These last weeks and months were quite an intense time for me. I was working on my book project, which included writing it, finding first potential customers, interacting with them, selling it to them, growing my network, talking to people, going to events, following up with people, writing a blog, promoting the book via social media and at the same time somehow organizing my upcoming road show through Germany.
It was hard for me to stay focused on one thing only. There were just too many things that had to be done at the same time. I started mixing up tasks, constantly changed priorities and had the feeling that I didn’t get anything done. I have to admit, it was a total disaster. I worked a lot but at the end of the day I felt like I didn’t achieve anything. That’s when I realized that I had to change something and started reading a couple of blogs about this stuff. I ended up using a mix of all kinds of tips and approaches out there. So here is what works best for me.
I typically start planning the upcoming day the evening before. I make a list of the things I want to do the next day and include one thing that has absolute top priority. This task is usually quite complex, takes a lot of brain power and will take many hours or even the entire day to be finished, such as writing. Then I start to organize all the other smaller tasks around it. I use these other tasks to relax my brain a little bit and do these in between or after I finished the big task.
Another thing I found out to be very helpful is getting up early and starting to work right away. As you would expect, the earlier I get up, the more tired my body feels. But surprisingly, my brain is already fully functional. It doesn’t matter if I get up at 6am or 7am. Getting things going and staying focused seemed to have become a piece of cake with this approach, compared to the hardship I experienced before.
The thing that supports getting up early and staying focused is the fact that the first thing I do after I wake up is to go in front of my laptop and start working. It’s a terrible thing, I know. But for me it’s the best way to get my stuff done and stay focused throughout the entire day. And with working I don’t mean checking e-mails, social media accounts, news or printed newspapers. I realized that this distracts my brain so much that I constantly have to think about this one post I saw, this one article I read or this one picture I saw. It seems that my brain is constantly screening for things to fool around with and get distracted by. It turned out that starting to work with a completely empty brain and keeping it almost empty for the whole day was the best way for me.
I constantly try to eliminate potential distraction throughout the day by minimizing my overall information intake. I try not to read any news, check e-mails and social media. Only after lunch do I quickly scan through my mails and my social media profiles. The best time for my entire information intake turned out to be before or after lunch. This was the time I gave my brain the chance to fool around, think about other things and get distracted.
This approach seems to have the best results for me. I’m actually using it while writing this. It makes me feel a lot better about my achievements at the end of the day and at the same time helps me to stay a lot more focused than before.
What about you? What do you do to stay focused and not get distracted?