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Over Everything? 11 Ways to Regain Motivation

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Over Everything? 11 Ways to Regain Motivation

We’ve all been there at one point or another — saggy-baggy motivation. You just lose your drive to achieve the goals that you’ve set. And, that’s a problem that can hold you back from solving problems, exploring new opportunities, and breaking unhealthy habits.

Over Everything? 11 Ways to Regain Motivation

If you find yourself in this rut, don’t lose hope — just don’t. You can still get back on track even if you feel like you’re in charge of, or — worse — you’re done and “over” everything. Getting your zip back will involve doing the following 11 strategies.

1. Motivate yourself with one goal.

“Whenever I’ve been in a slump, I’ve discovered that it’s often because I have too much going on in my life,” writes Zen Habits’ Leo Babauta. “I’m trying to do too much.” As a result, “it saps my energy and motivation. It’s probably the most common mistake that people make: they try to take on too much, try to accomplish too many goals at once.”

It’s impossible to “maintain energy and focus (the two most important things in accomplishing a goal) if you are trying to do two or more goals at once,” he adds. “You have to choose one goal, for now, and focus on it completely.”

“I know, that’s hard,” Leo says. “Still, I speak from experience. You can always do your other goals when you’ve accomplished your One Goal.”

2. Go back to square one.

Do you feel like throwing in the proverbial towel? I think we all have at some point. But, when this becomes too unbearable, it’s often best to give yourself a time out and remember your “why.”

For me, this involves having some “me” time. Usually, it’s a really long walk with my dog and without my phone. During this time, I ask questions like;

  • Why did I choose this work in the first place?
  • What were the initial goals?
  • Is what I’m doing helping my pushing me closer to my long-term goals?
  • Do I enjoy working with my current team?
  • What’s the reason I get out of bed every morning?

You don’t have to ask these exact questions. The idea is to carve out some alone time in order to remember why you started.

3. Give yourself a fresh start for motivation.

At the same time, you might just need to turn over a new leaf. I get that this can be tough. But, sometimes you just have to be proactive and move on to something else.

But, did you know that you can do this at any time? Well, that’s what a study from the Wharton School of Business discovered. Researchers found that “intertemporal markers” encourage us by;

In short, talk yourself up and contrive a fresh start when you need a shot of motivation.

4. Make a Ulysses Pact.

“Named for the clever hero of the Trojan war, the Ulysses Pact is a technique for holding yourself accountable to stick with a goal even when it’s hard,” explains Nick Wignall.

What’s the key ingredient in a Ulysses Pact? It’s “that we make a choice in the present (when things are relatively easy) that binds us to perform an action in the future (when things are hard).”

“For example, suppose you want to stick to a plan of going for a run two times per week in the morning with a friend,” adds Wignall. “You could write your friend a series of checks, each for $20, and instruct them to cash one and use the money on whatever they want if you miss a workout with them.”

“In short, the Ulysses Pact helps you maintain high motivation when things get tough by locking in a future behavior ahead of time.”

Why do commitment devices work? They’re “a way to overcome the discrepancy between an individual’s short-term and long-term preferences,” clarifies economist Jodi Beggs. “In other words, they are a way for self-aware people to modify their incentives or set of possible choices in order to overcome impatience or other irrational behavior.”

5. Go on mini-sprints.

“Our brains are wired to focus on the short term versus the long term,” explains high-performance coach Shefali Raina. “So mini-sprints help us get focused, energetic, and motivated to complete shorter-term tasks and feel good afterward.”

Keep that in mind whenever you perceive a task as too big too long, overwhelming, or tedious. Instead of forcing yourself to get into the zone, break these tasks down into min-sprints or shorter blocks of time.

How you go about this is ultimately up to you. For me, I’m all about eating an elephant one bite at a time. For instance, when writing this article, I focus on one point at a time instead of “Oh man, I have to a 1,000 word plus article!”

Another suggestion would be to tap into your ultradian rhythms. For most of us that means, we can work for around an hour before taking a break. One study found that the ideal formula is working for 52-minutes followed by a 17-minute break.

6. Limit wishes.

“You begin to fly when you let go of self-limiting beliefs and allow your mind and aspirations to rise to greater heights.” — Brian Tracy

It’s true. Limiting beliefs hold us hostage from pursuing our goals and desires. For example, they prevent us from asking someone out on a date or starting a new business.

What do we do next? We make limiting wishes, such as “If I were thinner I would be attractive to others” or “If I had a million dollars I could launch my startup.”

While there are times they can be useful, like protecting us from breaking the law, they’re often barriers. Overcome this by challenging limiting beliefs. Some suggestions are asking “What if I’m wrong” and “How this belief is serving me?”

7. Set goals that are intrinsically rewarding.

“In my research, I find that immediate rewards when pursuing long-term goals increase goal persistence and that this occurs by increasing intrinsic motivation — the desire to pursue the activity for its own sake,” says Kaitlin Woolley, assistant professor of marketing at Johnson College of Business. “For example, focusing on the positive taste of healthy food, or the fun in working out, can increase healthy food consumption and persistence with an exercise.”

Immediate rewards are also an effective motivator when developing new habits as well. “A large part of the problem stems from the fact that people are focusing too much on the delayed reward — the outcome of their workout or healthy eating,” notes Woolley. “But when people are in the middle of something, they care a lot about the experience and having fun, more so than the delayed outcome.”

Woolley’s research has also found that fun is key when pursuing long-term goals. “People often get wrapped up in the outcome of their actions,” she says. “And it’s not that the outcome isn’t important, but having fun along the way is the key to persisting with goals.”

8. Change your scenery for motivation.

If you’ve properly set up your workspace, it can be inspiring and motivating. I would dare say that it’s somewhere that you actually enjoy being. And, the comfort and routine you’ve established can reduce anxiety and the number of decisions to make.

However, it can get boring. It’s like if your favorite meal is spaghetti and meatballs. If you have this for dinner every night, you’re going to get sick of it. To avoid this, you need to have a variety of meals.

If you feel like you’re getting tired of your routine, shake things up. Instead of going to work in your office, work from a coffee shop, coworking space, or local library. Better yet, get yourself outside as the color green has been proven to boost energy and motivation.

9. Place the negatives out on the curb.

“The brain is a complex muscle that solves complex mathematical problems, creates innovative ideas that have put humans on the moon, invented the internet which changed the way we live and the mind gave us the intelligence to cure serious diseases saving countless lives,” writes Chris Delaney for Addicted2Success. Despite all that, it can still be tricked.

Delaney suggests that you say “I Love London In The Summer Time” out loud.

Your eyes didn’t deceive — and no one made a grammatical error. But, did you spot the double use of the word “the?” Don’t worry, most people didn’t.

What’s the point of this? The “same psychology can be used to trick the mind into Motivation,” says Delaney.

First, “Think of a task that you need to complete but procrastination has stopped you in your tracks,” he adds. “When thinking about this goal, do you imagine how hard this task is, the number of steps you have to take and do you second guess how you will fail?”

“With a focus on the problems and pain of the goal, your mind magically deletes the positives, the potential fun, and your optimistic outcome.” Instead, focus on the positives.

One strategy you can try is imagining that you’re watching a small black-and-white TV. Visualize any negative thoughts or bad memories getting smaller and dimmer. Next, replace “this image by imagining a large, colored film” that’s full of fun and laughter.

10. Hang out with the right crowd.

There’s a popular adage that goes, positivity breeds positivity. Believe it or not, that’s pretty sound advice. The reason being that this type of energy is contagious.

Think about this for a second. When you’re surrounded by positive-minded people who are go-getters, it’s more motivating than hanging out with naysayers and people without ambition.

11. You are your motivation.

Finally, create routines and rituals that get you amped. For instance, before getting into your most important task for the day, psych yourself up by listening to a playlistleveling up with gamification, or tapping into the power of nostalgia.

Over Everything? 11 Ways to Regain Motivation was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

Try This Instead: 7 Ways You’ve Been Killing Your Productivity

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Try This Instead: 7 Ways You’ve Been Killing Your Productivity

Do you feel like you aren’t as productive and focused as you should be? Have you been killing your productivity? Instead of searching for the latest productivity hack, evaluate your existing habits. You may discover that you don’t need to try out something new or different — you may actually need to tweak existing habits that are killing your productivity.

Here are a few of the most common culprits:

1. Making lengthy to-do lists

To-do lists are invaluable. They’re an effective way to help us remember and monitor important tasks. They can also keep us motivated and focused. However, lengthy to-do lists can become exhausting and overwhelming.

When you wake up in the morning, you jot down 20 things you have to. Do you honestly think you’ll be able to cross each item off? You may only get to five of them. While that’s better than nothing, you’re not only going to feel you didn’t have a successful day, but you’ll constantly feel like you’re behind because of the carryover you’re adding to your massive to-do list from the day before.

Instead, keep your to-do lists lean and mean. Only focus on three or four items. Make sure you prioritize them — start with the most important task for the day, and work your way down.

Furthermore, be as specific as possible. Don’t just write “email clients.” List the clients you actually need to email. Download an app like Todoist or so you can quickly add items, as well as set reminders.

2. Working on too many things at once

It’s easy to understand the appeal of multitasking, especially for overloaded entrepreneurs. Instead of working on one thing at a time, you can knock several items out simultaneously.

The truth is that multitasking is a myth — and it can actually slow you down. Multitasking should be avoided because it takes more time to switch between tasks and mindsets. Because of that, you make more mistakes — you’re not paying full attention to the tasks. As your stress level increases as you juggle multiple obligations at once, it damages the parts of your brain responsible for cognition and emotions and affects your memory. Worst of all, perhaps, is that it can reduce your creative thinking (invaluable for leaders).

Just like with endless to-do lists, the solution is to focus on prioritizing. Then, do the most important item before moving on to the second. This way, you give your full attention to the task at hand, meaning you’ll complete it faster.

3. Overloading your brain

The brain is an amazing and powerful organ. But flooding it with too much information will cause it to overload and shut down. In fact, research has found that our brains don’t like having too much information. And because short-term focus is limited, having too many options and decisions on our plates can make us miserable.

You need to limit your decision-making. That may sound broad, but I’ll explain.

On a Sunday, plan and prep your meals for the week. You won’t have to think about what you’re going to eat for lunch or dinner. The same tactic can be used with clothing. Lay out your clothes the night before so you don’t have to make this decision in the morning.

You can also limit your decision-making by creating a daily schedule. You’ll know when you’ll work on your priorities, when to check your email and when to take breaks.

Simply put, take the time to limit daily mundane tasks so you can save your energy for more important responsibilities.

4. Working nonstop until you’ve completed a task

I think we’ve all been guilty of this at some point. You look at your to-do list and decide you’re going to work nonstop until you’ve crossed an item off the list. It may sound great in theory, but it can be counterproductive. Again, when our brains get overloaded, they’ll shut down.

Don’t power through a task until it’s done. Work for around 52 minutes, then take a 17-minute break. The team at DeskTime reports this is the trick that the most productive people use because it refreshes the brain and combats cognitive boredom.

However, don’t use these breaks to check social media, watch TV or browse the internet. During these breaks, you should do things that energize you, such as exercising, meditating, reading, eating a healthy snack or even napping.

5. Relying on too many apps

There’s no denying that apps have made life a whole lot easier. At the same time, when your devices are jam-packed with apps, you’re actually doing the opposite — you’re not only going back and forth between apps, but you’re also spending time learning how each one works.

Use only the apps that will make you productive. For example, business owners should limit their apps to a calendar, a project management tool, a chat app, voice notes and a bookkeeping app. To be honest, you really don’t need more than these apps to run your business from your phone.

If your business needs more specific apps, make sure the team members who need these apps have them downloaded. But do yourself a favor, and don’t download them to your devices. All it will do is distract you.

6. Becoming too organized

Organization and productivity definitely go hand in hand. But organizing your workspace too quickly can backfire — after you’ve refiled paperwork, placed items in drawers and trashed piles of paper, you have no idea where anything is located. Even worse, you may have thrown away an important document.

While you should make sure you are organized and have a clutter-free workspace, take your time. For example, spend an hour at the end of a Thursday filing papers, and then on Friday, start going through that stack of papers on your desk. Your brain will have time to track where each thing is going so you can remember.

7. Not getting enough high-quality sleep

There’s no better way to boost your productivity than by getting a good night’s rest. After all, sleep affects focus, critical thinking and memory. Unfortunately, we focus more on the number of hours we sleep instead of the quality of sleep we get.

Research shows that those who undersleep (getting five hours or fewer) and oversleep (getting nine hours or more) are mentally two years older than those who get the right amount of sleep.

But there’s a way to overcome sleep deprivation. First, find out when you’re most productive. If you’re a night owl, don’t force yourself to become a morning person (or vice versa). For example, I’m most productive early in the morning. I wake up no later than 6 a.m., which means I don’t stay up past midnight.

After you’ve set a more consistent sleep schedule, make sure you get high-quality sleep each night. Avoid blue light from TVs, laptops or phones before bed. Reading is a better option to wind down, anyway. Make sure your room is dark, quiet and cool, and develop a relaxing bedtime routine, like yoga or a hot shower.

These seven silent killers may be hurting your productivity, but you can shift them to benefit you. You may not need a new slate of habits to achieve your goals — you may just need to get out of your own way.

How Do You Deal With Always Being On?

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Without trying to boast, I love being an entrepreneur. Being my own boss means I get to pursue what I’m passionate about. I can set my own schedule. And, all of the hard work I put in is for my family and me — not someone else.

At the same time, there’s a dark side to entrepreneurship. I know we tend to put individuals like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and Jeff Bezos on a pedestal. But, we are rarely open-up about the setbacks, stress, and “always-on” culture that it entails.

For example, Musk seems proud of the fact that he works 80 to 100 hours per week. In crunch time, that may be a necessary evil. But, that’s just not sustainable over the long run. In fact, it’s been found that working over 50 hours per week makes you less productive.

Additionally, we fall poisonous tropes. These include putting on the persona that you’re perfect and unshakable. We also can’t separate ourselves from our companies. And, being a founder isn’t just tricky; it can also be alienating.

Because of all the above, it’s not surprising that there’s a mental health crisis in entrepreneurship. Just how bad is it? According to a study by the University of San Francisco researcher Michael A. Freeman, founders are

  • 2X more likely to suffer from depression
  • 6X more likely to suffer from ADHD
  • 3X more likely to suffer from substance abuse
  • 10X more likely to suffer from bipolar disorder
  • 2X more likely to have psychiatric hospitalization 2X more likely to have suicidal thoughts

So, how can this be resolved? Well, removing the stigma surrounding mental health and seeking help is a start. But, I also believe that you need to make self-care a priority. And, most importantly, learn how to stop always being on.

1. Set priorities, not tasks.

“Founders and A-type personalities tend to live and die by their calendar and their task lists,” writes Jake Chapman for TechCrunch. “Unfortunately, task lists are just reminders that there are countless things to be done.” And, because “task lists are infinite, “this is a recipe for unbearable mental strain and unmanageable cognitive load.”

“The definition of anxiety is when we perceive that our ability to achieve is overwhelmed by the tasks at hand, which is inevitable when our tasks are ill-defined, too large or seemingly unending,” adds Chapman. So, scrap your task list and replace it with a daily priorities list.

What exactly is this? Well, it’s merely where list only the urgent AND essential items. “Completing these items may be more difficult, but getting them off your plate is infinitely more satisfying,” Chapman says.

But, what if everything is a top priority? Take a second and really think about that. The chances are that’s not true. But, if you need help determining this, try to focus only on the items that push you closer to your goals.

If that doesn’t help, use factors like due dates, ROI, or the consequences of not following through. You could also use the popular Eisenhower Matrix to determine.

2. Build your willpower.

Those who have the power to self-regulate “can mitigate the stress of constant connectivity,” explain Charn McAllister, DJ Steffensen, Pamela L. Perrewé, C. Darren Brooks, and Gang Wang for HBR. We also call this “willpower.” And, it’s merely the ability to resist temptations, like responding to emails during family game night.

Of course, this is much easier said than done. Just imagine you’re anticipating an important message or phone call from a team member, client, or investor. You probably can’t resist the urge to check your phone every couple of minutes.

However, just like any other muscle, you can build up your willpower. But, this won’t just happen overnight. You have to keep working at it over time.

Even better? Willpower has been found that be universal. That means that “the willpower used to resist that second piece of cheesecake is the same willpower that can keep you from checking your phone for the 14th time this hour,” explain the authors.

How can you strengthen your willpower? The authors recommend starting with the basics. For example, since you’re primarily working from home because of COVID-19, continue making your bed, eating healthy, and sitting-up straight when working.

“All of these little, minor disciplines are small workouts that strengthen your overall willpower and will ultimately help you in separating your work life from your home life,” they add. Promaiarly, when it comes to setting and sticking to your boundaries. When you “clock-out” for the day, then you’re done with work until tomorrow.

3. Kill your ideas.

“For a passionate person, the more you care about what you do, the more you’re trying to solve a problem, the more ideas you’re going to come up with,” says Scott Belsky, co-founder of Behance. “There’s a tendency to be addicted to the energy and excitement of new ideas, but that’s not a long-term high – it’s short-term.”

Like most entrepreneurs, I definitely belong in that group. As a result, my mind is always racing with a million ideas.

Personally, I think that this is both a blessing and a curse. Thankfully, Belsky, who is also the author of Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality, says you can counter this by killing your ideas. And, you can do this by:

  • Listening to those you trust. “When we come up with ideas ourselves, we’re drunk on them,” he says. “We don’t have a sober bone in our body to recognize what’s working and what’s not.” That’s why you should bounce ideas off others to get their honest feedback.
  • Having a bias towards saying “no.” “In day-to-day operations, the tendency should be to kill new ideas that can get us off track or over budget,” says Belsky. Wait. Isn’t that the antithesis to innovation? Belsky argues that it’s more about timing: “You have to know the difference between regular operations and one percent of the time when you’re coming together to brainstorm and solve problems. It’s during that 1% that you have to suppress the immune system of the team and let new ideas take hold.”
  • Being stingy with your resources. “An idea happening is the perfect storm,” Belsky says. “There’s a confluence of events that needs to happen. You have a need for whatever the idea proposes; you have time when you can focus on it and pursue it, you have the resources required, you have the capacity.” If you don’t meet those criteria, you don’t want to continue pursuing it.

I’d also add that whenever an idea pops up into your head, you write it down. I always keep a notebook on my desk. But, when I’m out and out about, I’ll put any thoughts into my phone’s notepad.

Besides getting these thoughts out of my head, I can then determine what to chase. As for the bad ideas or thoughts bothering me, I rip them up and toss them in the trash.

4. Clean-up attention residue.

You just responded to an email or crossed off an item from your to-do-list. You’re feeling pretty good. And, while that can help you build momentum, it can also stay with you.

We call this phenomenon has been called “attention residue.” In addition to having a negative effect on your productivity, it can make it difficult for you to “turn-off” — especially when working from home.

But, there are ways to control attention residue. For example, when work is done for the day, quit your email, social media, and messaging programs. You could even turn off your phone. That may cause anxiety. However, I’ve learned that if it’s essential, they’ll leave a message and I’ll get back to them when I can.

Dr. Keith Webb also recommends physical movement, such as standing up in-between tasks. For the last couple of months, I’ve transitioned from “work” mode to “home” by taking a walk as soon as I’ve wrapped up my obligations for the day.

5. Make an appointment with yourself.

Finally, to ensure that you make time to do things outside of work, use your calendar. Just like booking appointments with your team or priorities, block out time during the things you enjoy. It could be an hour in the morning fro exercise or lunch with your best friend.

The idea is to add non-work priorities to your calendar. Now you don’t have the excuse that you “don’t have time.” Better yet, this can be could for your mental health and provides a much-needed distraction from work.

I would add that you don’t want to overdo this. Instead, you need to strike a balance. That means putting your priorities into your calendar first. But, also leaving room for flexibility. For instance, you’re at the store and run into an old acquittance. Your calendar is free for the next two hours, so you offer to buy them coffee and catch-up.

How To Focus on the Vital Few

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One fateful day around 1895 avid gardener and economist Vilfredo Pareto noticed something peculiar. Only 20% of the pea pods in his garden produced an astounding 80% of the crop. Here is how to focus on the vital few — meaning the vital few (in everything) that are producing your biggest results.

Pareto then applied this to principle to the macroeconomics in his homeland of Italy. What did he find? A whopping 80% of the land was owned 20% of the people.

Since then, the Pareto Principle, which is also known as the 80/20 Rule, has been applied to nearly every facet of life.

In business, 80% of a company’s sales come from 20% of its customers. For athletes training, 20% of the exercises and habits have 80% of the impact. And, when it comes to traffic accidents, 20% of motorists cause 80% of them.

But, it’s also a popular technique when it comes to time management and productivity. Perhaps that’s why some influential people have modified it throughout the year. Examples include:

  • Peter Drucker. In his book The Effective Executive, Drucker suggests that in order to highlight the vital 20%, you must eliminate the trivial 80%. He calls these “posteriorities,” which are pretty much just the opposite of your priorities.
  • Richard Koch. As the author of The 80/20 Principle, Koch definitely knows a little about this concept. He suggests that you can unlock enormous potential by leveraging the magic of 20%.
  • Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. The authors of The One Thing suggest you focus on your lead domino. When you do, all of the other dominoes will fall into place. “You need to be doing fewer things for more effect instead of doing more things with side effects,” they write.
  • Tim Ferriss. The author of The 4-Hour Workweek pairs the Pareto Principle with Parkinson’s Law to reduce time by setting deadlines.

How the Pareto Principle Impacts Productivity

There might be a misconception that the 80/20 Rule means working less. That’s not exactly true. After all, it has nothing to do with actual periods of time.

Instead, it’s a way to help you laser-in on what’s most important. When you identify these areas, that’s where you want to dedicate most of your time and energy. As a result, you won’t be squandering these valuable resources on the unnecessary.

But, if you’re still a little lost, I think Brian Tracy has a clear explanation. “The Pareto Principle is a concept that suggests two out of ten items, on any general to-do list, will turn out to be worth more than the other eight items put together.”

“The sad fact is that most people procrastinate on the top 10 or 20 percent of items that are the most valuable and important,” which is known as the “vital few.“ Instead, they “busy themselves” with the least important 80 percent, aka the “trivial many.”

Why’s that a problem? Because the “trivial many” do not contribute much to your success. In fact, it’s counterproductive since this can lead to:

  • More stress. If you devoting too much time on activities that don’t produce results, you’re going to feel overwhelmed. Eventually, because you’re constantly playing catch-up, you’re going to get burned out.
  • Increased engagement. Will there be some tasks that aren’t always the most exciting? Absolutely. But, spending too much time on them will leave you feeling bored and frustrated. Over time, you may decide to just check-out all together.
  • A cluttered calendar. Even if you love what you do, you still need time away to pursue passions, interests, and hobbies outside of work. But, if your calendar is jam-packed with trivial items, then how can you achieve this healthy balance?

Apply the Pareto Principle to Focus on the Vital Few

So, how can you focus on the vital few? Well, there are a variety of strategies you can employ. Some are more complex than others. But, I’m all about simplicity. As such. I feel that there are five strategies that can encourage this.

1. Simplify your to-do-lists.

Have you found yourself never finishing your to-do-lists? It’s a common problem that most of us experience. In fact, 89% of people fail at crossing off all of the items on their list.

While there are a variety of culprits, like easily getting distracted, the main reason is that you have too many items listed. To counter this, you need to make your list more manageable. And, you can realistically achieve this by:

  • Mapping out your 1-3-5 items. Here you would identify your main priority, 3 medium priorities, and 5 smaller to-dos. Determining these lets you know what priorities to schedule first and what you can focus on afterward.
  • Employing a priority matrix. The most common example of this would be the Eisenhower Matrix. It’s a simple strategy where you place everything you have to do into one of the following quadrants; Important and Urgent, Not Urgent and Important, Not Urgent and Not Important, and Neither Urgent of Important. Again, this lets you know what your vital few are. Even better, it helps you determine what can be delegated or deleted.
  • Identifying your MIT. Your MIT is your most important task and comes before anything else. Ideally, it should be aligned with your goals.
  • Creating a “done” list. “Don’t throw away your completed lists,” writes Abby Miller in a previous Calendar article. “Instead, get a binder and place these ‘done’ lists in there.” Why? It helps you “track your progress, see if they are any recurring tasks, and it builds morale. After all, seeing what you’ve already accomplished can motivate you to keep on trucking.”

2. Track your time.

Whether you use a productivity journal or time tracker, this is an essential step. Without tracking your time, you aren’t able to see how long commitments truly take you to complete. More importantly, this will help your spot and eliminate time wasters.

For this to be effective, you should track your time for about a month. Afterward, you should analyze the results. Hopefully, you’ll notice that it takes your 3 hours to complete your MIT. Knowing this, you would block out that amount of time in your calendar — preferably when you’re at your peak performance.

There’s also another benefit of tracking your time. It lets you know when you’re more likely to get distracted or interrupted. That means you can then plan accordingly. For example, if a colleague or housemate bursts in your office at the same time every day, you can schedule a break at this time or ask them to come back at a better time.

3. Restructure your routine.

Here’s another reason why you should track your time. It lets you create a daily routine. Again, that means scheduling your most important items onto your calendar when you’re most productive. It also makes planning easier and provides you with structure.

But, there’s more to it than that. It also helps you eliminate unhealthy habits and engage in healthier ones. For instance, if you know that your energy dips after lunch, that’s when you could engage in physical activity or catch-up with a friend.

4. Train yourself.

To be more specific, you should be constantly enhancing or learning new skills. The reason is straightforward. It will guide you in working faster and more sensibly.

However, you should also work on other areas where you’re struggling. For example, let’s say that you have difficulty concentrating. You could fix this through meditation, organizing your workspace, the Pomodoro Technique, or single-tasking.

5. Think beyond work.

Finally, use the 80/20 Rule outside of work. Why? Because it will promote a healthier and happier life.

Take reading as an example. While it’s one of the best ways to spend your downtime, trying to read too many books can be overwhelming. Instead, focus on the couple that will have the greatest impact on your life.

You could also apply this to the apps on your phone, customers, interpersonal relationships, or products/services that you offer. In short, you can use this concept to pinpoint what’s most deserving of your time and energy.

3 Practices That Will Improve Your Focus

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As an entrepreneur, you likely have multiple things competing for your attention at all times. Between emails, messages, projects and everything else in your life, it can be difficult to stay on task. That’s why it’s important that you find practices that will help improve your focus over time.

The Importance of Focus

I once had a friend say something to me that I will never forget. She said, “If you really wanted to, you could get all your work done for the day in a few hours.” For the most part, she is right. But that’s only if I’m truly focused. But focus isn’t just about getting work done. It’s also about things like focusing on the bigger picture or really listening when someone is speaking. Because let’s face it, we’re all easily distracted these days and it’s hard to do these things if we don’t practice. Fortunately, there are some tools and practices out there that can help you improve your focus so you can get your work done and show up for what matters.


I discovered meditation back in 2010 when I was trying to recover from being sick for a while. At first, I didn’t get it. But, it has since become an integral part of my life. At the time of writing this, I am on day 294 of daily meditation. The University of Waterloo found that just ten minutes of meditation a day can help you improve your focus. As a self-proclaimed anxious person, I have to say that my personal experience coincides with this. People often ask me how I’m able to get so much done and I’m pretty sure meditation has something to do with the fact that I regularly meditate – especially if I’m feeling lazy or overwhelmed. The good news meditation isn’t as hard as some people think it is, though I do recommend starting with guided meditations until you get the hang of it.


Another way to help improve your focus is to use music. Specifically, you’ll want to use music meant to help you calm down and focus. This may look like different things to different people. It also may depend on what you do for a living. For example, as a writer, I cannot listen to music with words while I’m working because it distracts me. However, I can listen to instrumentals from subscription services like My roommate who is an apparel designer is the complete opposite of me. Since she doesn’t deal with words for work, she loves listening to music she can sing along to while she designs. Of course, there are no hard and fast rules here. The key is to find what actually works for you and use it.


In addition to meditation as a tool to improve your focus, you can also do short bursts of exercise. The University of Western Ontario recently found that short bursts of exercise can give you a focus boost, at least for a little while. So, if you find yourself starting to doze off, get out of your chair and move around.

Final Thoughts

There are many ways you can improve your focus so you can meet your responsibilities. The key is to know which ones work for you so you can use them when need be.
Originally published here.
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