The Focus Zone: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction and Working Smarter All Day Long

by golda on June 30, 2011

 The Focus Zone: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction and Working Smarter All Day Long

By Golda Smith
The other evening, the kids and I were enjoying ice cream cones while watching one of our favorite movies, Up. It’s a Disney Pixar movie about a cantankerous 78 year old man who ties tons of balloons to his house in order to fly it from the city to the middle of South American. When he and his unwanted guest finally arrive there, they meet a talking dog who is wonderful except that he is constantly distracted by squirrels. It really is a great movie with lots of lessons. The one that’s stuck out to me as I watched it again for like the 5th time is focus. If you don’t have kids let me warn you, you’ll find yourself listening and watching things repeatedly…hey that’s a great lesson to apply in your life as well.

Back to FOCUS…
How often do you find yourself easily taken of course? It may start very innocently. You wake up and get the kids ready for their day. Then you sit down for breakfast. Next, you move on to start work. You sit at your workspace; turn on your computer so you can finish your article. While you’re waiting for the computer to power up, you decide to organize the papers on your desk. Next thing you know, you’re organizing a drawer and twenty minutes have passed by. So now you get on the computer and you jump on facebook to find a message that contained a phone number and the next thing you know, you’re commenting on your fifth page. Hello, can we get back to the main task at hand which was to finish your article.
I know this was a challenge for me for some time and I’ve listened to countless hours of coaching on how to overcome this. What I finally realized is that while it’s great to listen to advice on how to overcome this issue with lack of focus, it isn’t until you decide to actually take action and do what’s suggested that you will finally overcome this and get more accomplished in your day.
Here are some suggestions for you

Stop looking at your stupid email on your cell phone
While I love technology, I’ve seen so many people become a slave to it. How on earth did we manage to communicate before cell phones and the ability to send and receive emails on it? If you find yourself reaching for your phone to check your email as soon as you wake up, you may have a problem. If you’re checking your email every time you see that flashing red light, you may need to put yourself on a schedule. Try this for a day. Check your email twice a day, decide what times that will be and stick to it. I promise you, the world will not stop turning if you don’t immediately respond to your email as soon as it comes in.

Turn OFF facebook
What can I say about facebook that you don’t already know!? It’s a vampire. Don’t get me wrong, I love facebook. It’s an amazingly effective tool for connecting with people and to market but way to many people lose all track of time when they log in. You gotta know exactly what your purpose is before you log in. How many pages will you visit and post on? How many people will you connect with? For crying out loud..Turn OFF facebook chat. I find that most people waste a lot of time chatting with people in hopes of sharing their business with them. No one’s really listening to each other because they’ve got their own agenda and it takes you off focus. Know your purpose, log in, get the job done and get outta there!

Turn off the alerts
Ding…someone just sent a text. Chirp…that’s my bff’s ringtone, let me see what she wants. We can program our phone to alert us for every little thing and we often do. How about we turn off ALL the alerts and get to work! You’ll be amazed how much you can accomplish once your attention isn’t constantly disturbed by the little sounds from your phone. Here’s something else you should do. Create a professional sounding voice message and let your caller’s know that you have office hours, what they are and when they can expect a response. You’d be surprised how much people appreciate knowing when they will hear back from you instead of having to guess. Another thing this will allow you to do is not answer the phone every time that it rings. Unless you’re expecting a call or it’s regarding your kids then let it go to voice mail and get back to work!

Plan your day
I can’t tell you how much this one tip has helped me. I’m sure you have heard of writing your “to do” list out but are you actually doing it? If you are writing it out, are you looking at it throughout the day? You gotta write it AND refer to it often through your day. You don’t need anything fancy, just some paper and a pen. Dedicate a notebook to this and just do it. Don’t sabotage yourself by writing to much on your list for one day. Write the top 5 things that you need to accomplish in the day, money making activities are priority, remember your personal tasks as well. As you are going through the day, check your list every hour to see how you are doing with your goals and check them off as they get done. Can’t finish everything on the list in the day? No worries, don’t feel bad, just move it to the next day and keep working at it, maybe you can break that task into smaller tasks. The point is to commit it to paper and place it where you can see it.

There you have it. Try these suggestions and watch how much more focused you get and how much more you are able to accomplish during the day. You’ll feel confident and great when you can see the work you’ve done. So get those time wasters under control, put your head down, focus and get to work.

Golda Smith is a mom and distance runner who is building her “Business From The Kitchen Table” working with Fitness, Health and Wellness Experts to put more muscle in their social media marketing. Do you hire freelancers? If so, then you need to get this report NOW because you may be making this mistake. Don’t let it be you!




{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jandi Theis July 1, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Great tips, Golda! I'm so easily distracted sometimes & I need these reminders to shut off the Facebook & quit checking my email… I know they really drain my time. I'm thinking I might try putting checking my Facebook & email on my "to do" list for specific times. I needed these reminders… Thank you!


2 Golda
Twitter: only1golda
July 3, 2011 at 10:35 am

Jandi that’s great but remember, putting together a “to do” list is useless if you aren’t referring to it often and actually DOING what you’ve written down. You can do, I believe in you.


3 Steve Nicholas
Twitter: stevetheowl12
July 1, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Great post, Golda! I couldn't agree with you more about the importance of not letting technology run our lives. This is why I refuse to get a smartphone. If the only thing that you really use it for is the occasional phone call or text message, you're going to be fine. I've known people who will drop everything the instant they hear their phone go off, and I can't help but think how much time is wasted when that happens. I think that there are definitely times where we have to decide whether we control our technology or we let technology control us.


4 Brooke Brimm July 29, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Thanks Golda! These are great tips. Facebook is a great excuse to stop working, and I use it every chance I get.  I start off saying, that I need to check in with my audience, and then it turns into debates and laughs with old high school friends. I've used "to do" in my businesses for years, and they are helpful. Smartphones have actually enabled me to work from anywhere, so I can't imagine my life without one. Having one also keeps me on track because my life is so full, that I'll forget that I bought tickets to a concert without an alarm.  However, I do use essential and non-essential tones. They help me to know when to let something pass or when to respond. 

Anyway, as I am writing my second book this theme of focus is so important. I am grateful that you brought it up. It is so helpful.


5 Golda
Twitter: only1golda
July 29, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Well hello there Brooke. Hilarious! I need to put all my appointments in my bb or at least write it down. What the heck did our parents do? Great point about the different tones. That works when you know how to actually use those tools. I’m always surprised by the number of people who don’t know. Congratulations on the second book, that’s awesome…now get back to work!


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