Getting Back in the Zone
“Not a day goes by where I never lose focus," …said no one ever. You probably fall victim to those days where no matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, you just can't seem to find focus. You start to see that innocent moments spent on your smartphone to check your email quickly turns into a text, which turns into checking your Facebook notifications and, before you know it, you’re SnapChatting, playing a few (hundred) rounds of Angry Birds or [insert smartphone app of your choice here].
I have those days on a regular basis. Sometimes after working for several hours, I feel as though I have nothing to show for it.
Today, you’re going to receive some examples of practices that work like a charm in getting me back in the zone. These tips will be your go-to when it's time to get back to optimal focus and production.
Create a dedicated space
A designated area of space in your house or office that is only meant for creativity, work, reading or whatever it may be that needs to be completed is key. Nothing else is permitted in that space but that one task. For example, the only time that I surf YouTube videos is on my tablet in the living room. YouTube is now one less distraction that I have to worry about. The tablet doesn't leave the coffee table, and that coffee table doesn't leave the house. Picking up what I'm putting down?
Take one down and knock it out
If you have more than a few tasks at hand, an efficient way to knock them out is to try and find ways of working them simultaneously. Now, try doing the opposite. Prioritize the list and work on the task that needs the most work first.
Take those 20 different tabs that you have open in your browser and bookmark them. If it isn't helping you focus and complete your current task at hand, it can wait. If it really was that important, you’ll have it at hand in your Favorites.
You will get the urge to look up that image or item on google. It will only take a second, right? Probably not, and down the rabbit hole you go. Just write it down on a sticky note or piece of paper and check it out when you are in that dedicated space to do so.
Stay in control
When you get the urge to go and do something other than what you should be doing, take that opportunity to sit back, take a deep breath and say to yourself, "Ha! Nice try". Take note of that feeling and smile at it. Can’t get one past you!
Set a time limit
Since we all need breaks, take some time out and give yourself one. As simple as that. However, make sure that there is a deadline: 5-10 minutes is usually the sweet spot.
These pointers have all been beneficial for my clients, for my mentors and for me. Give one or two of them a shot this week. Record your results so that you can go back and assess the process. As I’ve mentioned before and will continue to mention, if you're not assessing, then you're guessing.
"Obstacles can't stop you. Problems can't stop you...only YOU can stop you." -Jeffrey Gotimer