People ask me all the time how I handle so many clients with ease. Here are the top 5 ways that I keep myself in check and on track.
1. Most people, including myself, get distracted with BSO’s or bright shiny objects. Put yourself in a space with the least distractions. Try closing the door, turning off your music and the tv, put up a do not disturb sign on the door and, if you’re working on your computer, make sure that there are no open windows that you don’t need for the task at hand. When no one is watching you, that little devil on your should may say, “it’s ok, go ahead and check Facebook. It’s just for a second.” Next thing you know, you’re replying to birthdays, looking up old high school buddies and joining a world peace organization. Don’t do it! You can do that later. Be aware of yourself.
2. Use a calendar for everything. I mean everything! If you talk with someone and there is something that you need to get to them or do for them, put the task in your calendar right away. Block out a little more than the amount of time that you realistically think the task will take to complete. This will set you up to win if it takes a little longer. If you don’t get it done in the time allotted, then grab the calendar to schedule the completion. It helps me immensely by also putting in a “by when” date on every project even when there is no need for one. Your network of people will greatly appreciate your reliability and the fact that you kept your word.
3. Take a break. This is going to sound so strange and nonproductive, but if you have been up to your neck with a project, whether a book or anything else intensive, make sure that you take regular breaks Go for a walk, meditate, eat, do anything but that project for 30 mins. I promise it’s good for you and your productivity.
4. Lose the archenemy, perfectionism. Does this sound like you?
•you tend to procrastinate
•when learning new things, you tend to give up easily because you’re not that good at it
•when you look at your work or the work of others you tend to notice the little imperfections first instead of admiring the good work of the overall picture
•others often tell you you are difficult to please
•you are always looking for the opinions of others and changing your project constantly
•you finish the job to your original high standards, but it is almost always late
Putting off projects because they don’t meet the unattainable criteria that you’ve set up is not only selling yourself short, but hurting you: physically, mentally and emotionally. The immense stress that is induced from being late, being unreliable and not allowing yourself to truly shine. Add “good enough” to your vocabulary and quick. The feeling that you have after getting it done on time will do more for your confidence then doing it “perfect”. Your “perfect” may not be others “perfect” anyway.
5. Do your most laborious and intensive projects in the morning. This one comes as a surprise to everyone. Psychology today released this article about being easily distracted and why it’s hard to maintain focus these days. It says to “do your deeper thinking work in the morning while you still have the ability to control your attention.” They found that as the day goes on your mental energy and ability to remain focused is less and less. The less brain intensive work can be done later on in the day when you don’t need so much mental energy. So leave Facebook, online shopping and those less important emails to the afternoon or evening.
If you’re not used to scheduling and staying on target, you may fall into your old routines. Know that it’s okay and it happens but be self aware enough to notice when it’s happening. That’s what will make a huge difference in your ability to focus and get s%$t done. Like Dr. Phil says, you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.
Now go get ‘er done!