks means getting similar tasks done at once. This not only simplifies the process but helps to accelerate it while increasing your output. It’s a win-win-win situation.

For example, if your goal is to write 10 articles on gardening, your first task will be to decide what topics you’ll cover.

Then you’ll need to do your research for ALL 10 articles.

Once the research is completed, you’ll outline each article with brief points that you’d have compiled from your research.

When all that’s done, now you’re ready to start writing… and keep writing without editing.

Always remember the quote, “Write drunk. Edit sober”.

Once you’ve written all 10 articles, you can edit them individually. By batching your tasks in this way, you’ll save time and your writing process will not be a disjointed and discombobulated one.

4. Focus On Quality, Not Perfection

procrastination overcome

Avoid perfectionism at all cost. It’s not natural, and nothing is ever perfect. The goal is to aim for excellence. Write quality content that you can be proud of.

Do not focus on the quantity of the content. This is an unreliable metric to rely on.

You may notice that on some days, all you may manage is 5 pages in 2 hours. Yet, your writing for these 5 pages may be far superior than the 15 pages you wrote another day.

The point to note here is that your goal should be to just start writing and stay focused during your writing block. The amount of content you create shouldn’t matter, and setting a goal of ‘writing 20 pages a day’ is counter-productive and will stress you out.

Good writing takes time. Quality and quantity are two different metrics.

Your goal is to write content that informs and moves your readers – and you want to do so in as few words as possible. That’s real skill and a sign of good writing.

Focus on quality and forget about quantity. You’re not planting rice here.

5.  Use The Two-Minute Rule

procrastination meaning

This rule was first mentioned by author, David Allen, and it’s a very powerful technique of overcoming procrastination. It works with most activities that people tend to procrastinate. E.g. exercise, writing, studying, etc.

The rule is simple. When you’re facing a task that you don’t wish to do (like writing), you should give yourself just 2 minutes to work on it.

It’s as simple as that. 2 short minutes.

This time is short enough for it not to be overwhelming… BUT it’s also long enough to break the wall of inertia and get you moving.

Very often, you’ll notice that once you start writing for 2 minutes, you’ll carry on long after the 2 minutes are over. You just might write for the next 2 hours.

You’ll then wonder what made you hesitate for so long. It wasn’t that bad, was it?

Of course not.

You’ve just discovered a mysterious anomaly when it comes to writing… getting yourself to sit down and start is usually far more difficult than the actual act of writing.

But now, you have the key to beat Captain Procrastination of the writing universe aka you – all it takes is 2 minutes.

In conclusion, it’s important to understand that the act of writing is not as dreadful as the thought of doing it. In fact, you might actually enjoy the process and find that it unleashes your creativity and may also be cathartic.

Apply the 5 pointers in this article and you’ll put an end to procrastination and be able to write – without first checking your emails 382 times as you try to delay the inevitable.

It’s easy once you start.

“Start writing no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”

Louis L’Amour

And don’t forget to enjoy the journey along the way. So many of us are totally fixated on the end result that we forget to enjoy the personal growth and achievement that happens along the way.

If that’s you then please check out this training that will encourage you to embrace the process and enjoy the journey so you can feel fulfilled before you even reach your goals which is a real win-win situation 😊

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