If you work from home and/or run your own business as a mom, I bet focus is one of your biggest setbacks when it comes to tackling your to-do list! Whether it’s because you have ADHD (which, I feel like is the norm for business owners!) or you just have so much on your plate that you can’t figure out where to begin and what to focus on.
I’m right there with you! I have a long list of tips that help me, personally, to focus on what I’m working on, but here are just 5 to start off:
- Knowing what you’re doing. I feel like we could take ADHD supplements, have a clean home, do all the “productive” things, but if we don’t have some sense of direction – we’re gonna get sucked into the first thing that catches our eye.
I live by the seat of my pants, throwing spaghetti at the wall hoping it sticks. And this is exactly my downfall. The days where I have no specific tasks listed out or a specific goal I’m going after, it doesn’t matter how motivated or energized I am: I will NOT fully complete anything.
How do we fix this?
I start off by brain-dumping.
What’s worked best for me is on Sunday evenings, I brain dump every single thing in my head. It doesn’t have to have ANY direction whatsoever – we will get to that in a minute – I just need my to-do’s to have a solid landing page. I’ll use this throughout the week to pick from that list of things I should cross off.
I’ve noticed for myself that when tasks stay stuck in my head and don’t get on paper, my brain feels very foggy and unclear. It’s almost like I can physically FEEL everything weighing me down. So, being able to see it all listed out gives me a breath of fresh air and also gives me more confidence because I don’t feel like I’ll be taking away time from another thing that I’m forgetting about if I devote my time and energy to something else since it’s all of my tasks are right there staring me in the face and I can strategize my time to accomplish them.
Also, a side note to this, you might be like me and very randomly get all kinds of reminders when your head hits the pillow at night of all the things you need to do. Instead of stressing about this, I’ll plug them into the notes on my phone (side hack, you can pin notes on an iPhone for the most important ones you don’t want to lose), and go through them the next morning to add to my brain dump list.
The other step to knowing what you’re doing if you work for yourself is to start with your end goal. What is the MAIN thing you want to achieve?? I’m going to assume it’s making money.
I can go SO in depth with this, but you need to:
- Start with how much money you need to make
- Pick one money-making idea you want to dive into. Maybe you’re a photographer and need to advertise a mini session, or maybe you’re wanting to come up with a course – whatever it is, begin with the end goal. The what. Then, build up with the HOW.
Again, this would be a long video/blog if I explained all of this, but start there and then base your tasks off of how you’ll get to that end goal.
2. BITE-SIZED CHUNKS!! I get it, we want to finish the race toward our goal…right now. I, personally, can dream really big and then get impatient, so I’ll add 27 tasks to my Tuesday morning thinking I can build a castle in a single day. I’ve painfully realized that this is only going to cause overwhelm and make us feel incompetent and defeated. It’s also going to cause us to be even more distracted because when our brains see a long list of things, we instantly begin to get exhausted and we want to give ourselves a dopamine hit by finding something more pleasurable.
So, after you’ve figured out your end goal and come up with a plan, pick just THREE tasks for you to do that day. THREE!! I know. You’re thinking, “but how will anything ever get done?” Ask yourself this instead: “Is anything getting done now?” I don’t think so or you wouldn’t be reading this right now, haha. (Right there with you – I get it).
And when you’re able to accomplish those 3 tasks, you’re going to feel a lot more confident and motivated to accomplish the next 3 tasks the next day. You have to believe that small steps are still going to get you to your goal, you’re still going to be in momentum, and they’re going to get you there a lot faster than hopping here and there, back and forth along the pathway thinking you’re getting somewhere when you’re actually just jumping around in circles. Remember that even if the needle is moving slowly, it’s still moving! And it’s moving in the right direction.
3. Both turning my notifications off my phone AND putting my phone in another room! This is a must. If I see a notification pop up, I’ll be tempted to open my phone and harmlessly check one app while I’m at it. Next thing I know, an hour goes by completely wasted because I got sucked in watching videos on the 20 different shades of colors an orangutan can be. No, the phone also has to be in another room because even if a notification doesn’t pop up, I’ll still try to pick up my phone. And get sucked in.
Along with that, whenever you pick up your phone, ask yourself, “is what I’m doing right now getting me to where I want to be?” Because EVERYTHING we’re choosing to do is taking up space, time, and energy, and if it isn’t contributing to our future, we need to be intentional on making the decision to not do it.
4. This might sound a little woo woo, but go into Spotify or whatever music app you use and search for focusing music. The specific one I use is called 40hz 6hz gamma waves for focus, concentration, memory. When you turn it on, it SOUNDS woo woo, but boy does it help! I can’t listen to anything with words or anything that has a beat because my brain then tries to keep up with it and I lose track of what I’m doing. Everything just becomes too noisy for me – the music, the words, the thoughts in my head. I’ll feel like I’m in the school cafeteria in elementary school, know what I’m saying? But this type of music zens my brain down, kinda quiets the thoughts in my head, and isn’t something that my brain feels it needs to compete with.
5. Time-blocking and strategically setting an alarm. If I sit too long, my brain will start to drift off, so it’s crucial for me to make sure I get up and walk every now and then, especially going outside! If I go outside for a few minutes and come back in, I feel like I restart my hard drive like a computer, haha, and I’m able to get centered in my work again. I totally recommend a Pomodoro timer! I’d seen it recommend a thousand times and finally got one – this is mine and it’s just 15 bucks: My Pomodoro Timer (make sure when picking a color you pay attention to the minutes it allows – you want one with 30-60 minutes available!)
You first pick a task and then just flip to the amount of time you want to work for (the most recommended time is 25-30 minutes) and when it goes off you get up and take a 5 minute break (I flip my timer to 5 minutes so I don’t lose track) to walk around, scroll your phone, wash a few dishes, plug in some receipts to your Fetch Rewards App to earn gift cards (use the code 4TKE61 and click this link to get 2,000 points to start off with!), etc., and come back and repeat the process. After 4 of these “sessions”, you can take a longer break.
This helps your brain to know that you will be rewarded soon with a break if you can just focus on the task in front of you for 30 minutes without trying to multitask and get distracted. It also shows you how to better manage your time because when you have focusing issues, time kinda escapes in a way you don’t realize, so this helps you to become a lot more aware of how much time you have AND how much time it takes to fully complete a task which I’m gonna talk about another day more specifically!
Which one of these do you think would help you best? Would you like to see more tips? Feel free to comment below!