Today I want to talk about some tools I use to help declutter my mind and help me focus on the things that really matter to me. A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about finding focus and how to determine the important things you should be spending your energy on. See that post here –> Finding Your Focus
But I wanted to expand a bit further on the that topic and show you some of the tools I use to help me find my focus and feel my most productive.
I am a person that not only has a million things on my mind at once, but I am constant worrier, overthinker, and on top of all that I am so easily distracted. Just opening my computer to go onto this site can take me over an hour (or half the day). I open my computer and see a icon on the desktop that reminds me I was going to reorganize my desktop folders. I then do that but see a document of a book list I had started, so I go into that to add a recent book, which leads me to Indigo to look at a book, that leads me to their sale site, and I am looking at mugs and rugs, and anything else. Something there will remind me of something else I wanted to do, and the leads me down another rabbit hole. Seem at all familiar?
So for me, notepads save my productivity and help me fit the urge to get distracted. Whenever I am sitting at my desk I have a notepad beside me so if I open my computer and see that icon that reminds me I need to reorganize my desktop instead of doing I write it down.
I always ask my self these two questions when I write an item down
- Is this 100% necessary to do right now
- How long would it take to do it well
I ask myself these questions because if it is something that I forgot I had to do and it is a high priority item, then I will stop and do it.
Or if it will take just a few minutes to do I will sometimes let myself quickly do it because that constant overthinking part of my brain won’t allow me to let it go.
That is another reason I keep a list. It allows me to get it out my brain. I feel safe knowing it’s on paper and I don’t have to worry about forgetting it.
I use the notes app on my phone for when I am on the go. I don’t like to carry notepads with me as I never seem to have them at the right time. I will then transfer to my physical notepad later if necessary.
Once I have written the item down I usually put a time next to it of how long I think it is going to take that way when I am looking to fill my to-do list in the day I know when to add these things in.
Add in another planner to focus on the tasks at hand.
If you have come across this post from somewhere outside the planner community, then using a planner may be new to you, let alone using multiple planners, but not only using a planner but using multiple planners has helped me stay focused.
At work I use my planner constantly to stay on task and make the most out of my work day.
If I had my work and home planner combined, I would spend my work day thinking of everything I had to do at home. Same if I looked at my planner in the evening, I would be thinking about the next day at work.
I find having separate planners for work and home keeps my planner uncluttered and functioning well.
Having a list and being able to cross it off or a planner to see what you are accomplishing each day can make you feel more in control and focused on the things around you.
Declutter your inbox to find focus.
Ok. So this one might not apply to you if you are one of those organized people who keep up with their emails but me over her struggles with the amount of promotional ‘junk’ mail I get. Sometimes I don’t want to unsub because I want to know if there is a deal, but it clutters up my inbox and is super distracting when you need to get to answering important emails.
Two things I now do. Firstly I am with Gmail and they have this category thing that will automatically move the ‘promotional’ looking emails into a separate folder. So I can look at them all at once and quickly delete if I don’t get sucked into the rabbit hole of deals. But I also downloaded the unroll me app and it is really working for me. It pools together all your subscription emails to one place, so I can easily look at them and if I want to unroll from them I can click the button and it automatically does it for me. So much easier then going to each individual website. See the app here –> Unroll Me (ps. This is not an affiliated code, I just like the app)
I find staying on top of my email and not having a bunch of junk or even old emails sitting there when I open my inbox makes it so much easier to get down to work and stay focused.
Focused breaks help you stay more focused at your work.
Another tip I have for staying focused is to plan your breaks. Everyone needs a break, and there are all those magic ratios for how long to work and how long to break, but really you have to find what works for you. Whether it is breaking for five minutes to watch a youtube video or making a cup of coffee and sitting with my cat for a few minutes, I find taking a break helps me re-focus my energy into what I was doing. If you find your five minutes is turning into an hour try setting an timer for how long you are going to break. Or play with your ratio, me I would rather work for 45-50 minutes and then take a 10 minute break from the task I am working on. You may like to work longer and take a longer break.
These are some of the tools I used to stay focused through out my day. I would love to hear of anything you do to help you de-clutter and stay focused.
See you on Sunday with a beauty post! If you haven’t had a chance to explore that side of my blog yet and love beauty, check out some of my beauty posts here