You have a giant project due today and the time blocked to get the work done. The problem is your brain is everywhere else but on the task in front of you.
The pressure feels like the walls of your office are closing in on you, but you can’t get focused to do the work. What’s going on?
Here are the top three reasons you can’t focus and LEGIT ways to work through them:
Procrastination is not doing the things you know you need to do when you need to do it.
Know yourself to fight procrastination.
It’s the first step to reclaiming your focus. If you’re finding it hard to resist temptation, make a note of how procrastination is affecting your life.
For example, did you rush through Sunday dinner so you could get back to the project that you put off until the last minute? Next time you’re tempted to scroll social media, instead of hitting your word count, think about your family gathered around the table without you.
The second step in your war against procrastination is to choose your environment.
Ask yourself these questions.
Finally, you must take the time to project plan. If you can’t visualize the path to finish that urgent project, your heart is more likely to lead you to procrastination.
Another thief of focus is when you lose your passion.
Think back to when you were a child and when you fell in LOVE with a sport or activity. For me, it was writing. I spent last weekend cleaning out my office and the number of journals I’ve accumulated over the years filled an entire box.
The thread of writing is stitched through my life but my love for it has waxed and waned. I’ve come to terms with that being OK.
If you are having trouble focusing because you just aren’t feeling the love for what you are doing right now you have a few options.
There's no avoiding our last culprit, distraction.
At the mere mention of the word SQUIRREL, my dog excited looks around the room or runs to the nearest window. Just like that dog from UP.
You are just as conditioned to the bells and notifications that break into your stream of consciousness. Layer on top of that kids and loved ones barging into your office, or the rat race of every form of media to get a piece of your attention 24/7. Finally, there are those internal distractions that I’ve talked about before here and here.
Distractions are everywhere. Attacking your focus from all angles. Let’s develop a plan for those external distractions.
The obvious first step is to turn off or silence the notifications from your devices when it’s time to focus. If you want to take this one step further, try installing a website blocker on your computer. It’s like setting parental controls for your focus.
Next, make an interruption schedule.
What is that? I shared this over on the GRAM.
It’s basically letting your loved ones (or anyone else that may interrupt your focus) your schedule for the day.
Here’s an example: “Kids, I’m excited to have lunch with you guys when you get home from school! I have to be at my desk at 1:30 and work without interruptions until 3 pm. Unless someone is bleeding or the house is on fire, I’m off-limits. After that, I’m all yours for homework questions or maybe we can take the dog for a walk.”
Notice, how you’re giving them clear instructions on when they will have your attention and when you need to be left alone to work. This employs the rule of reciprocation (give and take).
Of course, it won’t work with toddlers and babies. You’re still a slave to the nap schedule for a few more years. The good news is we can tweak it to work for pretty much anyone past kindergarten.
Still a doubter? Comment with your situation below and I’ll take a stab at it for ya.
You don't have to chose between your personal and professional life. Here's my secret weapon for getting the family chaos to calm.