So here it is, Day Two and truth be told, I already feel like “You don’t want to do the stuff on your list, do it later.” I know some of you may find it difficult, but it is true – staying focused – even on Day Two can be much harder than you and I thought. BUT! It must be done.
HOW TO STAY FOCUSED (When You Are Easily Distracted)
- Get an accountability partner. For those of you was a bit more cash, find a personal coach. I’ve used The Coach Connection in the past to help me find my ideal coach and the results were fantastic. NOTE: They offer “Telephone Coaching” so you never have to leave the office or house. Score! They hooked me up with Alicia Marie at People Biz (Alicia, I miss you so!) For those of you who can’t afford a coach right now (like me), I suggest finding a family member or friend who you can share your goals with and who will check in with you and see how you are doing in reaching those goals.
- Make a goal chain. This is something you can do with your kids too – and it will teach them how to set a goal, stay focused and reach it. The idea is really simple. Identify one (1) multi-step goal you want to accomplish. Write down all the steps to get there on a sheet of paper – make sure you don’t forget anything. Then, just like making paper chains at Christmas time, write each step on a strip of paper and link them together into a chain. Every time you accomplish one of the steps, remove the link in the chain. You will see your Goal Chain get shorter as you get closer to reaching your goal and it will keep you focused and inspired. This is a great tool as it helps you focus on one thing, isolate the steps and then tackle them, one by one. If you do this as a family, you can all cheer each other on as you remove links in your goal chain.
- Try hypnosis. Okay, stay with me here. This may sound a little “out there” for some of you, but I have always been intrigued by the idea of hypnosis and after purchasing my iPhone a year an a half ago, I found that indeed, there’s an app for that. There are many hypnosis apps. I started with the Deep Sleep by Andrew Johnson app. I found it kinda silly at first, but after a week I would nod off in just a few minutes and wake up more refreshed than before. I have since moved on to other apps by Andrew Johnson (I find his Scottish accent “Oh so sexy”). I have used the Procrastination app, the Positivity app, the Stress Free app, the Energy Boost app, the Relax app, and the Success app. To help stay focused I suggest using his “Success” or “Beat Procrastination” recordings. Here is a full list of all of Andrew Johnson’s hypnosis recordings.
- Self talk. “‘Cuz your good enough, your smart enough, and dog-gonne-it, people like you!” That may be a funny SNL skit you remember, but the power of self talk is a real one. Pump yourself up! Today I told myself, “I will stay focused. I will get my 3 daily tasks complete. I will stay focused.” Say whatever is going to work for you!
- Pray. You don’t have to be a weekly church-goer to tap into the power of prayer. Anyone can pray. My favorite prayer is, “Lord, I don’t have the words, so if you could just listen to my heart.” Ask for wisdom, for guidance, for determination, for focus, for strength, for joy, for courage. Ask for what you need. Be specific if you can. “Lord, I need focus right now to accomplish my goals today.” or “Lord, help me find the determination and courage and strength within myself to stay focused and accomplish my goals.” (insert your specific goals for “my goals”) Prayer is a powerful thing, and for some, self talk may seem silly, but prayer seems appropriate, for others the converse may be true. Find what works and resonates with you.
- Visualize. Visualization is a very powerful tool, especially if you are a right-brained person, but equally effective for left brain folks too. To effectively visualize anything you need to “see” the following things, “What does it look like?” This could mean, what does your dream car or house, or job look like? What does staying focused look like? What does reaching your goals look like? “What does it feel like?” How do you feel when you drive that car, walk into that house, stay focused, or reach your goals? Be as detailed and specific as possible. If possible you can create a “Visualization Board”. Paste pictures of “feelings” and the “goals” you have in mind. Look at it often. Daily is best. Take a moment to just think about what reaching that goal will look like and feel like for you.
- Meditate. So you think self talk, prayer and visualization aren’t really your cup of tea. Try meditation. Set aside a few minutes to breath slowly. Relax your body. Clear your mind. Just Be. Once your mind is clear, you can keep it that way, or you can think about the things you want to stay focused on and accomplish. Just spend time with yourself in deep reflection or with your mind completely blank. You don’t have to do this long. You’ll figure out the time frame that works best for you. Now, don’t get hung up on perfection here. There is no right or wrong way. Just do it.
- Don’t get hung up on perfection. This is a BIG deal for a lot of us. We think we have to do everything perfectly. Well, let me tell you, I’ve learned the hard way that “perfection” is just an excuse to procrastinate. “I can’t get my finances in order, because I don’t have a filing cabinet.” or “I can’t do x, y or z because I don’t have 1, 2 or 3.” Just make do. The important part is staying focused and getting started. The details will work themselves out and you will be amazed at your own ingenuity to come up with a solution when you are really trying to accomplish something.
- Journal. Start a blog, (make it private if you don’t want to share with the world), get a notebook, or open up your favorite word processing program. It doesn’t matter. Just find a means to get your thoughts on paper. It doesn’t have to be perfect. No getting hung up on perfection, remember? Only you are going to read it (unless you are a freak like me and decide to put it on a public blog for the world to see). Write about what you want to do, what you want to accomplish, how you might do that, how you feel about it. What has been keeping you from being successful in the past. (We are our own biggest obstacle for our success.) You can write about anything. Just write. Part of your writing can be lists, but journaling, is not list making. We’ve all made lists and we all lose them or don’t stick to them or look at them and get overwhelmed. This is about expression. Express yourself.
- Eat a frog (aka “just do it”). This is the lesson our parents tried to teach most of us, I think. “Sorry son, you don’t want to take out the trash? Tough luck. Grab the trash and walk it outside. Just do it and get it over with.” Some people call this “eating frogs”, from Brian Tracy’s book Eat That Frog! 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done In Less Time. It’s the crap you don’t want to do, but has to be done. Eat 1, 2 or 3 frogs a day, but don’t let them all start piling up like the plague – because all those “frogs” will be the death of you.
So, now that we both are equipped with ten different tools to stay focused (or to beat procrastination) which tools do you think you will use today? Today, I’m all about eating frogs, visualization and self talk. Looking at my list, I don’t want to clean my office and don’t want to do invoicing, but alas, they must be done, so I will pump myself up, think about how nice and organized my office will be when I’m done, how productive I’ll be able to be and how great it will be to walk into a neat and tidy office. I will tell myself, “You can do this. You are the Martha Stewart of office cleaning.” and I will grit my teeth and get started (and hopefully finish). Regarding invoicing, the same applies, instead I’m going to think about all the stress that will be lifted off my shoulders once I see that number in the receivables column and know that there is money headed my way.
MY PERSONAL DAY TWO REVIEW
BRAIN DUMP (in no particular order or importance)
- Invoicing (I need get caught up on billing my clients
- Clean my office
- Tour the Middle School where #1 Son will attend next year. (I had to pull him out of the very best private school today, as my financial situation prevents me from keeping him enrolled there)
- Make a list of all my debt and figure out a plan to get back on my feet.
- Laundry / Kitchen
- Get a tri-board for #2 Son for his end-of-year project
- Find 1 inexpensive summer program for each child that lasts one week and get them enrolled
- Pay water bill
- Pay electric bill
- Get haircuts for both boys
HERE ARE MY THREE ITEMS TO TACKLE ON DAY TWO
Set Appointment to tour middle school
- Meeting scheduled for 2:00 p.m. today.
- Laundry / Kitchen
- Wash, dry, fold and put away 2 loads
- Load/Unload dishwasher
What do you do to stay focused, beat procrastination or the feeling of being overwhelmed to accomplish your goals? If we are going to be successful, we need to do this together!
SLEEP PLAN STATUS
Because proper sleep is so important to our overall health, well-being and ability to perform, I have developed a Sleep Plan and also started tracking my sleep. My goal is to get 8 hours a night and an average of at least 8 hours as well.Date: 5/22/12 Went to bed: 11:58 pm Woke Up: 6:13 am Total Sleep: 6hrs 14 minutes Average Total Sleep: 5hrs 6 min (tracked over 31 nights)