Love a list – why not spend a bit of time committing all of the things you NEED to do on paper. It can feel overwhelming sometimes to have seemingly endless lists of ‘stuff to do’ ricocheting around your brain, and putting pen to paper allows you to see first-hand (and clearly) exactly what you need to achieve. You could also create lists for things you’d like to do, if you have time, and for a future ‘wishlist’. Once everything is down on paper, it’s much easier to prioritise tasks, review timescales that you have set yourself and – most importantly – cross everything off enthusiastically when you’ve completed it. These ‘little wins’ can help to boost your motivation levels and help you feel as though you are making progress through a significant task list.
Set realistic goals – We all like to think of ourselves as super-human, but starting a normal working day with the aim of writing 30,000 words, clearing your inbox and wrapping up several projects isn’t likely to be a realistic goal. Goals need to be SMART – or specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely – and if they aren’t, you’re probably never going to reach them. It’s difficult to maintain focus and motivation if you feel as though you are constantly failing to reach your targets, so why not review your goals and check that they are appropriate. Do you meet them easily? If so, perhaps they need to be a little more challenging. Do you never meet them? Why not set the goal-posts a little closer to you and see how that helps with motivation and feelings of positivity in your business.
Consider checking emails once or twice a day – In this digital era, it’s possible for people to contact you almost every second of every day. And let’s face it, everyone thinks that their issues are ‘urgent’, even when they aren’t necessarily! Why not adjust your email auto-responder to say ‘I only check my emails once a day, and will endeavour to get back to you within 48 hours’ (or something appropriate for you) to set boundaries with your customers/colleagues. If they know that they aren’t going to get an email response immediately, they’ll learn to deal with your specific working patterns and fit in accordingly, and can always ring rather than email if it is an urgent issue that needs resolving asap. By not checking emails as they come in, you’ll find it easier to work as you are reducing potential distractions that take you away from your productivity ‘flow’.
Find a working environment and routine that works for you – what works for other people won’t necessarily work for you. Some people swear by getting up at 5AM whereas others are ‘night owls’; some people can work with music in the office, whereas others prefer silence. Find the routine that works best with you and adjust your diary to fit in with this. If you find it difficult to concentrate with random customer calls coming in throughout your working day, why not set up a specific period in your diary that is appropriate for ‘cold’ or ‘unplanned’ calls and set up a voicemail to advise customers and co-workers that you’ll get back to them at a specific time of the day. Obviously, this doesn’t work for everything but if the majority of your calls/emails/meetings etc. can be carried out at a time that is more convenient for you and your working habits, why not give it a try?
How do you motivate yourself when you are feeling distracted? Feel free to share it on my Social Media channels – it would be great to hear from you!