Top Tips To Regain Focus And Be Successful!
Working for yourself can be very difficult and sometimes very lonely!
You are responsible for your own work schedule, you aren’t surrounded by colleagues to bounce ideas off and trying to motivate yourself to do the simplest tasks can feel like the hardest thing in the world!
When you have to focus on getting work done or even getting started, it can often feel like you fall at the first hurdle!
What is Focus?
According to Dictionary.com, Focus is a central point, as of attraction, attention, or activity
Why Do People Struggle With Focus?
I can only speak from personal experience here, I truly believe lack of preparation counts for a lot when it comes to focusing on any task.
I work from home, I also have access to an office that I share with my husband (Beatz Fitness HQ) so i have a choice of spaces to work from.
When I work from home, I get distracted very easily by housework, notifications, deliveries – Once ive been interrupted, it’s hard for me to resume the task I was working on!
It’s much easier to focus when I work from the office but I don’t always have all of my stuff around me (I film a lot of videos and i have my set up at home) and that can be quite frustrating.
What can we do to help us Focus?
There are a few things that I do to help me focus and i’ve also called upon some friends in the Self Employed arena to share their tips too!
I recently read a book called The Miracle Morning (I have the audio and paperback versions) and it talks about preparing yourself for the following day, the night before.
The book talks about the importance of mindset to ensure your day starts the right way, and the things that you can do to ensure this happens: Meditation, Exercise, Journalling.
It’s a great book (written by Hal Elrod) and I would definitely recommend getting yourself a copy.
These are some of the things that I do to help me focus:
Get up before everyone else
I used to get up at 6:30am, I have two young children who are in full time school and mornings used to be really frantic!
I had no time to myself, which left me feeling tired and frazzled, my kids would pick up on that and mornings would be a big grumpy mess!
I started getting up at 6am to give myself time to have a hot drink and chill before the madness.
After reading the Miracle Morning, I now get up at 5:45am and those extra 15 minutes make a huge difference!
Set an alarm that you can’t reach over and hit snooze on (I use my Amazon Echo, that alarm is loud!) and get up as soon as it goes off!
A friend of mine gave me a print out of a One Minute Meditation that she uses when things get too much (I have this stuck on my wall behind the iMac I’m currently typing this on).
Even a minute a day can help to improve your focus, i use it as a reminder sometimes to just pause.
I find I work better with Guided Meditation, this is great if you have never meditated before and you feel like you don’t know where to start!
There are a lot of Apps out there for your phone, I use an App called Head Space which i love.
You can choose the length of the meditations (3, 5 or 10 minutes in the free version) and they start you off with a basic course to get yourself used to meditating.
Exhaustion can seriously affect your focus to do the smallest tasks – I found that this was affecting me quite badly, especially as I was going to bed late and still getting up early!
The environment in which you sleep is also really important, make sure that you remove your phone/tablet from your room (I still struggle with this on occasion), adjust the temperature so it isn’t too hot and bring a glass/bottle of water to bed with you.
The saying goes ‘You Are What You Eat’ and it’s true, if you eat crappy food, you will feel crappy!
Think back to how you feel when you eat junk food, tired, sluggish?
How do you feel when you’ve eaten a wholesome, healthy meal? Clean and light are two words I use to describe how I feel!
You may think ‘easier said than done Mel’, I’m not saying you have to completely overhaul your diet but you can implement these tips today and you will almost instantly feel better:
- Drink More Water
- Eat More Fruit and Veg
- Consume Less Sugar
- Watch Your Portion Sizes
Do you ever feel like you have so many things to do that your head is going to explode?
I used to write To Do Lists that were so long, I was overwhelmed by just looking at it!
I have the best Brain Dumping Technique ever!
Grab a couple of packs of Post It’s/Sticky Notes
Write down one task per note
Keep going until you have written everything down that you need to do
Put the notes into topic groups e.g. personal, work, study
Put them in order of urgency/priority
Make a new To Do List for each topic group
This is a great way of seeing what needs to be done and also, what can be postponed, delegated or binned!
Journalling is a little different for me, I struggle with it so I take the pressure away by allowing myself to write when I feel like it.
The Miracle Morning recommends that you journal everyday as part of your morning routine, if you feel like this would suit you, go for it!
When you write, don’t think too much about what you are writing, just let the words flow, it’s very cathartic!
Carrie Eddins (PR Specialist)
I am a big fan of writing things down, in a big note book, and then a little notebook, to help me to not get so overwhelmed!
I do get overwhelmed but for me is writing it down helps me to keep focus on what I need to do.
I do journal too, to help me get out of my own way and I do write letters to myself too which help me to process this too which sounds a bit weird but there really help!
Tiana Wilson-Buys (Business Coach)
My main tips are:
1) Use a kitchen timer to commit to working on one task for a specified amount of time
2) Decide on your 3 MITs (Most Important Tasks) for every day and commit to nail those early
3) Schedule “deep work time” at least once per week (no distractions) and
4) Schedule “quick win time” every week where you nail lots of little tasks (it helps build motivation and momentum).
5) Oh and finally, work within your personal energy and attention cycle 😉
Nicole Osborne (Personal Branding Specialist)
I have an annual board report for myself, where I list life and business goals – with some fab incentives.
I update this regularly to keep it fresh. I also use a combination of picking the 3 most important things for a morning/afternoon and am a great fan of Trello.
When I struggle with procrastination- I post on social for public accountability.
I don’t always manage to keep focus – but juggling being a working parent and running my biz keeps me motivated.
Talking of which, whenever I pay for extra childcare to get something done – my focus is amplified!
Kelly Taylor (Yoga Instructor)
I think I have spent most of life at some point unable to focus, be it at work or in my yoga. I tend to either exercise or read a motivational book, because unless I can help myself, I will not be able to help others.
There are always going to be things that stop you along the way, best thing
is to re-focus, by finding a strategy that works for you, might even help by talking to good friends, or either, someone anonymous e.g. Samaritans (great charity).
I hope that helps… sometimes I totally get absorbed into my work when I am unable to focus on something I cannot do anything about, helps be to get back on track.
Anna Kearney (Creative Director)
I use a vision board that I have as my Google homepage background so I see it every time I open a tab! Very motivating 🙂
I also make sure my end point is clear enough, SMART goals that are very clearly defined.
I would always recommend that people get specific on their goals, ‘I want a new job’ or ‘I want to be fitter’ leaves a lot of room from distraction and lack of focus.
A simple change to: ‘ My goal is to earn £60k in product design leading a team by next year’ or ‘My goal is to be able to deadlift 60kg 5 reps x 3 sets by the end of 2019’
Both of these are clear and make it easier to assess any decision or distraction and refocus:
Do I just stay at home today and do X instead?
No, even going to do 2 sets of 3 reps @ 20kgs at the gym will take me a step further to my goal.
There is no exact science and you will need to find a routine that fits your circumstances.
I do know that having a daily routine is vital for your physical health and well being and those things are vital to your success, whatever that may be!