In this busy world it is easy to get distracted and spend your days on meaningless activities without taking significant steps toward your goals. Before you know it, time has slipped by, and you are no closer to success.
Here are six tips to help you keep focused and accomplish your tasks.
Have a Warmup Routine
For things that you do regularly, like sitting down to business everyday, it can be helpful to have a warmup routine. Many times the warmup routine is built into the activity, like turning on the computer as you start the work day or putting on your running shoes before going jogging. Or checking Facebook before you start to surf the web (Just kidding! This is a bad idea!).
Your warmup activities help you get into the right frame of mind for the task ahead. During the warmup routine your mind will be busy thinking about what you need to accomplish that day, and what you need to do first. By the time your warmup routine is finished, your mind will be brimming with ideas and you will be eager to get started.
Write Down Your Intention
Write down the specific activity that you want to accomplish. If you keep a to-do list it can be an item on your list. Otherwise, find a place on your computer or a scrap of paper to write down what you will work on right now.
Writing down your intention helps to focus your mind on what you are trying to do, and helps to keep you on track.
Do Your Research
Some activities can’t be started without first doing some research. For example, if you don’t know how to add a particular widget to your website, you can’t get started until you research how to do it.
It can help to write down the question that you need to answer before you get started, so that if you wander off topic you can remind yourself what you were looking for.
Don’t fall into the trap of over-researching. Realize that researching isn’t the same as actually getting something done. Set a limit so that you don’t spend all your time on research. Your limit can be the amount of time you spend, or the number of articles you will read or videos you will watch.
When you reach your limit, honestly assess whether you are ready to begin. Is there a specific question you still need to answer? If so, allow yourself another research session to answer that question.
But if you just feel uncertain, realize the uncertainty comes because you haven’t done the task yet, and get yourself started.
Start First, Be Ready Later
Sit down and get started. Take that first small step. Take another step. Sometimes you may take a series of steps that lead in all different directions before settling into your groove and really making progress.
Hold yourself to the task as you take those first uncertain steps. Breaking away at this point would be the same as giving up. Once things are really flowing you can let up and take breaks if necessary.
Don’t be afraid to try several approaches. For example, when writing, it can be helpful to just start getting thoughts down on paper, even if they don’t lead in the right direction. Eventually your mind settles in on a good approach, and off you go.
Take Breaks When Stuck
Once the ideas start flowing, if you find yourself to be stuck on a problem, take a break. But not just any type of break. Take a break to do something physical and mindless, like walk down the hall or get a cup of coffee. Don’t just surf the internet or read your mail.
Breaking away from your desk and doing a physical task gives your mind a chance to mull things over in the background. Often you will find yourself hurrying back to take action on an idea that you had.
When you have accomplished your task, take note. Stand up and stretch for a moment, and smile at your completed piece of work. Wrap it up, put it where it belongs, and briefly enjoy the moment. I find that if I stop and do this step my days have more meaning, instead of blurring together.
With this set of ideas you should have some powerful tools to help you get things done. What will you focus on today?