We all have times when we find it difficult to focus. It’s easy to let our minds wander, but if we used this as an excuse every day we would never get anything done or reach our goals! So this is a crucial week for you to focus on. Increasing your attention span will fundamentally help you become better organized. You’ll find you get things done faster and with fewer errors if you focus all of your thoughts and energy on one single task at a time.
4 Goals For This Week:
1. Make it a habit to write and follow lists. Each night before bed, make a list of everything you want to do or need to do the next day. You’ll be able to rest peacefully knowing you have a plan for the next day and you’ll be able to start your day with direction and purpose. Use the list to stay on task. If your mind starts to wander come back to the list to remember what you are trying to accomplish.
2. Eliminate distractions as much as possible. Turn off email notifications, put your phone on silent and close the door. Set a limit for when you will answer e-mail or return calls so you are not continually distracted by them. If you are interrupted, take a minute to get to reach a good stopping point so you can pick right up when you return. For example, if someone drops in on you say “Give me a minute and I will be right with you,” and finish your thought or make a note for yourself about where to pick up when you return.
3. Set a timer. If you have a task you need to complete, set a goal of how many minutes you will focus on the task and then set a timer. Work diligently until the time goes off. If you’re not done when the timer rings, you can reset the timer or stop for the day and come back to the task tomorrow. This may take some practice but you will get better and better.
4. Declutter. Clutter is a major distraction. If you are having trouble concentrating in a space, remove the clutter and organize it (find a home for everything) so the clutter doesn’t return.
* When you feel your focus slipping, give yourself a goal, such as five more minutes, five more tasks, five more math problems, to help you finish. It’s easier to stay on task and finish something when you know the end is in sight.
One of the many benefits of working with a professional organizer is that a professional can help you get back on track when you lose focus. My clients often lose focus when we are organizing. Maybe they would rather chat, maybe they are running out of steam or they are just plain bored with the task at hand. But as an organizer, I am there to help them (or sometimes make them) stay focused until we reach our goal. In the end they are always happy they stuck with the project because the rewards of finishing something you start are really amazing!
* I share more tips and resources on how to increase your ability to focus in my upcoming book: Organize Now! Think and Live Clutter Free: A Week-by-Week Action Plan for a Happier, Healthier Life.