Episode #39: How to Keep Focused During the Day
I have my family home from work and school, and it’s really hard to stay focused. I keep getting sidetracked by inspirational YouTube videos or my Facebook feed. Does this sound like you too? A visual reminder of my priorities helps me refocus my attention on my work, so I share three questions (and a bonus!) to help you center yourself again.
I wrote down these 3 questions on my whiteboard to help me stay on track:
- Is what you’re doing in the next hour highly productive for you?
- Is it your next, necessary required action?
- Are you just keeping busy?
I can get easily distracted by researching a product or ordering something on Amazon. Maybe I’ll think of an inspirational video that I want to post, and then find myself lost in my Facebook feed. These things seem productive, but they can often lead to distractions for me. I share an easy way to stop your distracted thinking, but also leave time for productive work.
Weigh the truly productive work with the things you just fill up your day doing. We don’t have as much bandwidth as we did before. And if we’re really open and honest with ourselves, we may not have as many hours to work as we did before.
These three questions (and the bonus!), help us to realign our actions with our goals. I’m encouraging you to do these things to keep yourself focused, not to beat yourself up. We are all working under extraordinary circumstances, so the weekly call to action should help you gently correct your actions.
Your Call to Action: Write these questions down and place them where you can see them daily.
- Is what you’re doing in the next hour highly productive for you?
- Is it my next, necessary required action?
- Am I just keeping busy?
- What am I procrastinating on? ……… Just do it.
Hello and welcome to episode number thirty-nine of the Strategy Corner, where our goal is to get you to take action. I’m your host, Michel Zink, the owner of Intentional Solutions Corp. Today’s strategy is how to keep focused during the day. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve mentioned other podcasts the last couple of weeks that I have my daughter home from school. I’ve got my husband home from work. I mean, he’s still working, but he’s here. And so my days are totally different. Before I had a really not easy time, but I had an easier time staying focused. But now, with all the interruptions from my daughter coming down and asking questions, it’s really hard for me to keep focused. And it’s really easy for me to want to seek pleasure, like seek pleasure through looking on Facebook. I don’t know why, but we think it makes us feel good. It brings up endorphins or watching a video on YouTube that’s inspirational or getting lost in a podcast. All of these things take us off our focus and take us off from what we should be creating or shall I say, what we want to create in our day and thus make us not accomplish the things that we want to. So on a daily basis, I’m trying to think about how to keep focused during the day.
Well, during the last couple of weeks, I’ve also done some reviews on some books that I really liked and the one that came up for me that had a lot of great information and a lot of great insights was Straight Line Leadership by Dusan Djukich. Now, I know I’m saying his last name wrong, but I did do a podcast and a book review on Straight Line Leadership and it was brought back up to me from a coach that I was working with who mentioned about going straight lined. And it was brought up because I had a question about a client and she was reminding me that going straight lined is the best way to go. And so because of this, she reminded me that this book had so much insight that I should go back and review it. So I opened the book up and I looked at all of the highlighted areas and notes that I put in the book. And I came up with three questions that I then wrote on my whiteboard that I look at every day throughout the day to make sure I’m staying focused. So here are the three questions that I wrote. Number one is what you’re doing and the next hour, highly productive for you. Now, for me, this is a big question, because again, I could easily get distracted by emails. I can easily get distracted by going on Facebook to post a YouTube video and then scrolling through and looking at other people’s posts. I could easily be distracted and think I’m doing things that are productive, like researching a product, ordering something on Amazon. These things that seem to be very productive, but in actuality are not productive for me and what I want to create in my business. So this question is what you’re doing in the next hour highly productive for you, really important. And I’ll give you an example.
Last week, I was had some things scheduled where I had some things I wanted to research. I do U.S., which is the entrepreneur operating system. And there was a program that someone had mentioned on a blog post or a podcast that I listened to that was in relation to EOS that I wanted to research. And when I looked up and saw it was on my calendar to do it in the next hour when I looked up and saw this question of is what you’re doing in the next hour highly productive for you? I realized, well, yes, it would be great for me to research this thing on EOS, but really there was someone that I wanted to reach out to. There is someone I want to call and connect with. And I realized that I want to connect and to grow my business. And to do that, I need to connect and reach out to people and make those connections. So I realized that being highly productive the next hour wasn’t about researching this topic that I heard about, but was slowing down and calling the individual that I’ve been thinking about. So you didn’t think about yourself and realize and catch yourself where you’re thinking you’re being productive, but in actuality you’re not. And they go back to that list to podcast ago. I did a podcast about creating clarity. Go back to that list that you created about what’s most important for you and make sure that your hours are highly productive.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you don’t give yourself a break and say, you know, from three to four, I’m just going to veg out. I’m going to look on Instagram to look up Facebook, no problem. But just schedule it that way. You could do it. You don’t feel guilty about it. And you can also get the work done that’s most productive for you during the day. The second question I have that I look at is, is it your next necessary, required action? So, again, there might be something that you have on your schedule for today. But when you look at the whole schedule, you realize like, I would rather do this at the end of the day because my next necessary, required action is really to tape this YouTube video, is really to go and make sure my daughter is taken care of. So just look up and look at your questions and ask yourself, when you’re about to move on to something else, is it your next necessary, required action? Or do you need to move some things around in your day to make sure that you do that thing first and then the next thing? And then the next question I think of all is are you just keeping busy? So again, what you’re looking at things you can look at it from a perspective of your calendar, what you ready have scheduled. You can ask yourself as you’re moving on to the next thing. And I just trying to keep busy. Right. Do I want to just do this thing because it’s fun? Oh, I’d love to go on.
And maybe research some desk chairs, but is it just keeping busy or is it something that’s going to be highly productive for myself? Now, what I think is these questions are more important right now, especially because the realization is we don’t have as much bandwidth as we did before. The realization is our focus is less because of all of the outside news, because of what’s really going on. And if we’re really open and honest with ourselves, maybe our work day isn’t as full as it used to be meaning before you could possibly have a full eight hours to work. Whereas now the reality might only be for you, maybe you have four hours that you can really work on the day. So you need to really make sure that those four hours are being productive and not just focused on keeping busy. And this is where you have to be open and honest with yourself, because I ask myself these three questions and then I also ask myself, what am I procrastinating on?
Now, this one’s been really interesting because if you don’t ask yourself this question, you don’t really realize what you’re procrastinating on. And so I’ve added this also onto my whiteboard. So it says, just do the things I’m procrastinating on. So I added that on like just do the things I’m procrastinating on. So what I’m feeling stuck feeling like, what’s the next move? I ask myself, what am I procrastinating on? And I just do that thing. So, again, have these things written down on a whiteboard. Maybe on a piece of paper next to you every day so that you can keep looking at it and just making sure that you’re staying on track. Again, if the result you want during this COVID-19 and during this crisis and really during any part of your life is to create, build and grow, then you need to have a plan and you need to have, I’ve been calling it lately, like boundaries. I’ve been calling it guideposts. So I kind of envision like if you’re going bowling and you have those guides on the side. If let’s say you’re you know, you’re younger, you’re playing with your child, you have those guides that come up so this way they don’t fall over into the gutter. I feel like having these questions written down on a whiteboard or written down next to me are like guideposts for when I go bowling. So this way I know what to keep myself on track. I can catch myself a little bit quicker and notice what I am going off track because even though I have all of these strategies that I utilize in my life, I still get sucked into watching a YouTube video going on Facebook. I mean, this is just reality, but I also have these things around me to catch me. So maybe I’m only fifteen minutes on Facebook, not two hours, because I look down and realize, oh, no, is what I’m doing the both highly productive thing for me right now. No. Is this next this action that I’m taking the next best step for me right now? No. Am I just keep myself busy? Yes. What am I procrastinating on? OK. Let’s do that right now. So I get myself back on track.
So your call to action is to write these questions down and to keep them by your computer on a whiteboard so that you can review them during the day and make sure that you don’t fall off the rails and that you stay focused. So here they are. I initially thought three questions, but I’m going with four because I think these will serve you better. So number one that you’re going to write down is is what I am doing in the next hour highly productive for me?
I’m gonna read that one more time is what I’m doing in the next hour highly productive for me? Number two, is it my next necessary, required action? Number two. Is it my next necessary, required action? Number three. Am I just keeping busy? Number three, am I just keeping busy?
And then the bonus question number four. What am I procrastinating on? Number four. What am I procrastinating on? And then after you write that down, put dot, dot, dot and put, just do it. So when you come down to the end, you realize that you’re procrastinating on certain things. Just go ahead do those things right away. Get those things off your mind so that you’re clear and you’re fresh and can move on with the rest of your day. And remember, we do this not to beat ourselves up, but to just keep us focused. Because we’re humans. We’re people. Things distract us. We need to make sure that we have things in our life that help us stick on track. Stay on track. And with these questions, I know for a fact they will help you to keep focused during your day.
So until next time, please go on to i-Tunes, Stitcher, Google Play and subscribe to the Strategy Corner. You can also leave a view on i-Tunes, that would be amazing. And then you can also go to my website, IntentionalSolutionsCorps.com, and sign up to get my weekly blog post, which also has a link to the latest podcast.
Until next time, remember: through action and growth, progression happens. Let’s take action together. Thank you so much for listening and create an amazing week.