In this time of COVID and working from home, people have gone back and forth between feeling clear and really focused, to not so clear and a little bit overwhelmed.
Today's podcast episode of the She’s Hungry Podcast is all about focused action. How are we going to gain clarity and competence with focused action? Especially as a multi passionate entrepreneur, I feel super passionate about this. So let’s talk about productivity!
How I stay focused
I am a multi passionate, multifaceted entrepreneur. I have my photography business, I run this podcast, I have a podcast course and I do one on one coaching. And now I'm putting together a group coaching program. At any given time, I am really confident in the fact that I have all of these projects at a good place, I feel really good about them. And a lot of people ask me frequently, how do you do that? How do you stay focused? How do you keep up the momentum? How do you wrap your mindset around recommitting every day, to showing up and doing these things? Essentially, it comes down to a couple of these key points that I wanted to talk about in this episode.
Book out all of your creative time
The first tip is booking out all of your creative time, or all of your time that is not scheduled for meetings, or anything that involves other people. Not because it's the end all be all to your success everyday, but it gives you the best opportunity to show up with the best of yourself to the things that you need to get done. So if you get off track, no worries. You just renegotiate your time and recommit to the next priority at hand. One priority or one task at a time.
It's important to map out a clear plan on how you're going to execute your tasks, because distractions are opportunists and they will pop up where you let them. How often do we find ourselves mid scroll? And then we're like “fuck, I've been on Pinterest or Instagram for 45 minutes, and I'm wasting my time”. So good news is that you can pull yourself out of that, when you realise in that moment.
It doesn't have to be a negative thing! You have a fallback plan for what at any given time you committed to be working on at that moment. That means that you're still building that muscle through the consistency of choosing what you want, instead of the distraction that your mind tricks you into thinking that you need.
Hard focus tasks first
The next point that I want to talk about is committing to your hard focus tasks first. Your energy and your attention and your commitment will waver as the day goes on. So commit to your most involved task at hand first, because your ability to avoid and resist distractions will diminish as the day goes on. This is the classic 3pm slump where you start to get a little bit tired, and it’s getting more difficult to complete tasks.
As the day goes on, you're maximising your excuse zone. What I like to call the excuse zone is the moment that you decided you committed to doing a thing. For example when you committed to going to the gym at 1 pm, which was actually at nine o'clock in the morning. By the time you get to that time at one o'clock in the afternoon where you're supposed to go to the gym, you have maximized your excuse zone. And if the gym is something that you already struggle to stay committed to, that excuse zone is critical for staying committed and actually following through on the thing.
If you know that there is a project that is going to take a lot of commitment, extra willpower or focus to tackle, you need to tackle it first thing in the morning. Because you are going to increase your excuse sown, and increase the odds equally that you are not going to do it. And then you're actually going to decrease on your energy levels that are going to counteract your commitment to doing it as well. Again, it's that 3 pm slump when you're like “wow, I'm actually really tired. You know, I won't be as I won't be as tired tomorrow. I'll go to the gym tomorrow”.
Make progress visible
And then to the third point, you want to make progress visible. We love the idea of a to do list and we love the idea of crossing things off of it. It's this high. It's this act of thinking that we're making progress. But this is the reason that to do lists actually backfire.
They backfire because we often propagate to do lists with whole processes, and not the individual tasks that need to be done to complete the full process. There's a lot of tasks that go into completing a full process. And we don't write out the individual tasks, we write out the full process and then we think, “okay, there's only six things on my to do list”. But it's going to take hours of actually batching out those tasks one task at a time, in order to create that process and fulfil that process as a whole.
Write down the actual tasks on your to do list, so you can check those off one at a time, and you can actually see the progress. My best advice is to keep track in the best way that works for you. Post milestones somewhere you can see them often. Progress is not about outcomes. Progress is about getting up every day and following through, and recommitting to being a better you than you were yesterday.
I'm super passionate about committing to yourself and recommitting to yourself. When you can commit to yourself and who you are, and when your goals are coming from an internal place within you, you can accomplish anything. You feel unstoppable.