3 Tips to Keep You Focused and Productive

I have seen it happen a million times. You are trucking along, and things are going well. Business is booming and you have a full day of great tasks and the daily grind doesn’t seem like such a grind.

But then, somewhere, somehow, things get out of hand.

Maybe you have a client doing a product launch, or entering their busiest time of the year.

Maybe it’s summertime and your family life is adding pressure with their demands.

Maybe you are stepping up your own marketing and trying to fit it in to your daily routine.

Whatever the reason, you wake up in the morning tired, you run all day long, and you drop into bed at night knowing that the next day will look much like today did. And you are tired…

Ack! What to do?

Well the first thing to do is identify that this is an existing issue for you.

The second is to get focused and productive.

Here are a few tips for you.

1. Step back and take a look at what you are doing through the day. If you aren’t writing every thing down, then you must start. It’s about identifying what is taking up your time, and then identifying how you can increase your productivity.

2. Identify how you are working – are you planning each part of your day, or are you running to keep up? Sometimes it’s not the workload that is the issue, but it’s how you are managing it. Look at the patterns you are creating. If you are not blocking time in your calendar – clear stop and start times for each block of time – then you might not be maximizing your work time.

3. How focused are you? Make notes during the day of what is distracting you from your task at hand. It’s easy to brush off distraction if you aren’t aware of it. Sometimes tasks take longer than they should, simply because you allow things to take your focus away from it. Identify what could be interrupting you and slowing you down.

Looking at how the day flows is really important to streamline your productivity.

Focus is essential in order to remain on the task at hand, so you can complete it in a timely fashion.

Blocking your tasks into groups of time can be a very effective way to plan and track what you are doing on a daily basis. This doesn’t mean that you need to schedule the minutia of your day, but if you block 45 minutes to work on Client A’s work, then make sure you are doing that. It’s solid billable time, and then you can move on to something else knowing that Client A’s work is done.

Too often I see people trying to multitask and getting less done efficiently as a result.

Minimizing distractions is also very important. In this age of instant communication, things like Skype, IM, email, social media, and cell phones all distract us, whether we know it or not. I just recently attended a conference and they told us that on average, individuals check their phones 1500 times a week. A week! Talk about distraction.

I just recently downloaded an app called Checky to monitor my phone checks. I also have the Calm app on my phone, to slow me down and relax and refocus me when things get busy. Both of those things help me to keep my level of activity (and stress!) in check!

Maybe you think this isn’t a problem for you because you aren’t full with client work. But let me ask you this – what IS filling your days right now?

The time to develop great habits of getting focused and productive is when you are not running around like a crazy person. Then when the busy times come (and they do!) you are better prepared to handle them.

Thing about it – you are doing some excellent networking and marketing. Suddenly you get three new clients. Wham. You are busy, and you are unprepared.