When life interrupts you…

Ask Warren Buffet or Bill Gates what the most important trait is for success, and they’ll tell you “focus.”

You hear that. It totally makes sense. You think, “Of course. Do one thing at a time and really focus.” And then the phone rings. Or someone texts you. Or you get that overwhelming urge to check your email.

The focus was there, then it was gone in the blink of an eye.

Here are five prompts to help you stay focused.

  1. Make sure the task you’re working on is what you really want to be working on. If you’ve tried again and again to do something and consistently get pulled off focus, it’s time to make a critical decision: Either stick with this and make it happen. Or take it out of your plans. When you stop working on a project, it doesn’t mean it will never happen. Just move it to a “Someday List.” It will still be there if you start to miss it!
  2. Set a schedule to get your work started and completed. And then stick to the schedule. If you’re trying something new, start with baby steps in short intervals. “I’m going to write a novel, but for today, I’m just going to work on the outline for a half-hour.” My experience is that when your work comes right from the heart, that you’ll do the half-hour and then bargain with yourself to work a little longer if you’re fun.
  3. Envision the big picture – What will this project look like when you’re finished? This gives you an energy bump to get started. And it gives you something to reflect on and picture when the world conspires to pull you off course.
  4. Think about the obstacles you may run into and come up with a workaround. “When I start to write and the phone rings, I won’t answer it; I’ll call them back.” Having a plan in place helps you resist the urge to react to outside interruptions.
  5. Find a good place to work. Where do you do your best work? Alone? In a coffee shop? In silence? With music playing? Choose a spot with the best potential to help you stay focused. In On Writing, Stephen King reminds us that sometimes you have to close the door to get your work done. You’re not being rude. You’re getting work done! How about that for a sign to hang on the door?

Sending you good vibes for a focused, productive day!

My focus yesterday was on rocks. Can you see the faces emerging? Cool 🙂

Want to see other posts on this blog? There’s a small link below to the left that will take you to the most recent post. Or check out the column on the right to see what other folks are reading. Try the “search” box at the top of the page if you’re looking for something specific. I welcome your thoughts and suggestions for future posts!



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