It is quite challenging nowadays when it comes to working on the Internet.
… and much more.
We almost get buried from irrelevant activities that slow things down within our project. Simply, they are distractions to our work.
Often, we find ourselves escaping from our projects, and going into the listed activities above. At the end of the day, we wonder why nothing gets done.
There are not only energy suckers, but also time wasters.
That’s why I’d like to give you different ways to get more focused at your work so that you can get the most out of your available time:
1. Make your work more enjoyable – nothing works better and keeps you focused when you do what you LOVE.
If there’s something you do not like, we immediately go into an “escape mode,” doing irrelevant activities.
Work only on activities you like. You want to do things that are interesting to you in terms of learning new things, improving your skills and expanding your perspective. The “ugly stuff” gets outsourced.
2. Eliminate distracting programs in your computer – sometimes we like to work with an opened email. When a new message comes in, we get notified by the software immediately.
You may want to turn off all automatic alerts from cell phones, especially when you receive an email or a phone call.
When you work, it is a good practice to shut down all the programs that are not necessary to get the task done.
3. Comfortable chair – when we sit on the computer all day long, and if our posture is not aligned properly, we can are distracting ourselves by moving around, can’t sit down at one place for long time, etc.
First, the chair is important. Get a nice chair with a back. It has to be able to cover all your back, allowing straight posture.
Your spine has to be straight on the chair. It is important for the chair to support your entire back.
There are some specifically designed “office chairs” you can get from Office Depot, Wal-Mart, etc.
Posture is everything. The way your muscles align on the chair, determine the amount of energy you are going to need to get the job done.
4. Blocks of time – I’ve mentioned this many times. When you work on tasks, activities and routines, you want to work on 50-60 minutes of uninterrupted time.
What’s the best time of the day where you are NOT interrupted by other people, circumstances, etc.?
15 minutes is not enough, you need at least 50-60 minutes. Do not exceed more than 60 minutes of working straight.
After 60 minutes of focused work, if you do not stop, all the energy you are usually burning is going to melt twice as fast.
This leads to the 5th way:
5. Take constant breaks – it is fascinating how many people do not like to take breaks, because they are so absorbed by their work.
Breaks are designed to recharge your brain capacity. When you go to swim in a pool, you can’t swim for 3 hours straight. We get tired.
It is the same concept when you get involved with a “knowledge work.”
Breaks are just as important as the work.
6. Keep your eye on the biggest outcome – we all have big outcomes and small goals.
Small goals have short-term consequences, but the long ones have long-term consequences.
Often, we get easily sidetracked from our long-term goals, getting involved in multiple projects, starting irrelevant tasks, etc.
If you start one project or one website, stick to it, until it is complete.
Unless you have others to help you out, you do not want to get involved with creating different websites and tapping into multiple niches.
7. To do and not to do lists – at the end of the night, write out the important things you should do for tomorrow on a “to do list,” and prepare a “not to do list” for the things you should neglect.
This is very helpful in order to distinguish the important versus the urgent.
8. Look for a process – most people get involved in tasks or activities that are unknown to them with respect to a bigger picture.
When we work on certain pieces of a project, but we do not know the entire process, we are going to be spinning our wheels.
There’s an order to everything. One task should be related to another. When both activities get combined, they create a structure.
A project consists of multiple structures from which sub-structures emerge. Then, there are individual components like tasks. When you link together those tasks, you get sub-structures.
Here are all the pieces of any process:
1) A project (consists of multiple structures)
2) Structures (consists of multiple sub-structures)
3) Sub-structures (consists of multiple tasks)
4) Tasks (individual activities)
This breakdown is important to remember when it comes to finding the process. The process should combine all tasks to form sub-structures.
The sum of all sub-structures should form a structure, and the sum of all structures should create the entire project.
Project = Entire website
Structure = Your product (let’s say it is a DVD training course)
Sub-structure = Your offer to promote that product
Task/Activity = Driving traffic from Google Adwords (via PPC) advertising to that offer
As you see, there can be many different tasks that can be linked together to facilitate the process, and create a sub-structure.
The sub-structure in this scenario is your offer, so we can get multiple activities that are going to help promoting that product.
Driving traffic, adding testimonials to the offer, copy-writing techniques to improve the offer, etc., are all activities or ELEMENTS of that particular sub-structure.
Know the entire process or mechanism of your project in order to get a certain job done. Instead of jumping from one activity to the next, you want to choose activities strategically that are going to lead you to the desired outcome.
9. Dealing with repetitive tasks – inevitably, we are going to have tasks that are boring and repetitive.
If we do not know how to deal with them, we get busy doing irrelevant things (checking emails, social media stats, etc.) to fulfill that need to do something DIFFERENT.
That’s why when we get bored doing the same things over and over again, we distract ourselves with things that are not important to us.
We need different “flavors” to engage us enough in getting things done.
Choose the time of the day when you are alert the most and can work at your best.
You want to do series of activities that are of repetitive nature when you are fresh and there isn’t much going on in your mind. For some folks, the best time for this is in the morning, for others is after a long break throughout the day. Whatever is more convenient to you…
That’s why eliminating them at a faster pace is critical, otherwise you’ll get bored.
10. Stop doing the insignificant stuff first – if you start checking emails, browsing through social media profiles and other irrelevant activities from your project, you may want to stop doing that. As soon as you catch yourself, stop!
That’s because usually the first thing you start, determines your entire day.
It is almost impossible to stay on top of things, and get focused, if we start our day unproductively.
If you find yourself checking emails in the morning, take out a sheet of paper and write down 100 times:
“I am not going to check my email in the morning.”
When I was in college that was a very nice technique to get my hands dirty, and prepare myself for exams.
I would write down as many times as I can on a piece of paper the things that I would want to accomplish in order to INTEGRATE them into my subconscious mind.
When I was a kid, some of my teachers were making me write down things I did not have to do, and it worked! :-] It is a form of punishment.